We began 2020 with our annual trip to Sonoma County for Winter Wineland. This is a company-wide retreat of business and pleasure. Isn’t all wine tasting pleasure? Yes!
We scarcely could have foreseen the year that would follow from there. While we still were able to make several more trips to various wine regions we constantly had to improvise due to COVID and fires. We learned to be adaptable and appreciative. We also learned that misfortune is actually the mother of revelation.
As we have written previously our scheduled Napa trip in August was canceled due to the fires so we rerouted to the Santa Ynez Valley instead. This is an extremely underrated wine region and we have documented the great wine we tasted, including our January wine-of-the-month:
2017 E11even Petit Verdot, an Andrew Murray Production
Andrew Murray Vineyards had been recommended to us by several folks in the region. In fact, here’s a tip for when you go winetasting: ask people who work at a winery where THEY like to taste. You will find many hidden gems that way. We drove on winding Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos out to Andrew Murray Vineyards.
We sat shaded at a table on their elevated, pebbled front deck on a warm August afternoon. Two different tastings were set up for us: the first was a line of Andrew Murray wines and the second was E11even Wines, an Andrew Murray Production. While we liked everything we tried, which doesn’t happen very often at a tasting, the E11even wines were the star. As fans of This Is Spinal Tap, we were instantly curious about the name (“This one goes to eleven!”), especially when the label on the bottle is fashioned in the form of a concert ticket. Sure enough, Andrew Murray (a musician himself) confirmed for us that the movie was indeed his inspiration for this label of wines. He was very generous with his time, took us on a tour of his entire facility, and gave us great insight into their winemaking philosophy and procedures.
Back to the wine. Petit Verdot has lived a long life as primarily a blending grape but has been gaining steam as a single varietal. This Bordeaux varietal is a late ripener, which brings a balancing acidity to the wine. The grapes are small with thick skin, which provides the tannins. On the nose of this E11even Petit Verdot you detect a delightfully slight buttered popcorn from the 25% new French Oak. On the palate are ripe cherries and the minerality of the high elevation in which this estate grape is grown. It is a layered wine with surprisingly softened tannins for a 2017, leading to a long finish. An exceptional wine.
Of course, at Peninsula Underground it is not enough for the wine to be outstanding. It also must provide great value. At $36 per bottle this 2017 E11even Petit Verdot by Andrew Murray is our first highly recommended purchase of 2021, and is our January wine-of-the-month.
Order yours here:
and follow them @amvwine and @e11wine.
Tell them Peninsula Underground sent you.