These are some new stunning releases from Morgan Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Owner and winemaker Dan Lee is one of the finest winemakers in the AVA, and we have been big fans of his wines for many years. We first became acquainted with Dan and Morgan Winery 10 years ago when we were preparing our Report #20 The Santa Lucia Highlands: Unique Terroir, Marvelous Wines. At that time and with every passing year that we have been reviewing Morgan wines, we have been impressed by their consistent quality, originally and steady improvement.
Dan Lee and wife Donna founded Morgan in 1982, built a state-of-the-art winery in Salinas in 1984, and purchased the 65 acres Double L Vineyard in the northern Santa Lucia Highlands in 1996. Planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the Double L has been farmed organically since its founding and is certified by Monterey County Certified Organic.
Like most of the winemakers in the Highlands, Dan Lee also grows and purchases grapes from other parts of Monterey County. He is also experimental by nature and works with unusual grape varieties for California such as the Portuguese Verdelho, Touriga Nacional, and Touriga Franca varietals. These wines are available under Morgan’s sister label, Lee Family Farm.
The wines reviewed here are among Morgan’s finest wines. They exhibit high quality fruit, outstanding winemaking, and are exceedingly pleasant to drink. Readers will want to try several of Morgan’s single variety wines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah and Rhone style blends.
Wine Reviews and Ratings
Morgan 2017 Albariño Monterey ($22) 88 This Albariño has a fresh herbal nose and a sweet fruit attack followed by a palate marked by bright acidity. Stylistically it is more tart than tropical like the expressive fruit of Spanish Albariño. Easy drinking.
Morgan 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Monterey ($18) 89 Light straw, this Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of classic Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musqué, and Semillon. If offers lovely aromas of citrus and apple not unlike a Bordelais white. Aged 5 months in French oak, it is rather soft in the mouth with medium acidity and freshness and a persistent finish.
Morgan 2017 Grenache Blanc Monterey ($22) 90 The Grenache Blanc displays a nice floral character to the nose and rich orchard fruit with light tropical fruit notes on the palate. Aged 5 months in French and Hungarian oak, it is a delicious wine, fruit forward, easy drinking, and nicely balanced with good acidity and freshness on the finish. It’s true to its varietal character!
Morgan 2015 Metallico Unoaked Chardonnay Monterey ($22) 91 Morgan’s Metallico is among the finest unoaked Chardonnay’s produced in California. It displays pure Chardonnay fruit flavors without an overlay of oak or malolactic fermentation. Aged 5 months in stainless steel, it offers ripe orchard fruit with crisp acidity and freshness with a zesty finish.
Morgan 2016 Highland Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands ($28) 91 The 2016 Highland Chardonnay is a flavorful blend of grapes from Morgan’s Double L Vineyard and neighboring vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. It display aromas of ripe tropical fruit and toasted oak with medium acidity and a long finish.
Morgan 2016 Chardonnay Double L Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($42) 92 The Chardonnay Double L Vineyard displays a flinty, honeyed nose with hints of honeysuckle and toasted oak. Aged 15 months in French oak, 15% new, it is richly flavored with a creaminess and hints of hazelnut and rich fruit. It has good acidity and balance and a persistent finish.
Morgan 2017 Rosé of Grenache Arroyo Seco ($22) 88 Pink in color, the Rosé of Grenache offers a fruity nose of fresh strawberry. It is ripe on the palate with medium acidity and good persistence. A pleasant quaffing wine.
Morgan 2016 Cotes du Crow’s Monterey ($18) 89 An attractive Rhone-style blend of 52% Syrah, 44% Grenache and 4% Tempranillo, the Cotes du Crow’s exhibits purity of brambly black cherry fruit flavors on the attack. Aged 10 months in French oak, 15% new, it reveals nicely integrated oak and fruit on the palate with good concentration. A very drinkable wine, although it shows the tannic grip of youth.
Morgan 2016 Pinot Noir Twelve Clones Santa Lucia Highlands ($35) 90 Sourced from among the finest vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands, the Pinot Noir Twelve Clones offers ripe dark cherry fruit with considerable purity and hints of toasted oak. It is soft and round in the mouth with good balance, finesse, depth of flavor and a persistent finish.
Morgan 2016 Pinot Noir Double L Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands ($64) 92 The Pinot Noir Double L exhibits a rich cherry nose and hints of vanilla oak. It is soft and round in the mouth with excellent purity of flavor and depth. It exhibits more precision, and refinement than the 12 Clones and has a lovely persistent finish.
Morgan 2016 Syrah G17 Santa Lucia Highlands ($24) 91 The Syrah G17 consists of 88% Syrah blended with 8% Grenache and a dollop of Tempranillo. Rhone-style in character, it is ruby red in color, and offers pleasant aromas of dark red berry fruit, blackberries and smoked meat. It is nicely balanced with good density of flavor and a long finish.
Morgan 2016 Tempranillo Arroyo Seco ($22) 88 This Tempranillo displays aromas of black cherry and black raspberry. It is fruit forward in character, very aromatic and pleasant to drink. It also is nicely balanced with good acidity and freshness.