Fans of California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would be wise to check out two new arrivals from Morgan Vineyards out of Santa Lucia Highlands: the 2014 Highland Chardonnay ($23.99) and 2014 Twelve Clones Pinot Noir ($29.99). The Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH for short) is one of the premier cool climate growing regions for high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California. It’s east-facing mountainside vineyards and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean combine to make for these ideal growing conditions. Because of the vineyards’ higher elevation, they are able to take advantage of the morning sun for optimum ripening. Later in the day the vines are cooled by the ocean breeze and fog that rolls through the Salinas Valley, which allows for the development of complex flavors.
The Highlands Chardonnay is delicious, with flavors of nectarine, apple, a touch of grapefruit and light, toasty oak on the palate. A portion of the wine undergoes a secondary malolactic fermentation, which adds a creamy, buttery texture.
The Twelve Clones Pinot Noir is sourced from some of the top vineyard sites in SLH and is whole-berry fermented with native yeasts then aged in French oak for just under one year. The wine is incredible, showing both power and finesse, a characteristic only seen in the finest of Pinot Noirs.
Both of these bottlings have already received rave reviews. Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded the Chardonnay a whopping 93 points and the Pinot Noir scored 91. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate also had great things to say, noting the highlands as a “high quality Chardonnay to enjoy over the coming 2-3 years” and the Twelve Clones Pinot Noir as “well made” with “plenty to like.”
These wines are currently available in select ABC stores throughout the state. Next time you’re in the mood for a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, be sure to check these out. You will not be disappointed. Cheers!
Dave Malone, Wine & Spirits Sales Manager
Follow me on Twitter @ABCWineDaveM