2019 Morgan Winery, Dry Riesling, Double L Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
Honestly I had planned on drinking this one ages ago, but I’m thrilled with how it has aged and it shines with true Riesling character and mineral intensity, as well as gaining an earthy and old school petrol fumes note that made this one a really hard guess at a recently blind tasting. Salty crisp and nicely aromatic, this lightly hued pale gold Riesling is bone dry and still pumps out tons of acidity, it is very much a Trocken style wine with zesty layers of tangerine, unripe peach, quince and mango fruits, along with wet stones, wild herbs, rosewater and verbena notes, in a tight lean package. Morgan Winery owner Dan Lee, his daughters, and winemaker Sam Smith, as mentioned in prior reviews, have raised their game here, with an outstanding lineup of wines and this very limited edition Dry Riesling 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, which Smith has also taken to the next level.
This impressive 2019 vintage Dry Riesling bottling by Morgan Winery was from, as winemaker Sam 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. As mentioned, In recent years, California Riesling has truly come of age and competes well with any old world regions with many world class bottlings, as this Double L Estate Dry Riesling by Morgan shows. Examples 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, are all very worthy wines to explore as well. This 2019 will be hard to impossible to find at this point, but in case anyone has some bottles put away, they will be happily rewarded when they twist the top here, I high recommend checking out the newer releases of Morgan’s Rieslings, both the dry version and the Kabinett level, slightly off dry classic.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive