90+ Scores from The Rhone Report!

Issue #10, December 2011
Jeb Dunnuck

2008 Andrew Murray Espérance (USA, California, Central Coast) $30

Earthy and mineral driven, the 2008 Andrew Murray Espérance, 60%, Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre aged in 33% new French oak, opens up in the glass to shows beautifully complex aromas of black cherries, underbrush, leather, ripe herbs, and licorice. This carries into a medium to full-bodied wine that’s beautifully balanced, possesses a supple, polished texture, and an overall delicious, exceptionally drinkable profile. It should continue to perform admirably for 6-7 years. (91 pts.)

2008 Andrew Murray Syrah Tous les Jours (USA, California, Central Coast) $16

A fantastic value, the 2008 Andrew Murray Syrah Tous les Jours is a pretty, classy Syrah that opens up in the glass to show complex notes of spiced red and black fruits, ripe herbs, tar, and black olive qualities on the nose. Medium-bodied and fresh and pure on the palate, with integrated acidity and an overall light, deft texture, this delicious and easy going red should be purchased by the case, and consume over the coming 5-6 years. (90 pts.)

2008 Andrew Murray Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles) $36

Showing the most ripeness and flesh in the lineup is the 2008 Andrew Murray Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard. All Syrah from Hillside plots and aged for 18 months in French oak, it boasts an inky purple color as well as decadent black and blue fruits, vanilla, coffee grinds, and lavender aromatics. This full-bodied, rich, round Syrah has a supple, mouth coating texture, beautifully integrated acidity, and a long, completely dry finish. Impressive and this can be consumed now, or cellared for 4-5 years. (91 pts.)

2008 Andrew Murray Syrah Reserve (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley) $50

Coming from the top 6 Syrah barrels in the winery and the most complete wine in the lineup, the 2008 Andrew Murray Syrah Reserve is a serious Syrah that delivers not only complex, cooler climate aromatic, but perfectly ripe fruit and loads of texture. Showing copious amounts of smoked black fruits, coffee, pepper, and subtle floral nuances on the nose, this wine is medium to full-bodied on the palate and impressively put together, with ripe, yet substantial tannin, vibrant acidity, and a classically styled, structured finish. This is approachable now given the fruit, yet has more than enough structure to allow it to age gracefully for a decade or longer. (93 pts.)

2009 Andrew Murray Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County) $36

Beautifully distinctive and oozing cool-climate Syrah character, the 2009 Andrew Murray Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard has smoky, gamey notes with wild berry fruits, bramble, pepper, and violets all intermixed. This flows to a medium-bodied Syrah that shows an overall fresh, balanced profile with vibrant acidity and masses of ripe underlying tannin that frame the finish. Give bottles a solid 2-3 years of bottle age, and then drink over the following decade. (92 pts.)

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