2021 Morgan Winery, Pinot Noir, Rosella’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
Ever since Morgan hired winemaker Sam Smith and from the 2018 vintage, Dan Lee’s famous Monterey winery has taken off with an outstanding series of wines, especially the Pinot and Chardonnays, which have reached a whole new level of quality, with these 2021 taking it even further. This 2021 Morgan Rosella’s Vineyard is deeply hued and wonderfully lush on the opulent palate with classic Santa Lucia Highlands dark fruit, intense color and brambly spice, it shows off black cherry, raspberry, plum and black fig, along with cola bean, vanilla, tea spice and candied orange peel. From vines located in the well-drained sandy loamy foothills above the Salinas Valley, the Santa Lucia Highlands allows for deeply flavored, but vibrant wines with the stuffing to age. The cool afternoon breezes and coastal fog sucking into the valley from the Monterey Bay results, as the winery and locals know, in the region having one of the longest growing seasons in North America, adding to the complexity and concentration, especially here at Rosella’s. The steady growing season in 2021 really played into the hands of the winemakers here in the SLH and Morgan made the most of it, I highly recommend this one, as well as all the thrilling Double L versions, including the rare single clone RC and LT bottlings.

Rosella’s Vineyard was planted by Gary and Rosella Franscioni, of Roar, back in 1996 and is now absolutely one of the most renowned estates in the appellation, along with all of Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni vineyards, with the Pisoni Estate being the ultimate within the SLH. This special vineyard, as Dan Lee, who has the Morgan Estate Double L Vineyard just down the road, notes, benefits from eastern exposure, strong marine influence, and sandy loam soil that allows good drainage that has encouraged the deep vine root system here, giving intensity and complexity of fruit. This famed terroir, Lee adds, produces wine with expressive aromatics and (a) supple texture on the palate, as this brilliant 2021 vintage shows. The winery says that the grapes, 100% Pisoni clone, were 100% de-stemmed after a careful hand sorting, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, and fermented with native yeast in open top tanks. After the primary fermentation, they pressed and racked the Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir to medium plus toast French wood, using about 40% new Burgundy oak barrels, for malo-lactic fermentation and close to 11 months of aging before bottling. Smith and Lee, here at Morgan, have a awesome set of Pinots to show off from 2021, I suggest not missing any and all of them! Morgan is one of Monterey’s leading lights and the current lineup is rocking, with the outstanding Pinots, the Chards, the Syrahs and the Tempranillo, there is tasty treats to be found.
($75 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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