Visiting Monterey County Wine Country can present some challenges. The area is huge and getting to wineries can result in a lot of driving time. Fortunately, many wineries have established tasting rooms in and around Carmel, often several miles away from their winemaking facilities.
Morgan Winery is one of these. While the winery itself is in Salinas, in 2007 their tasting room called Taste Morgan was opened in the Crossroads Shopping Center just south of downtown Carmel and at the gateway to Carmel Valley.
The winery itself was actually founded a couple of decades earlier in 1982 by Daniel Morgan Lee and his wife Donna. Morgan is not only Daniel’s middle name but also his mother’s maiden name. Prior to founding Morgan, Dan graduated from UC Davis – he had planned on studying veterinary medicine but then discovered their wine program. After stints at Jekel Winery and Durney Vineyard, he and his former banker [now his wife] started their own label.
In 1996, they purchased property in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA that would become the Double L Vineyard, commemorating the Double Luck of having their twin daughters. Planted primarily to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this vineyard is certified organic and is the source of the winery’s estate bottlings. As a result, our tasting focused on these varietals, which is what Monterey County has built much of its reputation on. Morgan does produce some other wines as well and we were fortunate to taste of few of those too:
2021 Sauvignon Blanc – sourced from a few vineyards in the Arroyo Seco appellation: Cedar Lane, Ranch Ten, Riverbank and Zabala. Nice peach notes with a medium to long finish and medium mouth feel. Soft and tasty.
2021 Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay – a combination of Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards, including the Double L along with the Leavens and McIntyre Vineyards. Pleasant citrus nose with Meyer Lemon notes on the palate and a full mouth feel.
2021 Rosé of Grenache from Mission Ranch Vineyard, Arroyo Seco– a light nose with mixed berry and raspberry notes. Very slight hint of saltiness and a medium finish.
2020 Double L Chardonnay (Clone RR – Roger Rose) – from Morgan’s estate vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. White flower and jasmine nose. Asian pear, buttery notes. Big, ripe, creamy, full mouthfeel, long finish. Stunning example of what chardonnay can be.
2019 Double L Chardonnay- also from the estate vineyard. Pleasant mixed citrus nose and a fitting little brother to the Double L Chardonnay (Clone RR).
2019 Twelve Clones Pinot Noir – from a few Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards: Double L, Leaven, Boekenoogen, Tondré, and Rosella’s. Light color, classic Pinot Noir. Ripe, red berry fruit notes. Light and delicate on palate.
2019 Tondré Pinot Noir – from the Tondré Grapefield Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Red stone fruit notes. Big mouth feel, medium to long finish.
2019 Double L Pinot – from the Estate vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. White pepper notes, a touch of smoke, firm structure, supple and subtle.
2020 Tempranillo – from the Riverbank Vineyard, Arroyo Seco. Raisin notes with a big, smooth mouth feel. Velvety and elegant.
The tasting room is roomy, comfortable and very inviting. There are options of tasting at the bar, or enjoying window seating or at a table. Outside seating is also available. The tastings were served in individual carafes so you can enjoy at your own pace.
Taste Morgan is definitely worth a visit next time you are in the Carmel area.
Taste Morgan www.morganwinery.com/Visit-Us/Taste-Morgan
204 Crossroads Boulevard
Carmel, California 93923
Michael and Karen Perlis have been pursuing their passion for wine for more than 30 years. They have had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show them the way and after a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as they possibly could, they had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Michael and Karen do their best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers.