Monday, October 20, 2008

An Affordable, Stylish Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly that I love Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. I love its style, its class, and the way that the cool growing temperatures seem to give the wines a depth and complexity that make them wonderful dinner companions.

I don't drink as much Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir as I would like to, however, because wines from this region--especially wines made with the world's most finicky grape--can cost a pretty penny. So it's always a great discovery when I find a Pinot Noir that has all the good taste I crave and excellent QPR as well.

Just in time for the holidays, I've found such a wine: the 2006 MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. I received this as a sample, but you should be able to find it in most places for between $12 and $20. MacMurray Ranch was purchased in 1941 by Hollywood actor Fred MacMurray, and today Australian-born Susan Doyle sees her role as winemaker as one that depends on a combination of science and art.

The results of this combination, if this bottle is any indication, are excellent. This was a superb Pinot Noir for the price. It had lovely aromas of spice, cherry and raspberry fruit, and flowers. These were enticing, and made you want to swirl and sniff for a good, long time before you even took your first sip. When you did, you were struck by flavors of high toned black cherry, allspice, and fresh-baked raspberry cobbler. The wine had a surprising depth as it went over your tongue, so if you like your Pinots to have nice body and good balance, you will like this wine. Even though the wine was full of fruit flavors, there was a nice silkiness of texture--which for me is one of the real delights in drinking a well-made Pinot Noir. The whole experience was rounded up with a spicy aftertaste that was mouthwatering and only made you want more.

If you see this wine for under $20 it's a steal, and I highly recommend that you buy it and keep it on hand for when you're serving soups, stews, anything with mushrooms, or pork dishes this autumn. Pinot Noir is one of the world's most versatile food grapes, so there is almost nothing this wine wouldn't go with--including turkey if you are looking for a red wine for Thanksgiving.

In a world full of overpriced Pinot Noir that often doesn't deliver in the taste department (even if it does cost a lot), it's a joy to drink such an affordable, well-made, and classy Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.


Jack said...

Not to be snarky, but I think it's more important as to who the current owner is than who once owned it but is now a dead celebrity.

Mac Murray Ranch is owned by Gallo. I pass on Gallo wines.

Amy Atwood said...

Affordable and delicious Pinot Noir is indeed a difficult find. Thanks for the tip.

Dr. Debs said...

Jack, Amy and I are happy you are so snarky. That leaves more affordable Pinot for us. I'm not a snob, nor am I snarky--I drink what's good and suits my bank account. 'Nuf said.

In Vine We Trust said...

In complete agreement drdebs. Wine ownership does not necessarily have an impact on the winemaker style or the selected grapes. While I'm not a big fan of Cali Pinots, when you find something you like within your price structure (which is the goal of your blog) then tell about it!

Love to read your blogs and tweets!

mloagogo said...

Yep, this is a consistent favorite, and available in my local (that's 5 blocks away) wine shop. This reminds me, I should stock up on some more!

Jack said...

So, it's okay to support the winery that's spraying right next to the biodynamic vineyard, causing the leaves to brown (as was pointed out the me first hand)?

So, it's okay to buy wine from the company Most Known for treating their workers poorly?

I wouldn't buy wine at WalMart either.

Dr. Debs said...

Jack, what kind of car do you drive? Do you eat entirely organic food? Do you wear leather clothes?

I review good wine under $20 on this blog. I believe in organic and biodynamic agriculture, write about it regularly, and believe that it is the most sustainable way to produce wine. I also believe that there are people for whom the wine I reviewed here is a great option. I lived in a town where six different brands of wine were sold. And I'm not exaggerating. It was not a reciprocal state, and we did as best we could.

You make your wine decisions. I make mine. So do my readers. I respect their ability to make the right decisions for them in a fiscally, environmentally, and culturally difficult world. I like to think I give them the information--on both sides of the equation--to do just that.

I stand by my review. This is an excellent QPR wine for people who like spicy Pinot Noir and it's widely available, too.

When I review Lutea or Ft. Ross wines, I get criticized for going over $20. Oh well, it's always something, isn't it?

fredric koeppel said...

Thanks for pointing out this pinot noir, Doc. MacMurray Ranch also makes excellent pinot gris wines.