We discovered Andrew Murray Vineyards (AMV) tasting room in downtown Los Olivos on our recent tour of California wine regions. As we walked in, my eye was drawn to a series of wines with whimsical labels with two people doing various fun activities. We quickly learned the wines are a special label for AMV called “Days Off”, dedicated to making wines from non-Rhone varieties (the AMV label specializes in Rhone varieties). Production is very limited and are available exclusively in the Los Olivos tasting room, or online.
Those fun people on the label are “Stan & Barbara”, and each of the labels illustrates them spending their “Days Off” together. The labels usually illustrate them on romantic adventures, with a hint of nostalgia to remind us of simpler times when “we all worked less and enjoyed life more”.
We had the opportunity to taste the ’09 “Lake Day”, which is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (45%), Chenin Blanc (45%) and a splash of Riesling (5%), and the ’09 “Road Trip”, a super-Tuscan inspired red wine blended with 80% Sangiovese, 10% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet. These were quite enjoyable. "Lake Day" was very crisp and refreshing – perfect for summer, and the "Road Trip" was a heavier red without being overly bold – drinkable as I would say, ‘from ingredients to dessert’.
Speaking of dessert – the wine that put a big smile on my face was “First Kiss”. The label alone causes you to smirk. Flirty, and brilliant, as Barbara’s phone number is that of the tasting room. I typically do not care for dessert wines, as I find them a little too sweet for my taste. This one was different. While it is a traditionally crafted ‘port’ style wine dominated by the Touriga grape, the curveball is that they fortify it with cognac. There was a definite cognac nose, and had a mellow berry taste, making it not overly sweet, just simply delicious. This balance makes it a perfect pairing with dark chocolate, or a nice stilton. Price point is slightly above average for a dessert wine at $20/bottle, but it is well worth it for this rare dessert wine!
Check out all of the “Days Off” collection online, or if in the area, stop by the tasting room for a sample. They currently have a promotion - mention you’d like the “tasting2fer” and you will receive two tasting for the price of one!