Morlet Ma Douce Chardonnay 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
When Luc left France in 1996 to join his wife Jodie in her native California, his goal was to adapt the old world principles he knew so well to his new home. The Morlet style results in wines which are harmonious in their intensity, richness, complexity and refinement. Morlet wines clearly display personality, seamless character and graceful ageing capability.
In 2006, Luc and his wife Jodie began crafting wines, in limited quantities, from unique vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma County, under the Morlet Family Vineyards label. In 2010, the couple restored a pre-Prohibition winery located in the beautiful St. Helena appellation, as their family’s winery. With over 20 vintages under his belt, and with his own zest for innovation, Luc uses century old principles and classic Burgundy and Bordeaux methods adapted to California’s natural conditions. Passionate for both the expression of terroir, as well as for the continuous pursuit of ultimate quality, Luc calls his winemaking philosophy ‘neo-classic laissez-faire without compromise.’
A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs all the way from the Mendocino County border, south to the San Pablo Bay. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the actual coastal vineyards, marked by marine soils, cool temperatures and saline ocean breezes—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, which are still heavily influenced by the Pacific but not quite with same intensity.
Contained within the appellation are the much smaller Fort Ross-Seaview and Petaluma Gap AVAs.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.