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View in Browser.'s July 15, 2023 Monthly Newsletter.

This month we had 92 winery updates and 61 wineries releasing wine.

Morlet Family Vineyards

After visiting VinExpo in Paris earlier this year, Luc Morlet of Morlet Family Vineyards connected with me and when I visited the US in June, I scheduled a tasting at Morlet.

Luc was born in Epernay Champagne to a fifth generation winegrower family and grew up working with Pinot Noir and Champagne at their domaine. Luc & Jodie Morlet started Morlet in 2006 and have been creating vineyard designated wines of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from the Napa Valley as well as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, a Proprietary white Bordeaux-style blend and a Late Harvest Semillon from Sonoma County. His early experiences involved working with Pinot Noir and Champagne at their family domaine, instilling in him a profound understanding and passion for the craft.

In 2006, Luc Morlet, alongside his wife Jodie, embarked on their winemaking journey by establishing Morlet Family Vineyards. Since then, they have dedicated themselves to creating vineyard-designated wines that showcase the unique terroir of the Napa Valley.

Nathalie, a gracious host and member of the Morlet team, welcomed me and my friends Randall and Gordon for a memorable tour and tasting at their impressive and historically significant property.

Stepping onto the Morlet estate, I was struck by the natural beauty that enveloped the vineyards. The meticulous care given to the grapevines was evident, as rows upon rows of vibrant green vines stretched out before us. Nathalie guided us through the estate, sharing insights about the winemaking process, the unique characteristics of the vineyard sites, and a few of Luc's wine making patents including a grape sorter and barrel emptying device.

Morlet wines tasted
Beautiful barrels.

Entering the tasting room, I was greeted by a warm and inviting ambiance. The attention to detail was evident in every aspect, from the elegant decor to the carefully arranged tasting glasses. Nathalie expertly poured the following wines; 2020 Ma Douce Chardonnay, 2019 Coteaux Nobles Pinot Noir, 2019 Sonoma County La Proportion Doree White Wine, 2014 Sonoma County Knights Valley Mon Chevalier Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Napa Valley Oakville Passionnement Cabernet Sauvignon and finishing with the 2011 Napa Valley Coeur de Vallee Red Wine providing us with a sensory journey that showcased the distinct flavors and textures of Morlet's offerings. From the bold and structured Cabernet Sauvignon to the delicate nuances of the Pinot Noir, they excel at producing unique wines.

Morlet wines tasted
Our tasting lineup.

Vino Sapiens Paris wine shop

A favorite wine tasting and wine shop in Paris is Vino Sapiens, located in the heart of my adopted city. It is renowned among locals and visitors alike for its exceptional selection of wines from various regions, specifically Burgundy, Rhone and Champagne. Stepping into Vino Sapiens, you are immediately greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere, with shelves lined with bottles of exquisite wines from all over the world. The knowledgeable and passionate staff at Vino Sapiens are always ready to offer recommendations and share their expertise. They possess a deep understanding of the nuances and characteristics of each wine, making it a delight to explore the extensive collection. Whether you're a seasoned wine connoisseur or a curious beginner, Vino Sapiens caters to all levels of expertise. One of the highlights of visiting Vino Sapiens is the wine tasting experience they offer. With a dedicated tasting area, complete with elegant glassware and a comfortable ambiance, it's the perfect setting to appreciate and savor the flavors of fine wines. The staff curates a rotating selection of white and red Burgundy wines for tastings, allowing patrons to explore the diverse range of flavors and profiles this region has to offer.

Morlet wines tasted
Geoffrey from Sapiens with a mini vertical of 2000 and 2001 La Tache.

At Vino Sapiens, they understand that wine appreciation should be accessible to everyone. My friends and I frequently visit and taste white and red Burgundy wines, and we try to taste different producers, appellations and vineyards with each tasting, although we have a few favorites at various price points as Sapiens specializes in wines at various price points, ensuring there's something for every budget. This allows visitors to discover new favorites without breaking the bank and encourages exploration of different styles and producers. If you're looking to enjoy a delightful wine tasting experience, Vino Sapiens in Paris is the perfect destination. It's a place where wine enthusiasts gather to indulge in the beauty of Burgundy wines, foster new discoveries, and create lasting memories with friends and fellow wine lovers.

Morlet wines tasted
The Sapiens outside space, too hot for us that day.


Last week we visited Croatia for a relaxing time at a rental along the beach. We dined at some excellent restaurants including Antika (Donja Kola 24, Stari Grad, Hvar Island 21460 Croatia) and tasted the best black squid ink and cuttlefish risotto I have ever had. Oh it was so good, drenched in squid ink. I make Arroz Negro and from now on, I will put 10x the amount of recommended squid ink. We also ordered a bottle of 2021 Grgic Posip wine from Grgic Winery, owned by Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford. A nice refreshing acidic white that went well with our meal.

Morlet wines tasted
One of the narrow streets in Hvar.

We also had great meals at; The story of winegrowing in Croatia is deeply intertwined with the country's rich history and diverse cultural influences. Croatia has a long tradition of winemaking, dating back thousands of years to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The geographical location of Croatia, with its varied microclimates and fertile soils, has provided an ideal environment for vine cultivation.

Historical records indicate that winemaking in Croatia began as early as the 5th century BC, when Greek settlers established colonies along the Adriatic coast. The Romans later recognized the viticultural potential of the region and expanded the cultivation of vineyards. They introduced new winemaking techniques and improved grape varieties, leaving a lasting influence on Croatian winemaking.

Croatia's diverse terroir, which includes coastal regions, islands, and inland areas, contributes to the production of a wide range of grape varieties and wine styles. The country boasts more than 130 indigenous grape varieties, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. These unique grape varieties have played a vital role in shaping Croatia's wine identity and distinguishing it from other wine-producing nations.

Today, wine tourism is flourishing in Croatia, with visitors flocking to the picturesque vineyards, cellar tours, and wine tastings. Many wineries have embraced modern winemaking techniques while honoring traditional practices, resulting in a dynamic and evolving wine scene.

And now, onto the wine releases...

