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.
Lined with cobblestone streets and storybook cottages tucked under cypress trees, Carmel-by-the-Sea twinkles with the quaint kind of charm that makes it a landing spot for honeymooners, retirees and tourists. It’s also now a destination for wine tasting, with more than a dozen tasting rooms within walking distance of one another. Many are tucked into the secret courtyards within many of the small city’s blocks.
Don’t expect any commercial wineries within this seaside hamlet. The focus is on Monterey County, particularly the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco, with occasional influence from the Santa Cruz Mountains and elsewhere.
As one would expect from a tourist town, there are abundant options for lodging and activities at different price points, and the food scene is particularly interesting. Lately, the buzz has been about 7th & Dolores, a surf-and-turf restaurant as sophisticated as any you’ll find in San Francisco. –Matt Kettmann
Article by SouthFloridaReporter.com
Listen to the winemakers and grape growers in the Santa Lucia Highlands and you’d think there is no better place to make wine. They may be right.
This 18-mile-long sub-appellation benefits from a confluence of climate phenomena. A deep canyon of cold water, just offshore of the Pacific Ocean, fuels winds that sweep down the Salinas Valley at speeds of 10 to 15 miles per hour and often gusting to 25.
Morgan winemaker Dan Lee called the winds “our air-conditioner.”
Most of the well-drained vineyards are planted on the lower slopes of the Santa Lucia mountain range at elevations ranging from 50 to 1,650 feet. Granite and other minerals that wash down from the mountains and enrich the soil.
Coupled with the morning fog, the winds create a condition too cold for zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, but perfect for chardonnay and pinot noir – the two primary grapes grown in the region’s 5,900 planted acres.
Cooler conditions lengthen the growing season, the longest in all of California. Grapes ripen slowly and develop stronger acidity. Low rainfall, especially during crucial ripening periods, forces stressed roots to glide through loose sandy loam to absorb the minerals and create multi-dimensional wines. Berries are small and thick-skinned too. The wines we tasted from here have a consistent vibrancy, balanced acidity, and depth of flavor.
Santa Lucia Highlands may not have the tourist attractions of Napa Valley, but it certainly has the vineyards to give Napa a run for its money. Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur offer upscale accommodations and for visitors.
Morgan Double L Vineyard Riesling 2019 ($25). With just a touch of residual sugar, this fresh and bright riesling gives this grape variety new life. Meyer lemon aromas, apple and melon flavors.
Click here for a link to the full article.
Review By WineReviewOnline.com
"One of Monterey County’s best kept secrets is its Riesling. From the wines made at Mirassou back in the 1980s by Tom Stutz up to offerings like this one, I’m always impressed – and surprised that I don’t see more of it. I know, you’re thinking “Here it comes, another writer extolling the virtues of Riesling. Who cares?” I’m writing to say that you should care. I’ve reviewed this bottling in past vintages, and it is always a solid value. It’s done in the Kabinett style, with bright stone and citrus fruit up front and a crisp, stony finish that gets my juices flowing. I imagine those in the know snap up the relatively small production."
- Rich Cook, September 2020
Interview by The Crossroads Carmel
Melissa, what was your first exposure to the wine industry? Did you always know you wanted to work at a winery and tasting bar?
My father is a local Carmel Valley winemaker, so I grew up surrounded by a love of wine. But it wasn’t until I studied in Italy that my passion for wine really ignited. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Morgan for five years now. With Morgan being a local, family-owned winery, I feel right at home.
What makes Morgan wines special?
One thing in particular, I think, makes us special. Morgan was founded in 1982, and many of our customers have followed Dan Morgan Lee’s winemaking journey since then. Those who have, know that Morgan always offers consistency and value. People can depend on Morgan for a quality bottle of wine on a restaurant menu, at their local market, or straight from the source at Taste Morgan.
Which wines are your best sellers? Can you tell us a little bit about them?
That’s a tough one! We have more than 18 different wines, and of course people love them for different reasons. I will say, we are well-known for two of our flagship releases — the Twelve Clones Pinot Noir and the Highland Chardonnay. Both are quintessential SLH varietals, portraying the terroir and quality of the region while remaining affordable.
Where are the grapes sourced?
Morgan’s estate vineyard—the Double L Vineyard—is the only organically grown vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. We also have partnerships with well-known growers throughout Monterey County.
Have you noticed any new wine trends since people are drinking more wine at home?
Time spent at home has encouraged more home cooking and family dining. Whether it’s a casual dinner or a home celebration of a special occasion, wine helps elevate the moment. Morgan has such a wide range of wines to choose from! We offer everything from wine for a casual everyday drink to high end wines to honor the moment.
Should we keep our eyes peeled for any new or limited-edition wines?
Absolutely! We just released our 2017 Double L Pinot Noir which received 96 points from Wine Enthusiast. It’s spicy with rich red fruit and showcases our winemaking team’s hard work. It’s truly the kind of Pinot that first made you fall in love with wine. I also have to mention our new Rose of Grenache—perfect for the summery weather we’ve been having!
How do you hold tastings at Taste Morgan wines at Crossroads Carmel amid the Covid-19 pandemic?
Good question! Our tastings are currently held outdoors. We’ve revamped our patio with socially distanced seating, umbrellas for the sun, and blankets for those foggy Carmel days. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are encouraged due to limited seating. You can visit our website at www.morganwinery.com or give us a call at (831) 626-3700 to make a reservation for our pet-friendly patio.
We’ve all been impacted by Covid. We are grateful to have the support of our loyal Club members, customers, and community. Our main priority has been to let them know we are up to date on all safety regulations, and we are here for them, too.
What membership options are available for wine tasters?
We offer four club options:
—Double L Club – a mix of our estate and single-vineyard wines
—Club Crimson – all red wines
—Club Blanc – all white wines
—Club Highland – a range of our entire portfolio
We are currently working on a Club Exclusive Virtual Tasting to celebrate the September Club release!
Any advice for people navigating this crazy time in our lives?
Early on, a friend told me to take things day-by-day, and not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. It’s important to be grateful for the things we do have, and to continue to seek out happy moments. Also, pour yourself a glass of wine. You deserve it!
Click here for a link to The Crossroads Carmel article.
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.