A Los Olivos Tasting Room You Don’t Want to Miss- Andrew Murray Vineyards

Last weekend, my husband and I planned a trip to Paso Robles to do a little wine tasting.  On the beautiful ride up the 101, we decided to take a detour into Los Olivos, a quaint little town in Santa Barbara’s wine country.  It’s a beautiful area decorated with wineries, tasting rooms, and restaurants.  We decided to make a stop into Andrew Murray Vineyards’ tasting room at the invitation of the winery.  I had heard a lot of great buzz about Andrew’s wines and his rock star wine making abilities.

Tracy hosted our tasting and was very knowledgable about Andrew and the wines he passionately makes.  She took us on a fantastic journey through eight of Andrew’s wines.  Seven of the eight wines were Syrah and each bottle was unique and intricately different. 

We started with one of the winery’s latest releases, the 2009 Syrah Tous les Jours. The grapes for this vintage come from vineyards in both the Santa Ynez Valley and Paso Robles.  This Syrah tasted of a melody of dark cherries, cranberries, and spices.  Incredibly smooth and only $16.  It is undoubtedly one of the best Syrahs I have had in this price range.

As we moved through the tasting, we discovered one Syrah that was better than the next.  The stand out of the tasting for me was the 2009 Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard.  The wine hails from the west side of Paso Robles.  It poured a striking and beautifully intense violet.  Flavors of rich berries, toasted oak, spice, and vanilla were followed by a long, dry finish.  This wine was both big and balanced, showing lots of elegant personality.  My favorite wine of the tasting and a great value at $36. 

If you are spending some time in the Santa Barbara area, this is a tasting room you don’t want to miss.  Andrew Murray lives up to his rock star winemaker reputation and I am now a groupie.

(for more information visit www.andrewmurrayvineyards.com)

Sauvignon Blanc Heaven at Honig Winery

While I was in Napa, Linda Cordair (from Quent Cordair Fine Art in downtown Napa) pointed us in the direction of Honig Winery in Rutherford.  I had heard some great things about their Sauvignon Blanc, but never had the chance to try any of their wines.  When we arrived, we were greeted by a fun and laid-back staff. (no wine snobs here!)  The tasting room was adorned with beautiful dark wood and very relaxed…we even had the option to do our tasting on their couches. 

We started our tasting with Honig’s 2009 Rutherford Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.  It is a refreshing and lively wine with notes of peach and citrus with a crisp finish.  Very elevated in style and nicely priced at $25.  We then moved on to a couple of Cabernets.  The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet was our favorite of the two…full of dark fruit and spices finished off by a touch of oak ($40). 

The grand finale of our tasting was Honig’s 2009 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.  The aromas of vanilla and honey drew me in while the tastes of citrus and apricot followed by a long, honey finish won me over ($55).  This is an incredible dessert wine…we brought a bottle home and I am thinking it won’t last too much longer than the weekend. 

Honig is a great place to relax and try some wonderful wines.  The whole tasting room staff is wonderful and they all got involved to make sure we had a great tasting experience.  Give them a call if you would like to stop in!  For more information go to www.HonigWine.com