Monthly Archives: October 2011

Dec. 4: Winter Wine Classic – Santa Barbara

What:              Santa Barbara Wine Classic

When:             Sunday, December 4, 2011

Time:              4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Where:           Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Grand Ballroom, 633                               633 E. Cabrillo Blvd,  Santa Barbara, CA, 93103

The Details: Andrew will be pouring his 2008 Espérance, 2008 Syrah Tous les Jours, 2008 Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard, and 2008 Syrah Reserve.  Nearly 100 premium wineries will be pouring, coupled with gourmet morsels from notable chefs; all in a gorgeous beach-side setting!  Tickets are $100/person in advance, and $150/person at the gate.  Click here to purchase tickets.

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Nov. 12 – Annual Harvest Party at the Winery

When: Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where: The Winery – 5095 Zaca Station Road, Los Olivos, California, 93441:   See below for video directions.

Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Details: Enjoy live music, library wines, vertical flights, barrel and fermentation tastings, and Flatbread pizza hot off the grill!  Free to wine club members and their guests…Save the Date!

RSVP: To or call us at (805) 686-9604 and be sure to let us know how many will be in your party.

Video Directions to Andrew Murray Vineyards Winery

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Hearty Harvest Fare: Mom’s Lasagna

Once again, wine club member Karen of has graced our website with an enticing recipe.  You’ll find the touching story behind ‘Mom’s Lasagna’ at  This dish makes a perfect meal for a brisk, autumn evening.  After a pre-dawn morning with the picking crews in the vineyard, followed by a long day of crushing, a steaming hot slice of lasagna with a glass of our 2009 Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard sounds mighty good.

Mom’s Lasagna


Cottage cheese mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Meat sauce:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine


  • 12 ounces lasagna noodles
  • olive oil
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


In a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté onions until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute, making sure garlic doesn’t burn. Transfer onion mixture to a bowl to cool slightly. Stir in cottage cheese, basil, thyme, parsley, eggs salt and pepper. Mix well. Reserve in refrigerator.

In the same pot, cook ground beef until no pink remains. Drain off all fat. Add canned tomatoes and their juices, oregano, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. Simmer until most of the tomato juice is gone. Add about half the can of tomato sauce, tomato paste and red wine. Stir well and let simmer for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles in salted water and according to the package until tender. After draining noodles, toss gently with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

When ready to assemble lasagna, spread remaining half can of tomato sauce on bottom of a 13×9 glass pan. Lay 4 noodles across the pan, overlapping slightly to fit, followed by half of the cottage cheese mixture, one third of the meat sauce, and one third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of noodles, remaining cottage cheese mixture, one third meat sauce and one third mozzarella cheese. Lastly, add one more layer of noodles and top with remaining meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

Place the lasagna dish onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, until top is brown and crusty, and lasagna is cooked completely through. (If top is getting too brown, tent a piece of foil over the pan.) Remove and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting it.

*Notes: I cooked the entire 16 ounce package of noodles to allow for breakage.



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New Short Ribs Recipe and Wine Pairing!

Braised Short Ribs with Ancho Chili Spiced-Syrah Reduction

Wine club member Karen of created this special recipe using our 2008 Syrah Tous les Jours.  As ‘Tous les Jours’ means ‘every day’ in French, you won’t feel guilty using this entry-level priced Syrah for both cooking and enjoying during a weeknight dinner.  Our hats are off to talented Karen for developing this recipe for our collective dining pleasure!


  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless or bone-in beef short ribs
  • flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • canola oil
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 6-8 sprigs of thyme
  • 20 peppercorns
  • 1 bottle Andrew Murray Vineyards Syrah Tous les Jours
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roughly chop carrots, celery, fennel, tomatoes and onion. Cut head of garlic in half, unpeeled. (This will all be strained out later.)

Trim excess fat off the short ribs. Season with salt and pepper, then toss in flour to coat. In a 5-6 quart dutch oven, heat canola oil on high. When oil is very hot, sear short ribs on all sides to brown. Remove from pot and reserve.

Into the same pot, add chopped vegetables, herbs and peppercorns. Pour in a small amount of wine to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom. Add remaining wine. Stir in brown sugar, cocoa powder, ancho chili powder and cinnamon. Place short ribs back into pot, resting on top of vegetable mixture. The short ribs should be almost completely covered with liquid. If necessary, stir in some water until short ribs are almost covered.

Bring liquid to a boil on top of stove, then cover and transfer to oven and cook for 3 hours.

When short ribs are done, remove from pot and cover with foil. Pour the remaining mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan, pushing all the liquid out. Discard solids. Simmer sauce to thicken, then stir in butter.

Serve short ribs with sauce over your favorite mashed potatoes.



