Brian’s Wine Wednesday: MacMurray Russian River Valley Pinot Noir


In 1941 actor Fred MacMurray (he of My Three Sons fame) bought some land north of San Francisco, and raised cattle. After he passed, his children knew what valuable property the “MacMurray Ranch” had become, smack-dab in California’s famed Russian River Valley, so daughter Kate started MacMurray Estate Vineyards, which now makes Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir can be a very hit and miss proposition. It’s a temperamental, thin-skinned grape, which can yield tremendous flavor in the hands of expert winemakers, or lifeless drizzle otherwise. What’s great about a good Pinot is it’s light enough for salmon, but complex enough to hold up to richer meats. If you’re ever in a pinch at a restaurant wondering what to order for your group at a restaurant, you can usually win by picking Pinot Noir; it tends to make everyone happy.

So what about this particular Pinot, the 2013 MacMurray Russian River Pinot Noir?

One word: YUM!

I like a “beefier” Pinot, and this one delivers with aromas of coffee and ripe cherry, and robust flavors of juicy raspberry, balanced with a nice, dry finish. It’s a bit more than I like to spend to drink it regularly (about $25), but you can try it by the glass at the Old Grist Mill Tavern to see what you think.

3.5-corksOn my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the 2013 MacMurray Russian River Pinot Noir gets 4.5 corks for taste, 2.5 for price, for a 3.5 cork rating.

If you’d like to try interesting wines like this at our next Wine Wednesday Tasting Party at The Wharf Tavern, click here to win a spot on the guest list!

Brian Demay

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