MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris 2006
wine pixies

MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris 2006 Tasting Notes

If the name MacMurray rings a bell for you, it should; actor Fred MacMurray never grew his own grapes on this property, which he bought as a hideaway in the 1940s, but he kept it as a working agricultural ranch until his death in 1991. MacMurray raised his children on the ranch and specified in his will that the property be kept undeveloped and intact. MacMurray Ranch is grape country now, stewarded by the Gallo family which bought the property in 1996. Kate MacMurray, daughter of Fred, is the current spokesperson for the wine property.

The MacMurray Ranch 2006 Pinot Gris, Sonoma Coast appellation, is a full-bodied wine with a luxurious mouthfeel. Peach, apple and orange citrus stimulate both the nose and palate; white flowers are especially apparent on the nose. The attack has a sweet edge, but the wine progresses toward a clean, and dry, finish. This is plush $20 wine, a joy on its own, though I am pairing it tonight with pan-seared skate, Portobello mushrooms, and Swiss chard. The acidity in this wine is forceful, though nicely chaperoned by a dollop of sweet and some warming alcohol (13.8%). This is a wine with size, bigness, depth—call it what you will (as long as your term of choice implies size)—all in a particularly unctuous package: the vinous equivalent, I suppose, of a particularly comfortable sofa.

The “Sonoma Coast” American Viticultural Area (“AVA”) is a rather large, almost gerrymandered affair, encompassing more than half a million acres, of which seven thousand or so are planted to wine grapes. Only the northernmost section of this appellation abuts the Pacific coast (as well as Mendocino County), with the remainder digging inland and south until the appellation careens into San Pablo Bay, one of the northern arms of cooling San Francisco Bay, at Sonoma's southern extreme. It's tempting to deride the Sonoma Coast construction as “a lot of but not quite all of Sonoma,” but the parts of the appellation have a viable common denominator: a cool climate (cool, acid retaining-nights especially), which in turn leads to a long, patient growing and ripening season, ideal for Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir (which MacMurray also produces). Though many Sonoma Coast wineries produce estate bottlings, this wine is more widely sourced, though with obvious winemaking acumen. The sum total of this wine is a good elegance level with some lip-smacking flavor to keep things interesting. Though hardly a beginner wine like many of its Pinot Grigio cousins in Italy, it is nevertheless easy to drink for those who crave some character in their glass.

Verdict: A Winner
Tasting Archive   Wine Pages Home   About Elliot

Pinot Gris can bring more substance than a range of taste-alike Pinot Grigios.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award


Copyright © Elliot Essman 2008 The URL of this site is: