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Why is location so important?

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MacMurray Ranch winemaker Chris Munsell admits pinot noir is a delicate grape but his two 2012 vintages seem extraordinary effortless.

”This grape tends to reveal a vineyard slowly and deliberately,” he said. “The challenge for a winemaker is to tell the story of each place in a pure, elegant way that only pinot noir can.”

Crafted entirely from estate grown fruit, two distinctly different climate zones pampered the Russian River Valley selection ($28) with daily fog and another with abundant sunshine.

The result is ambrosia in a bottle. Aromas of lavender, sage and boysenberry are the opening act for ripe cherry, caramel and vanilla with hints of earthy toasted pecans.

Fruit for MacMurray Central Coast pinot noir ($23) luxuriated in the elevation and sun exposure of the Santa Lucia Highlands region and an extended growing season.

Subtle aromas of juicy strawberry and sweet cola step to center stage and set the scene for elegant flavors and layers of ripe red cherry, raspberry and whispers of sweet vanilla and freshly baked croissants.

Pour these two pinots, albeit delicately different, with classic Beouf Bourgogne, Peking duck or wild salmon.

These selections give the imbiber a sense of place and of the terroir that coddled the delicate, elegant flavors synonymous with world class pinot noir.

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