Strolling around Murphys recently, I wandered into the tasting room for Bunting Wines. I hadn’t been to Murphys for a while, and needed a refresher on the Calaveras County wine scene.
Bunting is a welcome addition to the cluster of tasting rooms in Murphys on and near Main Street, and I thoroughly enjoyed tasting through a few wines with Garrett Neeley, the young and amiable tasting room manager.
Bunting specializes in Rhone varietals and their offerings are all the classics you’d expect: Grenache, Marsanne, Syrah and a GSM blend. A 2009 Muscat Canelli is their first dessert wine. Garrett noted that their most consumer-popular wine was their Syrah, and it is a nice not-so-tannic wine, and is at the upper end of their price range at $42 a bottle.
My favorite was their 2012 Red Blend GSM, which they call a Cuvee’ Rouge. The grapes are sourced from Vallecito (not far from Murphys) and the blend is 44 percent Grenache, 44 percent Mouvedre and 12 percent Syrah. It is really yummy, and at $32 the bottle, it is a good value in my estimation.
Bunting uses primarily grapes from the nearby Sierra Foothills vineyards in and around Calaveras, in particular their own Pyshon Vineyard, which is just more than 6.5 acres in Vallecito. Mourvedre, Grenache, Marsanne and Roussanne vines were planted in 2004, using French ENTAV clones. Grapes for the Syrah come from Flicker Oaks Vineyard in Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras County, managed by Steve Collum.
Rich Gilpin, owner of Lavender Ridge Vineyard in Calaveras County, has served as a consulting winemaker. I personally love it when that happens … it is so much a part of the sharing-expertise tradition of Sierra Foothills wineries, and a wonderful attribute of wineries in this California wine region.
The Murphys Main Street and nearby wine scene is vibrant, and I recommend that you plan a full day of tasting if you are headed there. Among the other wineries are Bodega Del Sur (their Carmesi is another favorite of mine), Black Sheep Winery, Domaine BecQuet, Frog’s Tooth, Hatcher, Hovey, Lavender Ridge, Tanner (try the Viognier), Twisted Oak (Hurray for The Spaniard red blend), Villa Vallecito and Zucca Mountain Vineyards. There’s also nearby Ironstone, with its roster of fabulous musical events.
The Bunting Winery tasting room is located at 397 Main St. and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. They also offer wine by the glass on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit buntingwinery.com.
Read more wine columns from Barbara Keck at winebiznews.blogspot.com.