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‘Cotes du Crows’ Monterey
United States, California, Monterey
Dan Morgan Lee got the wine "bug" while pursuing a veterinary degree at UC Davis. After completing his graduate studies in enology, he accepted a winemaker position at Jekel Vineyards, a brand new winery in Monterey County -- then a relatively unknown grape growing area. His intent was to stay long enough to bolster his resume, then head north to Napa or Sonoma. Fast forward three decades: Morgan Winery, which Dan and his wife Donna founded in 1982, is now mentioned alongside the pioneering growers and producers who saw the potential of Monterey County long before the world recognized it as one of the top sites Burgundy varieties in California.
After serving his "apprenticeship" at Jekel, Dan aspired to craft his own label. He shared this vision with a banker he met at a trade association luncheon. In addition to becoming his business advisor, that banker would also become Dan's wife. In 1982, Dan and Donna purchased their first grapes and barrels and started Morgan Winery in a small, leased facility. Both kept their "day jobs" for a number of years. Morgan earned early acclaim, and over the years became one of the Central Coast's most recognized labels. After sourcing grapes from other vineyards for 15 years, Dan & Donna invested in their belief in the Santa Lucia Highlands with the purchase of a 65 acre property in 1996. The vineyard was developed and named "Double L" ("Double Luck" in honor of the couple's twin daughters). Now considered one of the best know vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Double L is certified sustainable and organic.
The 65 acre property of Morgan Winery is on a southeastern facing "bench" of the Santa Lucia mountain range, sloping from 150" to 550' elevation and the vines are 18 years old on average. Prior to purchase in 1996, the ranch was used for cattle grazing and row crop production (sugar beets, dry beans). At the time of purchase, the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA had very recently been established and was relatively unknown. The soils on the ranch were weak, depleted of nutrients; Dan's interest in responsible farming led to the Double L's organic certification in 2001. The vineyard now holds a Sustainability in Practice Certification and a USDA National Organic Certification.
The soil is comprised of sandy & shaly loam.
The grapes are sourced from vineyards around Monterey County, from vines that are 20 years old on average. The grapes are hand harvested each season, with 3.5 tons/acre harvested on average.
At the winery, the grapes are destemmed and gently pressed to start the fermentation. A mix of 50% selected yeast and 50% ambient yeast is used during fermentation, which lasts 8 days. Throughout this time the wine is maintained in small, open-top tanks with regular punch downs that are performed by hand. Total Sulfite count is 20 mg/L. There is minimal filtration and no fining prior to aging.
The wine is aged for 10 months in 60 gallon French oak barrels, and an additional 4-10 months in bottle prior to release.
A rich ruby red color, highlighted with purple edges. Raspberry jam, cedar, and fig paste aromas jump out of the glass. The wine is medium-bodied with soft tannins, offering a mouthful of brableberry and black cherry.