Morgan “Twelve Clones” Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir review

20 04 2013

Today we look at a 2011 pinot noir from California’s Santa Lucia Highlands (“SLH”) region, which I picked up at Total Wine for $26.  List price is $32.

California’s SLH grows mostly pinot noir.  On the bright side, these wines are “big, fleshy and mouthfilling,” says the San Francisco Chronicle.  But to me, they are too hot (high in alcohol), too fruity and tannic, and often taste burned.  An example:  the inexplicably expensive Siduri Sierra Mar, reviewed here.

In short:  I am biased against SLH pinot.

Morgan‘s “Twelve Clones” pinot is pleasantly spicy.  It has 14.3% alcohol, yet isn’t overly hot. It’s big: definitely not a see-through wallflower.  And it’s better than the Siduri, which was $45.  In fact, the Morgan may be the best SLH pinot I’ve tried.  It would be great with a blazing-hot Hunan chicken dish or a pepper steak.

However, like all SLH pinots, it’s sort of a fruit bomb.  Seems like a blend, not a pinot noir.  I’m wondering, “what am I drinking?”  Too big, sticky-sweet and jammy, missing a classic pinot noir’s subtle layers of complexity.

I would be raving with praise at $14, because this is definitely good wine, but at $26 or the list price of $32:  Not recommended.




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