2017 Andrew Murray Vineyards, Syrah, Tous les Jours, Santa Ynez Valley.
The twist off top, easy open dark fruited and spicy Tous les Jours Syrah by long time Rhone maestro Andrew Murray is vintage marked with ripe and warm flavors with blackberry/boysenberry, black plum, blueberry, mission fig and creme de cassis fruit, plus peppercorns, Dutch salted licorice and floral tones. Everything is well portioned and the quality for the price is outrageous and like Louis Barruol’s Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone, which is made from 100% Syrah, it’s easy to see why this wine is so wildly popular. Andrew Murray came to Syrah by accident when he was trying to make a California version of Condrieu (Viognier) and his vineyard was wrongly planted with Syrah instead, but maybe fate played an even hand after all when he started working with this grape, as his versions, like his famous Roasted Slope, a Cote-Rotie style expression, his new Watch Hill Vineyard and of course this wonderful entry level Tous les Jours. This deep purple/crimson Tous les Jours drinks smoothly with ultra plush tannin, but still has a nice brightness of detail, purity and subtle earthiness or meaty elements as you’d expect from this Northern Rhone varietal.
Murray, who like many young winemakers, was inspired by his travel to Europe and especially from his visits to the Rhone Valley in the early 1990s that sparked a passion to make the same style wines in California, and for that he chose Santa Barbara and especially in a cooler zone of the Santa Ynez Valley where he has made a name for himself, but following in the footsteps of an earlier generation like Bob Lindquist of Qupe, Randall Grahm of Boony Doon, who long sourced grapes from Bien Nacido, and John Alban of Alban Vineyards. The Tous les Jours came from a selection of vineyards and is mostly tank raised with very little oak presence, similar to Maxime Graillot’s entry level Crozes-Hermitage with carefully sorted and mostly de-stemmed Syrah grapes for fresh transparency and varietal character, but with a California personality. As Murray explains, everything starts with great grapes from the Santa Ynez Valley, plus a small amount from Paso, using the different climates to create a wine that is both fruity and spicy at the same time. Through his experiences with both New World and Old World style winemaking, Andrew adds, the goal was to make the most drinkable Syrah imaginable, in particular for a stylish everyday wine that as I note, way over delivers.
($18 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive