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Monthly Archives: November 2011
Looking for a great holiday gift idea?
How about a two pack or a three pack of Andrew Murray Vineyards wine? We’ll package it in a stylish black box with crinkle paper filler, add a beautiful holiday ribbon, insert a special gift note, and ship it straight to the recipient’s doorstep. Call us at(805) 686-9604 or (805) 693-9644 and we’ll create a gift box that suits your tastes and your budget.
Whether your gift list includes one dear friend, or a hundred clients, we’ve got you covered…now that’s the kind of shopping we love!
And for something really unique, why not ship a rare, signed magnum of our 92 point 2008 Syrah McGinley Vineyard? It’s double the the fun at 1.5 liters (2 bottle equivalent) and perfect to break-out for those special occasions.
You can read the details on the magnum here. SORRY – SOLD OUT!
Our 2008 Syrah Tous les Jours received a 90 (“This is an outstanding value.”), and our 2008 Esperance Red Blend, our 2009 Syrah Watch Hill, and our 2008 Syrah Reserve all earned 91’s from reviewer Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. You can read the full text of these 90+ Tanzer reviews on a PDF by clicking here.
“2008 Andrew Murray Vineyards Tous Les Jours Syrah
Still #1! 100% Syrah from the Central Cost of California. Dark berry flavors balanced with just the right amount of spice and a fantastic finish. A decadently good wine. Buy a case.”
Thanks to all of our fabulous wine club members for coming to our 2011 Harvest Party last weekend. It’s always such a treat to see you in person…we are truly grateful for your on-going support of our winemaking efforts. Thank you!
Thanks to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk.com for this informative article on the last days of harvest:
“A pervasive trend is the care growers put in to get good fruit. Night harvesting is a big deal because they are picked when they are nice and cold and have maximum acidity,” meaning more reliable alcohol levels, Murray said. “If you are picking them in the heat of the day, the vines are tired, the sugars are rising, acids are falling and it’s tough to cool down for pre-fermentation. It makes all the difference.” Read the rest of the article about the night harvest in Santa Ynez Valley vineyards…
Grilled Australian Rack of Lamb
with Potato Artichoke Hash & Star Anise Demi – Glaze
If you haven’t been to The Ballard Inn either to stay or dine, you should go. Proprietors Budi and Chris Kazali are two of the loveliest people you’ll meet in the Santa Ynez Valley. Chef Budi cut his teeth at such renowned restaurants as San Francisco’s La Folie and Boston’s James Beard Award winning Blue Ginger. His French Asian cuisine is not be missed. Chef Budi created this exquisite rack of lamb recipe with a suggested pairing of our 2008 Espérance red blend. Enjoy!
- 4 10 -12 oz. Rack of Lamb , trimmed of all fat.
Potato Artichoke Hash
- 2 Cups diced Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 Cup diced sweet potatoes
- 2 Cups diced artichokes, green outer leaves and centers removed
- 1 Cup diced red bell pepper
- 2 Bunches of arugula leaves
- 1 Cup diced yellow onion
- 1 TBS. finely chopped garlic
- 1 TBS. finely chopped ginger
- 3 TBS. canola oil
- 2 TBS. canola oil
- 4 Medium shallots chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 3 Cups Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah wine
- 2 Cups of Chicken stock
- 3 Cups of Beef stock
- 1 Star Anise
For Sauce: Sauté shallots and garlic with canola oil over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with red wine; simmer to reduce by two thirds. Add beef and chicken stock and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Strain and set aside.
For Hash: Blanch potatoes and sweet potatoes in salted water until cooked but still firm. Set aside to cool. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté artichokes in canola oil until cooked through stirring frequently about 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and red pepper and sauté 2 minutes to brown garlic. Add potatoes and salt and pepper to taste, sauté until potatoes are cooked through and begin to brown. Add arugula last, cooking just long enough to wilt.
For Lamb: Grill rack of Lamb 6 minutes on bone side and 4 minutes on the meat side on med high heat. Let rest for two minutes before cutting.
Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the harvest of our Syrah from a couple of stellar vineyards: Three Creek Vineyard and McGinley Vineyard, both of the newly created Happy Canyon AVA of Santa Barbara. Grapes are typically picked in the middle of the night nowadays. This keeps the grapes cold, locking in their flavors and staving off the possibility of fermentation starting too early. In our case, this meant that crews from our fastidious vineyard manager, Coastal Vineyard Care, were ready to roll at 3:00 a.m.
It’s a bit disorienting to be awake this early in the first place, but as I approached the vineyard, the eerie sight before me only exacerbated my already unbalanced state. Lights hovered above the moonless vineyard like an alien spaceship searching for signs of life. I hopped out of my car, cursing myself for not bringing a flashlight. I picked my way up the sloping vineyard aided by the light of my cell phone. The soil in this area is good and gravelly lending to ideal drainage for grape cultivation. And ‘gravel’ is really a misnomer; if you’re not careful, you’ll trip face-first over gourd size stones.
As I neared the crew, I was struck by the frivolity of the wonderful souls picking what will become the product for which I care so much. There was singing, and hollering, and a sort of verbal whistling. The energy is contagious. When I opened by saying that I ‘participated’ in the harvest, I really should have said I ‘observed’ the harvest. These folks are professionals, and there is no room for Sunday pickers.
They were clad in half the layers I was wearing, despite temperatures dipping into the high 30’s. The grape vines rustled and plunged as the pickers expertly extracted the purple gems from the comfort of their yearlong homes. They move in teams of three, the rear picker eventually moving forward to become the front picker, in a rhythmic cycle until they reach the end of the row. The ‘bucket person’ constantly removes full buckets and replaces them with empty ones when a picker shouts, “Cubo!” The ‘leaf person’ hovers over the pallets removing any leaves, branches, or other foreign material, as the tractor and its four great overhead lights slowly motors just ahead of the pickers.
I’m a big fan of technology; I’d feel naked without my iPhone, iPad, and sophisticated bottling line –and I was an early adopter of screw caps for all our wines. But being in the vineyard, shuffling through the dirt, seeing our grapes hand-picked in the dark and cold by a proud, symphonic team, made me realize how few industries such as winemaking still exist in modern America. We actually get to observe and participate in the entire lifecycle of our product, from earth to bottle. And it’s still an industry where hand-picking and hand-crafting have meaning. Did I have to arise at ‘oh-dark-hundred’ to hustle out to the frigid vineyard? No. Would the grapes have been successfully picked with or without me? Yes. But had I stayed nestled in my warm bed, I would have missed that communion with the soil and people that collectively allow me to do my work.
With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, I’m grateful for the wonderful people who, through their stewardship, are delivering beautiful fruit to our winery. I’m also grateful that I get to participate in such an ancient and timeless craft.