2019 Morgan Winery, Pinot Noir, Double L Vineyard “Morgan LT” Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County.
I was given a preview of Morgan’s club release of their limited LT Clone Pinot from the estate Double L Vineyard and I was highly impressed by this wine’s composure and elegance already for such a young wine, bravo to owner Dan Lee and head winemaker Sam Smith on crafting an outstanding and nuanced Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot. The inviting color is vividly ruby and garnet in classic Pinot Noir fashion and the nose is delicately floral and with aromas of red berry fruit and subtle French oak toastiness that leads to a very satiny smooth medium to full bodied palate of black raspberry, plum and round cherry fruits along with a background of tea spices, vanilla, sassafras and wilted rose petals. The mouth feel is sensational and creamy, thanks to the deft winemaking and the perfect nature of this vintage, making for an impeccably balanced and graceful Pinot Noir, the joy of this LT (La Tache clone) is its purity and supple opulence. Smith has done a masterful job of letting the year and the place shine through here, it is neither fussy or over the top, and it should fill out further and gain depth with some extra cellaring. Morgan’s lineup of Chardonnay and Pinots are now among the best in the region, in particular the Double L small batch single clone bottlings, which are fabulous and uniquely distinct, with their Clone 96 Chard and this LT Pinot being favorites of mine.

Morgan’s estate Double L Vineyard is located in the cool zone of the Santa Lucia Highlands at the northern end of the AVA on the hardened clay, Chualar loam and sandy decomposed granite soils, this organic site’s unique north-south row orientation provides optimal wind and sun exposure for full flavor development and ripeness, which especially shows in these latest Pinot releases, like this one. The Clone LT, which refers to one of the most celebrated Pinot Noir vineyards in Burgundy, of course and as noted above, meaning the famed La Tache Grand Cru, was grafted into a small block at the top of Double L Vineyard from suitcase cuttings. To achieve the best results and in keeping with Morgan’s silky house style, winemaker Sam Smith, went with grapes that were 100% de-stemmed and ultra careful hand sorting, leaving the individual grapes intact and kept cold. Then he allowed the native yeasts to began the whole berry fermentation in open top tanks, which has added to the gorgeous textural quality in this LT Pinot. This small lot saw a gentle manual punch downs regime to give this beautifully crafted wine its pigment and soft tannin extraction. After primary was finished the wine was racked to a combination of medium and medium-plus toast Burgundy barrels, of which 35% were new, for the secondary or malos and elevage, with the aging period lasting about ten months in the oak. This very entertaining and smooth wine will continue to develop over the next 3 to 5 years, though delicious now, patience looks to bring even more rewards.
($65 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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