2022 Morgan Winery, Pinot Noir, Dijon Clones, Double L Estate Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The beautifully ripe, aromatic and brightly exciting in the glass, this dark ruby Dijon Clones Double L Pinot Noir from Morgan is a special 3 barrel cuvée made from clones 777 and 667, hence the name, and made with about 25% whole cluster, making it a standout in the latest set of wines from this famous Monterey winery. The palate is bursting with racy red fruits, with spiced raspberry, black cherry, wild plum, pomegranate and red currant leading the way along with briar peppery notes, sweet toast oak, crushed florals, orange tea, cola bean, porcini earthiness and vanilla accents, all wrapped in a silky textured medium body, but with a nice sense of fine acidity. The Dijon clones, originally selected by the University of Dijon in Burgundy, and certified by UC Davis, became hugely popular in the 1990s and 2000s, as the Morgan Winery explains, due to their early ripening, disease resistance, and balanced yields. Going on, winegrower Dan Lee says, that in general, their Double L Estate version of clone 667 tends to show lots of dark fruit, while their 777 tends to be a bit redder in fruit tone. As per normal in the SLH and noted by Lee both clones and Pinot in general have lots of deep fruit concentration, brambly spice, with beautiful rose and violet floral aromatics and texture, as this wine shows. The inner energy and exotic nature of this wine definitely sets it apart and it is an awesome example of terroir driven Pinot that will go great with an array of cuisine choices from salmon to dust breast.

Coming from all organic vines set on what Morgan calls clayey Chualar Loam, granitic based sandy soils in one of the coolest zones in the breezy Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2022 Dijon Clones Pinot Noir was crafted by owner Dan Lee and winemaker Sam Smith with the mentioned 25% whole bunches and was aged for close to 11 months in French oak barriques with close to 40% new wood used to allow transparency of flavors, while still maintaining the luxurious style of the winery. The Double L Estate Vineyard, one of the most intriguing sites in the region, has, as Lee explains been conscientiously farmed since the original plantings were out in back in 1997, adding that today the Double L Estate Vineyard is the only certified organic vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The estate vines are located at the colder northern end of the AVA, the vineyard’s north-south row orientation provides optimal wind and sun exposure and sees an interesting selection of varietals and clonal material with some proprietary Burgundy clone Pinot selections, some beautiful Chardonnay, with their clone 96 being a personal favorite, and some seriously good Riesling, which is done in dry and off-dry styles and rivals the best in the state. Being a local to the Monterey region and very proud of our local history, it’s great to see Morgan reach new levels of quality and their latest releases are thrilling wines and I’m very excited to see their soon to be bottled 2023 Rieslings, Albariño and Rosé, which I hear are going to be some of the best yet, and later in the year the Chards and Pinots, again which look to be outstanding!
($75 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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