Santa Barbara County is home to a large number of excellent wine makers and today we visited an estate that is notorious for producing the most outstanding Syrah’s: Andrew Murray Vineyards.
Most Santa Barbara Wineries are located in the Santa Ynez Valley, which is best described by imagining what heaven might look like: A beautiful valley surrounded by the mighty mountains of the Los Padres forest and composed of lush, rolling hills, fairytale-like trees and hidden waterfalls - yes, it is magical.
To get to Andrew Murray Vineyards you have to drive deep into the valley, right past Los Olivos and then take Foxen Canyon Road into an area where time seems to have stood still: A narrow road leads through an aisle of timeworn trees down the canyon into bright green vineyard fields. Right in the center of long lines of grapes, Andrew Murray Winery appears.
The winery itself is ‘fenced off’ with large lavender bushes that shine in bright purple and move to the sounds of hundreds of bees as they hum over the blossoms. The property itself features a family friendly picnic area under ancient oak trees as well as a terrace where patrons can enjoy their wine as they gaze off into the distant Figueroa Mountain range.
At the tasting room, with its natural design and down to earth elegance, you can taste 5 specialty wines, including Andrew Murray’s acclaimed Syrah. Additionally there is a tasting option that serves matching Chocolate Truffles to each wine…yes, yum!
We realized immediately that the wines, as much as the property, have a distinct feature: They merge the sweetness of California grapes with the graceful dryness of old European wines. It is not difficult to tell that Andrew Murray himself has been on lengthy expeditions in France’s Rhône Valley wine region where he acted as translator as his father interviewed some of France’s notable winemakers.
We highly recommend you add a day trip to Andrew Murray Vineyards to your to do list and enjoy remarkable wines in a postcard like nature setting that is both inspiring and relaxing. The winery is located at Foxen Canyon Rd, Los Olivos, CA 93441, which is about 1 hour from downtown Santa Barbara and about 3 hours from downtown Los Angeles.