2018 Morgan Winery, Dry Riesling, Double L Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The incredible limited bone dry version of Morgan Winery’s Double L Vineyard Riesling is deeply perfumed, vibrant and mineral driven, reminding me of some great Pfalz Trockens by Mueller-Catoir, Von Buhl, Rebholz, Bassermann-Jordan and the unoaked versions from Von Winning, as well as a few top Alsace versions! I love the main, slightly off-dry edition and I am highly impressed with all of Morgan’s 2018 wines, these are all next level wines, owner Dan Lee and winemaker Sam Smith have raised the game here and this two barrel Dry Double L Vineyard is an absolutely gorgeous wine. The organic Double L Vineyard, as noted by the winery, is at the northern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands where the ultra-cool climate and porous, mountainside soils provide ideal conditions for growing world-class Riesling, as well as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and even Northern Rhone style Syrah. Like the “Kabinett” style fruiter Double L Riesling, this Dry edition was from, as Smith notes, grapes that were foot stomped and left on the skins for 18 hours, then whole-cluster pressed, which adds extract and intensity, preserving freshness and bright fruit character, with a cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks, after which Smith racked some of the juice to just two neutral French oak barrels to finish fermentation. That final bit in barrel lasted about a month, just getting the wine to dry, reducing any remaining residual sugar and then bottled before any malos, to retain bright and vivid acidity, while allowing the wine to gain a textural charm, and the results are amazing in glass. This thrilling Riesling is drinking great, already a class act, but I am going to put a bottle or two away for a few years, I think it will age a decade or more with huge potential for further intrigue.
The brilliant clarity of form of this 2018 Dry Riesling is stunning, you will marvel at it’s pale hue with only the slightest of green and gold tint in the glass and be blown away with the depth of flavors and impact on the medium bodied palate, it has the feel of a bigger wine and its dry extract will appeal to red wine lovers. In recent years California Riesling has truly come of age and competes well with any old world regions with many world class bottlings, by producers like Tatomer, Cobb, Reeve, Joyce, Desire Lines, Stirm, Union Sacre and Scribe to name a few as well as long time quality stalwarts Stony Hill, Casa Nuestra, Chateau Montelena and Smith-Madrone. This Morgan dry Double L is crisp and tangy with Condrieu like aromatics with vivid floral elements like honeysuckle, jasmine and lime blossom leading the way to a saline and stony palate that opens to green apple, tart apricot, brisk lime and bitter melon fruits, along with wet chalk, minty herbs, citron/verbena, rosewater and peach pit. Sadly there is not going to be a lot of this outrageously good wine available, and you’ll have to contact Morgan directly to get this, as it is not even listed on their web store, but trust me it will be worth it, but also grab the regular off-dry offering, which I have reviewed earlier. Morgan is one of Monterey’s best family owned wineries and has a long history of crating pure regional wines, but with the addition of Sam Smith, these bottlings have taken a big step up, be sure to check the 2017 and 2018 vintages, especially the estate Double L Vineyard offerings from the Lee family’s SLH property, like their limited Pommard Clone Pinot, Clone 15 Chardonnay as well as there G17 Syrah, one of their best values, and certainly these Rieslings.
($25 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive