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Murphy-Goode The Fume 2014
From poolside aperitifs to your best friend's wedding, from barbecued oysters on the beach to the BYOB Thai place around the corner, this go-to wine from California's North Coast rises to every single occasion.
In the beginning, only the Murphy family's ranch and the Murphy-Goode Vineyard provided the grapes. Over the years, Murphy-Goode Winery steadily increased production, expanding the winery capacity and augmenting the harvest with fruit from the winery's "grower partners," local farmers and neighbors who shared the Murphy-Goode vision.
Initially the partners custom-crushed their grapes at a neighboring winery; consultant Merry Edwards guided the winemaking. After constructing a modest production facility on Tim Murphy's Alexander Valley ranch in 1987, they hired Winemaker Christina Benz. Chris made fifteen vintages of Murphy-Goode wine before turning the winemaking over to David Ready Jr. in 2001.
In recent years, the winery's focus has shifted from primarily white wine to distinctive red wines, particularly Bordeaux blends. Today, Murphy's three sons oversee the vineyards. Dave Ready's two sons make the wine. With exceptional grapes, inspired winemaking and the guiding values of the founding partners, the Murphy-Goode team is entering a fresh, new era of excellence.
Encompassing the grape-growing regions located north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano. Napa and Sonoma get all of the attention, but there are a few other counties producing great wine in Northern California. Two notable examples are Mendocino and Lake County, the northernmost winegrowing regions in the state. These AVAs are very different, both from their neighbors to the south and from one another.
Mendocino benefits from the cooling fog of the Pacific Ocean and is able to successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. There is a significant focus here on organic viticulture. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc are the dominant varieties. Both regions are excellent sources of high-quality but affordable California wines in a wide range of styles.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.
In the Glass
From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.
The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.