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.
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?
Wine + Comics: What's not to love? That's exactly what you'll find in Joey Casco's @thewinestalker latest podcast - Grapes and Capes, featuring three of our newly released wines.
Check it out at www.thewinestalker.net or on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Anchor.
"The 2019 Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay by Morgan is out of Santa Lucia Highlands and saw 8 months aging in stainless steel. Fuller bodied and very tropical with notes of pineapple, limoncello, pears, and vanilla. A solid $22 un-oaked Chardonnay that you can nurse and take in its intricacies or use as a refreshing thirst quencher. Excellent stuff! Pair with rotisserie chicken or pork.
The 2018 Twelve Clones Pinot Noir by Morgan Winery is from the Double L, Rosella's, Boekenoogen, KW, and Tondré vineyards in Santa Lucia Highlands, California. It saw 9 months in French Oak, 35% of it new. It's got some nice dirt and earthy spice on it, with tart and juicy cranberries, plums, wilting roses, and a perky acidity on the finish followed by grainy tannins. Burgundian in style and very versatile with food pairing. $35 and worth it!
The 2018 Double L Vineyard Syrah by Morgan Winery is out of Santa Lucia Highlands, California. It saw 10 months in French oak, 25% of it new. It's purple in the glass, and fresh from being opened you could have told me it was aged in Tequila barrels and I would have believed you. The next day, that agave was still there but not nearly as aggressive. There's also notes of plums, strawberry, lavender, and lots of pepper. Strong structure and chewy! $44? Heck yeah! Pair with beef stew, sharp cheddar, or smoked crab dip."
We’re all looking for the perfect gifts for the wine and food lovers in our lives (and let’s be honest – that’s almost everyone!) So drop everything and check out Emily’s Holiday Wine Gift Guide on @jetsettingfashionista. She’s featured a high caliber lineup of family-owned Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers, and some fun & fancy culinary accoutrements to boot.
Photo courtesy of The JetSetting Fashionista, by Kelsy Shaffor Photography @kelsyshafforphotography
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
Are you looking for a terrific wine to pair with your Thanksgiving turkey? Josie Cowden from GoodTimes Santa Cruz picked the 2017 Morgan Twelve Clones Pinot Noir for her recent Thanksgiving wine pairing article.
“The 2017 Twelve Clones Pinot Noir ($35) is “drawn from the finest vineyards of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, including Morgan’s organic “Double L” estate, which accounted for 47% of the final blend.” Aromas of black cherry, cola and graham cracker are followed by enticing flavors of raspberry and toasted caramel—with smidgeons of spice and pomegranate.
Food friendly and bursting with characteristic earthiness, I would happily pair this Pinot with turkey or chicken—as well as veal, pork and steak.” – Josie Cowden, November 2020
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
By: Stephanie Miskew
This month I’m thrilled to focus on the wines of California’s Santa Lucia Highlands. This under the radar AVA (American Viticultural Area) is deserving of lots of attention (which is undoubtedly forthcoming after everyone reads this!) and is best know for it’s exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. While it’s best known wines can be somewhat pricey, I’m thrilled to share the 2019 Morgan Winery Double L Vineyard Riesling, an incredibly pedigreed, small production gem from one of the region’s pioneering families that is definitely worth seeking out.
WHO IT’S FROM: In 1982, Dan and Donna Lee opened the doors of Morgan Winery. Since then, Morgan has become one of the Central Coast’s most recognized labels, earning “Winery of the Year” honors from Wine & Spirits in 1996 and from the San Francisco Chronicle in 2003. Able to pick and choose fruit sources from around the state, Dan eventually turned more of his attention to the Santa Lucia Highlands and single vineyard releases. Dan and Donna invested in their belief in the Highlands with the purchase of the Double L Vineyard in 1996. Today the Double L is one of the best known vineyards in California. Dan’s leadership and expertise in the district led to his being named the first Board President of the newly formed Santa Lucia Highlands’ winegrowers association in 2005.
WHERE IT’S FROM: The Double L Vineyard is at the northern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Here the ultra-cool climate and porous, mountainside soils provide ideal conditions for growing world-class Riesling.
THE GRAPE: Native to Germany, the noble Riesling grape is the basis of some of the world’s most prized and longest-lived white wines.
WHAT TO PAIR IT WITH: This delightful Riesling is a natural match for spicy Thai + Indian cuisine (like our Gochujang Roast Chicken with Honey Lime Potatoes), shellfish + lighter fish dishes as well as fresh chèvre + triple-cream cheeses.