2021 Morgan Winery, Rosé of Grenache, Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County.
After a breezy, dusty and sun baked hike in Big Sur, we treated ourselves to an afternoon sip of refreshing and crisp Rosé at the Morgan tasting room in the Crossroads Shopping Center in Carmel and the winery was showing off their new 2021 release, which I think is the best edition of this dry Grenache version to date. Owner Dan Lee and winemaker Sam Smith can be proud of Morgan’s latest lineup, especially the limited release 2019 Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, which are all stunning wines, as well as their brilliant organic Double L Estate Syrah, a wine I will review soon, that is like this Rosé of Grenache, being maybe the best example the winery has done yet. The Grenache pink is more electric on the zesty palate and it is laser focused with ruby grapefruit, strawberry, sour cherry and spicy crushed raspberry fruits, accented nicely by herbs de Provence, steely mineral tones, rosewater, a subtle bubblegum note and briar notes. The 2021 is less fruity than the last two vintages, but still very flavorful with a pale and inviting pink and glowing salmon hue in the glass with a well balanced tanginess that rejuvenates your taste buds, it is absolutely delicious Rosé that shines with bright intensity and goes great with or without cuisine. There is enough range here to be a wonderful companion to steamed mussels in white wine with garlic or spicy tomato based broth.

The Grenache grapes for Morgan’s Rosé come the cooler west side of the Salinas Valley, in the Arroyo Seco Appellation that, as the winery points out, is uniquely characterized by an ancient riverbed (Arroyo Seco translates to “dry river”) that is surrounded by alluvial a benchland. These well-drained, stony, sandy loamy soils and the cool coastal influence from the nearby deep cold water of the Monterey Bay make for perfect growing conditions that allows for ripe concentration in the grapes, but still retaining vibrant natural acidity, which is really on display here in Morgan’s Rosé of Grenache. To make this wine, Smith used 100% Grenache that saw a short spell of skin contact to achieve the lovely color and seeing grapes dedicated solely to rosé production, they were picked at lower sugar readings and with higher acids. The Grenache was completely de-stemmed and left to macerate for one hour, then pressed to stainless steel tanks to ferment, after which the wine was aged in a combination of neutral French oak and stainless vat for just about 4 months before being quickly bottled to preserve the fresh and vivid details. This vintage, that is a single vineyard bottling, was sourced from the Mission Ranch Vineyard, helping give this Rosé a sense of place, it rivals some much more expensive Southern French versions, paying homage to Tavel, the Rhone’s main Rosé region and or Provence, where Rosé is taken ultra seriously! This tasty vintage will drink perfectly for the long and warm Summer days ahead, there’s a lot of fabulous California Rosé being made and this one is very exciting and a guiltless quaffer!
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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