2018 Morgan Winery, Riesling, Double L Vineyard Estate, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The 2018 vintage is shaping up to be one of the greatest on the Central Coast in living memory and there have been some exceptional wines released already, and one of the most unexpected of these is Morgan’s highly impressive Double L Riesling, which to fair has always been a nice example, but this new one is just absolutely fantastic! The wine’s slightly off-dry style and brisk acidity keep it balanced and fresh, and as the winery puts it, it is very much like a traditional German “Kabinett” or Feinherb in the glass and it shows amazing purity, one of the best west coast Rieslings I’ve tried so far. With it’s noticeable residual sugar, it is slightly sweet on the palate, but less so than many Chardonnays if you are honest and the sugar, as in Germany is not at cloying, it really allows the acidity to refreshing instead of blisteringly hard and gives sense of texture without being weighty, this stuff is finely balanced and makes the wine wonderfully quaffable, it is a stunner that will go with lots of food choices. Also, it feels low in alcohol and has a crystalline form with crisp detailing, winemaker Sam Smith, who has significantly raised the game here at one of Monterey’s top estates, adds that the Riesling grapes were foot stomped and left on the skins for 18 hours, then whole-cluster pressed. Then he used 100% stainless fermentation, which was then as he notes, arrested by quickly chilling down the tanks to achieve an off-dry style and the low alcohol, all done to preserve the fresh intensity of Morgan’s Riesling, while still achieving a serious wine with plenty of extract.
The Double L Vineyard, set on the Highlands bench with sandy loam, is at the northern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands where the ultra-cool marine influenced climate and porous, mountainside soils provide ideal conditions for growing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which Morgan makes, plus this Riesling. The 2018 touts some traditional Riesling flavors of key lime and lemon verbena along with a touch of apricot, green apple and some heightened aromatics with jasmine, clove, orange blossom and hint of honey as well as some contrasting savory and saline elements, wet rock, wild mint and camomile on the light to medium bodied palate. Enjoy this as a porch pounder, a summer sipper and or with a beach picnic, but for even more interesting results this new Double L Riesling should be matched up with some spicy cuisine, like Vietnamese or Thai as well as seafood dishes that have some heat to them. I’d even suggest trying this beautiful fruit driven Riesling with chili shrimp dishes and or street food, especially tacos and hot sauce laced items as it adds a cool comfort. Morgan’s 2018’s have started off with a bang with their Rosé of Grenache, Albarino and this Riesling all being classy and exciting efforts, and be sure also to check out their 2017 Double L Chardonnay and 2017 G17 Syrah, they are fabulous too, keep an eye out for them.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive