Good Times Santa Cruz
By Josie Cowden
Morgan is one of the better-known wineries in the Monterey Bay area. Consistently making great wines for nearly four decades, they have earned a well-deserved reputation.
Owner and winemaker Dan Morgan Lee found his path into the wine business when he was studying to be a veterinarian at UC Davis, but switched courses when he discovered enology satisfied his interest in both science and agriculture.
Some of his more special Pinot Noirs come from his Double L Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The 2017 Double L Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65) is a luscious treat. Rich with aromas of strawberry preserves, cinnamon, peppercorn, and a hint of herbs, it is augmented by flavors of tart cherry and savory spices. Dan Morgan calls it “an exquisite match for duck confit, lamb shank, and prime rib.” Wine Enthusiast awarded it 96 points.
Located in the northern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, this special area is widely regarded as “one of the best spots for growing top-flight Pinot Noir.”
With Easter just around the corner, the Double L Pinot would be a marvelous addition to your festive celebration.
Los Gatos Magazine
By Laura Ness
Chilly is the watchword on the Central Coast. When you head to the beach, no matter how warm it is inland, you always take a sweatshirt. As sunny as California is, the coast is often not warmly welcoming. Vineyards planted within 10 miles of the Pacific Ocean are guaranteed to feel its omnipresence, and, occasionally, its omnipotence.
When winegrower and owner Dan Lee and his wife Donna planted the 48-acre Double L Vineyard at the northern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands bench in 1997, they named it "Double L" (luck) for their twin daughters. In 2001, it became the first and only certified organic property in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Aromas of lemon curd, honey butter, cardamom, flint and cashew toffee are joined by layers of bright Meyer lemon, clementines, salted caramel and lemon bars, Generous acid, complexity from the five clones that comprise it (4, 15, 17, 76 and 95), along with a persistent clean finish, make this a versatile food wine. Enjoy with anything from seared garlic scallops to sautéed wild mushrooms with creamed corn and fennel. Or a ribeye topped with cowboy butter.
The full article can be viewed by clicking here, starting on page 32.
Review By @wineryreflections
Juicy red cherry, finely-ground black pepper, crunchy boysenberry. Fresh-picked strawberry, overgrown bramble, red licorice. A delightfully clean and expressive procession of wild blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry compote booms with pure and pretty exuberance as notes of undergrowth, leather, and cigar smoke beautifully complicate the charmingly aromatic display. Wafts of rose petal, carnations, and blooming flowers gracefully emerge in a layer of high-toned florals while hints of olive tapenade, bougainvillea, and summer sausage reveal subtle yet interesting savory and natural tones. Complex impressions of Hungarian paprika and exotic spices provide an intriguing edge while flecks of gravelly soil expose delicate underlying earthiness. Enticingly weightless, fragrant, and multidimensional on the nose while remaining fresh and playful on the palate; exhibiting outstanding balance and finesse in a package that effortlessly marries depth and drinkability. Medium in body with moderate tannin backed by nicely elevated acidity. This 2018 "Cotes du Crow's" by Morgan Winery is an elegant and exciting Rhone red from Monterey County.
Though primarily known as one of California's greatest regions for the production of cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Monterey County contains a wide range of mesoclimates capable of ripening a diverse selection of grape varieties. This bottling, crafted by Morgan Winery using a blend of 66% Grenache/31% Syrah/3% Tempranillo sourced from within Monterey County, magnificently showcases the immense potential Rhone varieties have in the region. Made in a flavor-packed yet delicate style similar to the region's Pinots, this wine generously wafts from the glass with attractive aromas of plump red and black fruit, bright florals, wonderful brambliness, and intriguing layers of peppery spice. It is expressive and forward while remaining perfectly balanced and restrained, and is undoubtedly one of the most impressive values we've experienced in quite some time. Excellent.
Have you tried a Rhone red blend from Monterey County?
Are we all ready for Thanksgiving feasting? Whether you plan to dine alone or with your family pod, cooking at home or ordering out or finding a cozy parklet, Laura Ness has lots of ideas on where to find the best fixins. When it comes to picking the best wines to pair with that turkey dinner, Laura chooses Morgan.
“Morgan has you covered if you’re craving a zesty and grapefruit-driven Sauvignon Blanc to cut the dust. Few producers can consistently turn out Pinot Noir the way proprietor Dan Morgan Lee and winemaker, Sam Smith, craft the Double L Pinot. It’s always just big enough, ripe enough and delicious. The Double L Syrah delivers meaty, savory, bacony, fennel-studded goodness to pair with a bacon wrapped turkey, duck or pheasant breast, if you’re thinking of skipping the whole bird. Love the new 2018 Highland Chardonnay, with its core of lemon vanilla custard.” - Laura Ness
We are all excited for the soon to be released 2018 Morgan Double L Syrah. This limited production, organically grown estate wine is tasting fabulous. Don’t take our word for it, wine writer Fredric Koeppel recently scored this wine as Excellent.
“Deep dark ruby hue; black cherries, currants and plums, opening to exotic touches of sandalwood and cloves, lavender and violets; a depth of tar and loam; then a high note of blueberry; the power of acidity like an electrical current and slightly dusty, graphite-tinged tannins; the essential hint of garrigue — a hillside of wild thyme, rosemary and sage. Now through 2023 to ’25. Excellent.” – Fredric Koeppel, November 2020
With so many Pinot Noir options out there it's nice to have a list of recommendations from a well-known pinot noir reviewer. Rusty Gaffney (aka the Prince of Pinot) recently reviewed the 2018 Morgan Twelve Clones Pinot Noir and it made his list for excellent value pinot noirs.
“Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of earthkissed black cherry and spice. Plentiful ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors in a mid-weight plus, exuberant, fruit-driven style with a good supportive acid vibe. An underlying earthiness adds interest.” – PinotFile, November 2020
Review by Misty at RedWineCats.com
With fruit dedicated solely to the production of Rosé, Morgan’s 2019 blend of 86% Grenache and 14% Cinsault was created from grapes picked at just the right time to maintain higher acidity and lower sugar. Perfectly crisp and dry with fantastic balance of fresh, bright fruit, this bottle tastes above its price range.
During the Pink Society wine chat on August 20th, Morgan Winery did a series of informative videos highlighting winemaker Sam Smith and an introduction to the rest of the winemaking crew. They all seem to really like each other and even shared some (bad;) wine jokes. All of that good energy must leak into the wine, because it’s a really great wine. I received this bottle as a sample, but will absolutely seek their wines out any time I see them on a shelf (or their website) and hear great things about their Pinot Noir.
Read the full article by clicking here.
Review by Joey Casco at TheWineStalker.net
Wasn't Morgan just on this blog? Well, they're back! And delivering that same great quality as they always do. The 2018 Highland Chardonnay is like a buttered biscuit with a side of pineapples. It's pretty oaky and you know that's my jam with Chardonnay. However, the bright and tart finish makes it more versatile with food than most oaky buttery Chards. Speaking of bright and tart, the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc out of Monterey is all about the zip! There is Semillon in here so it's got a medium body and a round mouthfeel, but I hope you like Sour Patch Kids because the tartness will make your mouth pucker. And not in a bad way, because it's pretty yummy and very refreshing. It's very grassy with grapefruit and lemon. I'm drooling thinking about this with Oysters Rockefeller. Finally, it's the 2019 Rosé of Grenache. With a weighty mouthfeel and tamed acidity, this is a rosé that's meant to savor instead of porch pound. Of course there's watermelon and strawberry, but there's also vanilla and orange skin. The best part of this wine is the finish. It's super juicy and, in a big surprise, spicy.
Review by @wineryreflections
Tart blackberry, fragrant sage, fresh mixed currants. Wild huckleberry, cracked black pepper, spiced dark cherry. Crunchy boysenberry, cranberry, and black licorice erupt with incredible energy and tension yet are immediately outshined by fresh thyme, rosemary, and a complex medley of wild herbs. Cardamon, anise, and tarragon continue the ambrosially spiced and herbal attack aided by an additional savory jolt of black olive, lavender leaf, and tree bark. A waft of young violet complements nice floral lift before oyster shell, crushed gravel, and rock salt leave a deliciously earthy impression. Delightfully peppery, raw, and feral; boasting an incredibly layered and multidimensional profile that is only just barely beginning to reveal its true depth. Medium plus in body/tannin/acidity with palpable energy and structure that implies it is still many years from its peak. This 2018 "G17" Syrah by Morgan Winery is an outstanding and unique cool climate red from the Santa Lucia Highlands.
While it is primarily known as a source for high quality Pinot Noir, the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation in Monterey County it is also home to a growing concentration of absolutely incredible Syrah. This bottling, crafted by Morgan Winery using mostly Syrah plus a pinch of Grenache and Tempranillo, is a terrifically interesting example of the complex subtleties possible in California's cool yet sunny Central Coast. Contrary to many new world Syrahs this wine is dominated largely by its pronounced savory and herbal character rather than its fruit, yet it still manages to express wonderfully juicy freshness. It is well balanced and quite restrained with excellent tartness and drive. This is an extremely well executed and food friendly offering that will stand up to even the most intricately flavored dishes.
Have you tried Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah?
Review by @WineryReflections
Ripe Bing cherry, fresh lavender, pomegranate reduction. Candied orange peel, Asian five spice, black raspberry compote. A delicately concentrated and lifted core of Santa Rosa plum, cranberry cocktail, and cola seamlessly collides with forest floor, coriander, and nutmeg in a fragrant and gorgeously expansive display. High toned perfume continues to radiate as violet, wildflowers, and pine needle reveal fresh floral and natural overtones intricately complicated by clove, cardamom, and an ample helping of complex spice. A waft of grilled mushroom emerges to impart a dousing of beautiful umami while ocean fog, sea spray, and gravely earth expose subtle yet seductive hints of terroir. Fresh, fruit-driven, and nicely balanced on the palate; presenting a wonderfully layered and expressive attack that maintains authenticity to both grape and place. Medium plus in body with moderate yet soft tannin backed by elevated acidity. This 2017 "Twelve Clones" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir by Morgan Winery is a bright, aromatic, and archetypal Monterey County red.
Known for its warm sunny days juxtaposed against cold and foggy nights, the Santa Lucia Highlands has quickly developed into one of California's greatest growing zones for robust and expressive Pinot Noir. This bottling, crafted by Morgan Winery using 12 distinct clones of Pinot Noir sourced from within the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, brilliantly showcases the ethereal power and aromatic depth that this region has become famous for. While it leads with a medley of rich and ripe fruit this wine maintains impressive weightlessness and energy, and its spiced, floral, and natural charm gorgeously complicates the intriguing fruit-focused bouquet. This exhibits nice restraint to balance its decadence, and while enjoyable now it will certainly improve with 5-10 years in the cellar. A deliciously classic SLH Pinot.
Have you tried SLH Pinot Noir?