2014 Morgan "Highland" Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
*Editors' Choice* An amazing wine for less than $30, this bottling by veteran Winemaker Dan Lee starts with tightly wound aromas of dried yogurt, Meyer lemon peel, honeysuckle and Asian-pear flesh. Great grapefruit-pith flavors kick off the sip, where lime juice and baking soda combine for a tight, bright, grippy, laser-focused and high-toned palate. (MK)
*One Star & Good Value* Never flamboyant, but still fairly rich and showing a measure of complexity that runs from its compact, deftly oaked, green apple aromas into its nicely composed flavors, this moderately full, very well-balanced youngster smacks of seriousness in a way that few Chardonnays of its price do. It is lively and lasting with very clear potential for aging, yet it is not so tight that it cannot be enjoyed in the shorter term with richer seafoods.
Pale gold. High-pitched Meyer lemon, green apple and floral aromas develop a zesty mineral note in the glass. Tangy and precise on the palate, offering bitter citrus zest and pear skin flavors that pick up a quinine nuance with air. Shows a hint of smokiness on the dry, nervy finish, which lingers with good, stony tenacity. (JR)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another top tier value is the 2014 Chardonnay Highland, which comes all from the Santa Lucia Highlands and was mostly barrel-fermented and aged in 25% new oak. It has notable richness and toastiness, with lots of caramelized apple, crushed rock and spice aromatics. Medium-bodied, pure, balanced and with bright acidity, it's a high quality Chardonnay to enjoy over the coming 2-3 years. (JD)
Pale gold. High-pitched Meyer lemon, green apple and floral aromas develop a zesty mineral note in the glass. Tangy and precise on the palate, offering bitter citrus zest and pear skin flavors that pick up a quinine nuance with air. Shows a hint of smokiness on the dry, nervy finish, which lingers with good, stony tenacity. These fruit-driven, generous, accessible wines are mostly built for early enjoyment but the reds also have the concentration and tannic structure to reward at least mid-term aging. I’ve found that Morgan’s Pinot Noirs usually drink well until their seventh birthdays, at least, and the Syrahs will no doubt go even farther although, like most examples of that variety from the Santa Lucia Highlands, they’re in no way forbidding when young. Dan Morgan Lee planted his first vines in the region on a 65-acre property at the northern border of the appellation in 1997 and that property, the Double L Vineyard, now comprises 97 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, plus microscopic plots of Syrah and Riesling. The Morgan lineup is rounded out with wines made from fruit purchased from three of the region’s most esteemed vineyards, Rosella’s, Garys’ and Tondre Grapefield. (JR)
Fresh and snappy, like biting into a green apple, with pithy apple peel, citrus, lanolin and floral scents. Retains a lively personality through the clean, lingering finish. (JL)