MacMurray Estate Vineyards offers an attractive selection of Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley and the Central Coast as well as tasty Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. We reviewed the previous vintage of these wines in our Report #44 The Wines of Sonoma County. This week we tasted new releases with winemaker Boyd Morrison and Megan Stockton of E.&J Gallo, which produces the wines.
MacMurray Estate Vineyards consists of four properties in the Russian River Valley and one in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The vineyards are planted with the Pommard, Calera and other Heritage clones and have mainly clay and sandy loam soils. MacMurray Ranch is a beautiful 450-acre cool climate vineyard and the main source for these Russian River Pinot Noirs and Pinot Gris. The Laguna Ranch and Two Rock Vineyards have a cool foggy climate and are slower ripening while the Del Rio Vineyard is a warmer site producing grapes with rich ripe flavors. The Olson Ranch Vineyard is a gorgeous site in the Santa Lucia Highlands which we wrote about in our Report #20. It is a large and diverse cool climate vineyard with a variety of exposures and microclimates.
Winemaker Boyd Morrison is passionate about Pinot Noir and does a fine job blending the Pinot Noirs from the different estate vineyards. Much of the blending is done on a block-by-block basis which helps account for the uniqueness of each cuvée. The wines all reveal good levels of ripeness and purity of flavor; the better ones also have earthy nuances and complexity. The oak aging of the wines is done with a light hand and just enough to round them out without overwhelming the flavors. This is also noteworthy for the Chardonnay. All-in-all we liked the wines from the 2013 vintage even a little more than the previous one and assume some of the Pinots, like the superb Winemaker’s Block, will get even better after a few years in the bottle.
MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris Russian River Valley ($20) 89+ The 2014 Pinot Gris displays a lovely light copper color and aromas of ripe apple, pear and tropical fruit. On the palate it offers a lovely rich mouth feel with good weight and acidity, and a persistent finish. The wine is a blend i0 grapes from the MacMurray Ranch Vineyard and the Two Rock Vineyard.
MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay Russian River Valley ($20) 91 This 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay offers aromas of stone fruit and lemon citrus. It is beautifully balanced and elegant on the palate with a rich mouth feel and dense ripe fruit. Aged six months in American, French and Hungarian oak, 75% used and 25% new, it exhibits perfect integration of fruit and oak with touches of toast and spice. The wine is a blend of grapes from Laguna Ranch Vineyard, Del Rio Vineyard, and Two Rock Vineyard. A superb value!
MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($30) 90 The Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is an attractive cuvee crafted from four MacMuurray estate vineyards. More than two-thirds of the fruit were is from MacMurray Ranch, and the remainder from Two Rock, Del Rio, Laguna and Olson Ranch vineyards. The wine offers dark cherry flavors with a hint of sweet oak and smooth and elegant mouth feel. It shows good ripeness and density of flavor with excellent balance and a pleasant finish, A highly affordable wine by the bottle or by the glass.
MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Central Coast ($30) 90+ This delicious Pinot Noir is sourced from Gallo’s Olson Ranch Vineyard situated in the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is ripe, earthy and brambly in style offering aromas and flavors of dark cherry and pomegranate fruit with hints of light toast and lavender. It has a silky texture, good intensity of flavor and a long satisfying finish.
MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Reserve Russian River Valley ($37) 91 The Reserve Pinot Noir is a small production hand crafted boutique-like wine. An attractive spicy blend of the best lots from the Laguna Ranch Vineyard, Del Rio Vineyard and MacMurray Ranch Vineyard, it displays ripe dark fruit with concentration, depth, texture and purity. Aged 10 months in French oak, it has a round rich mouth feel and a long finish.
MacMurray Estate Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Winemaker’s Block Russian River Valley ($60) 93 The Pinot Noir Winemaker’s Block is a selection of the finest blocks of the Del Rio Vineyard, Laguna Ranch Vineyard, and MacMurray Ranch. It is a magnificent wine that shows notable richness, complexity and depth of flavor. The palate reveals alluring ripe cherry flavors with hints of earth and bramble, a silky mouth feel, excellent balance and a persistent finish.