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Harvest – A Hard Day’s Work and Loving What You Do

Foggy Autumn Morning

Mornings are cooler now in the Santa Ynez Valley; fog lies over the vineyards as dawn breaks, clearly indicating the onset of fall.  Mother Nature withdraws her vaporous tendrils binding them up for the day to reveal crisp autumn mornings.  Vines that have worked so hard all year to produce their fruit are showing signs of completing their cycle, their rich green leaves of summer are now dappled with amber.  Most of the white fruit has been harvested in a mad dash to beat October’s first rains, and the thicker-skinned reds are drinking in their last weeks of sustenance before leaving the vine.

Break in the Storm

My workday starts and ends in the dark at this time of year.  In fact, some days don’t end at all.  Last week our little crew put in a 38-hour ‘day’ pressing Grenache Blanc and Roussanne ahead of the rain.  We’re in a continuous cycle of punch down, crushing, pressing, testing, and bottling.  We’re replacing gaskets, and wrangling with vendors to ensure that all equipment is up and running 24 hours a day.  Each day I don the hat of mechanic, farmer, scientist, artist, winemaker, salesman, IT guy, and general manager.  Weekends become a distant memory, as hazy as the foggy mornings.  It’s times like these when I realize how fortunate I am to truly love what I do.  If I didn’t, life would be unbearable.


Punching Down Pinot Noir

I read Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech after he died last week.  As absurd as it sounds, I was struck by a few parallels.  The first was his comment that, “It wasn’t all romantic.”  I think that many people have a romantic ideal wrapped around the notion of winemaking.  And while some of it is true, there are some decidedly ‘unromantic’ aspects to it.  Second, I too, was fortunate enough to stumble upon what I loved at an early age.  I made my first wine in Australia at the age of 19 and have never looked back.  And third, while he lost Apple for a while, I lost my estate vineyard and my winery in 2006.  Like Jobs, I found the loss devastating, but it may have been the best thing that ever happened to me.  I’m no longer shackled to my estate grapes.  I’ve been able to search out grapes to specifically satisfy any flavor profile that I desire and establish a great new winery site.  The resulting wines have been both personal and critical favorites.

On the Forklift Moving Pallets into the De-Stemmer

Late at night, when I leave the winery exhausted from a day that is both physically and mentally taxing, I can’t help but think of those hardy pioneers who came out west to work the land.  I go home to electricity, a hot shower, and a soft bed; they went home to lanterns, no bath unless it was Saturday, and a mattress stuffed with straw or perhaps feathers.   Still, I suspect we share similar emotions of having completed a hard day’s work and knowing that our crops are in and hoping that we’ll be able to successfully take our product to market.  My hands are stained from the grapes and split from the work, but when I look down at them, I know that, like Steve Jobs, I am quite possibly one of the luckiest guys on earth.

To Harvest…Cheers!

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2011 Celebration of Harvest Photos

Many thanks to all of our wonderful wine tasters who visited Andrew Murray Vineyards this weekend…we loved seeing you!

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’08 Esperance & ’06 Purple Haze Made the 90+ List!

Our ‘08 Esperance Red Blend and our ‘06 Purple Haze Syrah/Viognier made the 90+ list on!  Check out what they had to say about these wines by clicking here.

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E11even Wines Rock! Review

Check out this review of two of our new This is E11even Wines…Eleven Red Blend and Purple Haze from Steve McIntosh of

Here’s an excerpt:

“A kitchen sink blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, it’s a spice box extravaganza that commands attention.  Though splashing a spectrum of flavors across the palate like a brightly lit magenta-to-indigo rainbow, first impressions are freshness, focus, and balance.  Surprisingly lively for a 5 year old wine.  Clearly well made – and dangerously accessible.  Deal.”  Read the whole review here.


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Santa Barbara Wine Tasting – East Beach Wine Company





What: Winemaker Tasting at Santa Barbara’s largest specialty wine store.  

When: Friday, October 14, 2011

Time: 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Where: East Beach Wine Company in the La Arcada Mall downtown

1114 State Street, Suite 24, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Details: Tasting Fee = $12.00/person…last tasters in by 6:45 pm

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Featured Vintage

Visit Us

We have two gorgeous tasting rooms where you can explore our passion for winegrowing in Los Olivos. First up, we have our newly remodeled Winery & Visitor Center, located at the entrance of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, just minutes away from historic downtown Los Olivos, where you can taste our selection of Rhone style wines. Or, you may choose to check out our newly remodeled and rebranded DTLO (DownTown Los Olivos) Tasting Room, where we showcase our new "Playlist" of E11even Wines, crafted exclusively from Estate Grown grapes. Or, choose the All Access Pass and taste at both locations for a discounted price. Whichever you choose, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Our Los Olivos Tasting Room