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Morlet Family Vineyards Debuts

Luc Morlet grew up working on his family’s domaine, Pierre Morlet & Fils, in Avenay-al-d’Or, Champagne. His father, Pierre, is apart of a fifth generation winegrower family. Upon moving to the Napa Valley fourteen years ago, Luc was hired as head winemaker at Peter Michael where he worked from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, his brother, Nick Morlet replaced him at Peter Michael, and he embarked on his own label with his wife Jodie. His winemaking approach is New World, crafting wines less in the French style and more in the California rich and intense mode.

No expense is spared in the crafting of his Pinot Noirs. He sources fruit from carefully situated vineyards in he Sonoma Coast, all hand picked and sorted. Following hand sorting, he uses a special machine he patented called “The Sorter” to further select out only the finest berries. The wines are coopered in 100% French oak and bottled in very heavy glass with long, expensive corks. Morlet’s wines are known for their superb aromatics and he has been called “an olfactory genius.”

The premier release of Morlet Family Vineyards wines includes three Pinot Noirs, one Bordeaux-styled white wine (“La Proportion Doree”) and one Syrah (“Bouquet Garni”) from the 2006 vintage. The three Pinot Noirs are quite similar in style and flavor and all are very polished.

2006 Morlet Family Vineyards “Coteaux Nobles” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 350 cases, $75. · Sexy and generous aromas of black raspberry jam with an oak veil. Darkly fruited, slightly jammy blackberry and black cherry fruit with a little earth and mineral streak. Juicy, succulent and richly layered, this Pinot Noir is a decadent example of the varietal that will find many fans.

2006 Morlet Family Vineyards “En Famille” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 100 cases, $85. · Like all three wines, this one is dark purple in color. A sappy aromatic core with a hint of heat. Packed with raspberry and cherry fruit that is muscular but not harsh, flamboyant but not over the top. Svelte tannins and a vivid, lengthy finish.

2006 Morlet Family Vineyards “Joli Coeur” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 100 cases, $90. · Starts off with a gorgeous nose of fresh blackberry pie. There are layers of plush, soft and mouth-filling black cherry and blackberry fruit, complimented by tobacco, game, and forest floor. Deft oak lurks in the background. The fruit lingers on the finish for an eternity. Of the three wines, the fruit is showier here and if I had to choose, this would be my pick of the litter. This wine is for lovers of a hedonistic full-throttle style of Pinot Noir that startles with sensual pinotosity.

Morlet Family Vineyards wines are sold primarily through a mailing list. To sign up, visit the website at www.morletwines.com. 707-967-8690. Wines are crafted at Chateau Boswell in Napa. Luc is also the winemaker at Vineyard 7 & 8 on Spring Mountain in Napa Valley.

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