July 2023 Wine Releases

  • Airfield Estates Winery; 2021 Yakima Valley Blanc de Noir Brut Cuvee Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier (657 cases, $42)
  • Aptos Vineyard; 2022 Santa Cruz Mountains All Rise Syrah Rose ($28)
  • Argyle Winery; 2021 Eola-Amity Hills Lone Star Vineyard Block 18 Pinot Noir ($65), 2019 Spirit Hill Blanc de Noirs ($60)
  • Arietta; 2021 Napa Valley Quartet Red Wine Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Petit Verdot ($80)
  • B. Kosuge Wines; 2021 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($35)
  • Backstage; 2022 Napa Valley Spotlight Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($50), 2021 Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Acapella Vineyard Zinfandel ($50)
  • Beckmen Vineyards; 2020 Santa Barbara County Petite Sirah ($48)
  • Benovia Winery; 2022 Russian River Valley Martaella Sauvignon Blanc ($48)
  • Big Basin Vineyards; 2020 Cienega Valley Wirz Vineyard Old Vine Riesling ($24), 2020 Santa Cruz Mountains Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir ($55), 2020 Santa Cruz Mountains Grizzly Grenache ($55)
  • Broc Cellars; 2022 North Coast White Zinfandel (229 cases, $28)
  • Calcareous Vineyard; 2021 Paso Robles Estate Syrah ($60)
  • Cameron Hughes Wine; 2022 Columbia Valley Lot 910 Sauvignon Blanc (500 cases, $11), 2019 Russian River Valley Lot 908 Chardonnay (125 cases $18)
  • Cooper Mountain Vineyards; 2021 Willamette Valley Old Vines Chardonnay ($40)
  • Cosa Obra; 2022 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($28)
  • Crowley Wines; 2021 Willamette Valley Eola Amity Sojeau Pinot Noir ($60)
  • Dablon Vineyards; 2022 Estate Blanc de Noir Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
  • Dashe Cellars ; 2021 Contra Costa County Jose Joaquin Vineyard Les Enfants Terribles Carignane ($34)
  • Dauntless Wine Co; 2022 Tualatin Hills Periscope Old 47 Estate Schönburger (170 cases, $25)
  • Di Arie Vineyard & Winery; 2020 Sierra Foothills Estate Grown Grenache (153 cases)
  • DiStefano Wines; 2021 Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($21)
  • Domaine Roy and fils; 2022 Willamette Valley Dundee Hills Iron Filbert Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir Rose ($44)
  • Donelan Family Wines; 2022 Rose ($35), 2018 Cushing's Block Pinot Noir ($85), 2021 Genevieve's Block Chardonnay ($100), 2018 Two Brothers Pinot Noir ($60), 2020 Nancie Chardonnay ($60), 2018 Christine Syrah ($60)
  • Elk Cove Vineyards; 2021 Willamette Valley Yamhill-Carlton Mount Richmond Chardonnay (468 cases, $50)
  • Fait-Main Wines; 2021 Napa Valley Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2021 Napa Valley Tierra Roja Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Flat Rock Cellars; 2021 Niagara Peninsula Flat Rock Vineyard Pinot Noir ($25), 2020 Twenty Mile Bench Gravity Pinot Noir ($40)
  • Giornata; 2022 Paso Robles Falanghina ($35), 2022 Paso Robles Fiano ($35), 2022 Paso Robles Vermentino ($35), 2022 Paso Robles Moscato Giallo ($35), 2022 Paso Robles Bianco Barbera ($35)
  • Grand Napa Vineyards; 2020 Napa Valley Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($135)
  • Hawley Wines; 2022 Russian River Valley Oehlman Vineyard Pinot Noir (450 cases, $58)
  • Hill Family Estate; 2019 Napa Valley Red Door Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Petit Verdot/Merlot ($98)
  • Hope & Grace; 2022 Sonoma County Russian River Valley R. Buoncristiani Ranch Pinot Noir Rose (100 cases, $32)
  • House of Smith; 2020 Royal City Syrah ($150)
  • Jaine; 2021 Royal Slope Solaksen Vineyard Chardonnay (93 cases)
  • King Family Vineyards; 2020 Monticello Mountain Plains White Blend Viognier/Chardonnay/Petit Manseng ($50)
  • Lynmar Estate; 2019 Sonoma County Russian River Valley Bliss Block Pinot Noir (130 cases, $89)
  • Marimar Torres Estate ; 2022 Sonoma County Russian River Valley Don Miguel Vineyard Godello ($42)
  • Martin Ray Winery ; 2022 White Press Pinot Noir, 2022 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc
  • Mazzocco Vineyards; 2019 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (1,051 cases, $30)
  • Miner Family Vineyards; 2019 Napa Valley The Oracle Red Wine Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Petit Verdot (2,612 cases, $150)
  • Moone-Tsai; 2021 Napa Valley Chardonnay (310 cases, $90), 2021 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (225 cases, $110)
  • Odette Estate; 2021 Napa Valley Los Carneros Reserve Chardonnay ($78)
  • Outpost Estate Wines; 2021 Zinfandel, 2021 Grenache
  • Parra Wine Co; 2022 Eola-Amity Hills Zenith Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Patland Estate Vineyards; 2018 Napa Valley Chardonnay (50 cases, $60)
  • PlumpJack Winery; 2022 Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay ($58)
  • Resonance; 2021 Willamette Valley Dundee Hills Decouverte Vineyard Chardonnay ($70)
  • Ridge Vineyards; 2020 Russian River Valley San Lorenzo Vineyard Zinfandel/Petite Sirah/Alicante Bouschet ($40)
  • Rucksack Cellars; 2022 Chenin Blanc (100 cases, $24)
  • Salvestrin Wine Company; 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (200 cases)
  • Scherrer Winery; 2019 Sonoma County Russian River Valley King Family Vineyard Pinot Noir (70 cases, $52), 2019 Sonoma County Green Valley Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir (70 cases, $80), 2018 Sonoma County Russian River Valley Sasha Syrah (215 cases, $40), 2018 Sonoma County Huntsman Red Wine Grenache/Syrah (125 cases, $42), NV Sonoma County Alexander Valley Zinfandoodle v.18.9 Zinfandel (780 cases, $24)
  • Silver Oak Cellars; 2019 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($100)
  • Southbrook Vineyards; 2020 Estate Merlot ($48), 2020 Estate Sol & Luna Merlot ($50), 2020 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($48), 2020 Estate Witness Block Cabernet Sauvignon ($48), 2020 Estate Petite Verdot ($48), 2020 Poetica Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petite Verdot/Cabernet Franc ($70)
  • Stag's Hollow Winery & Vineyard; 2022 Okanagan Falls Blanc de Noirs Pinot Noir (80 cases, $25)
  • Starfield Vineyards; 2022 El Dorado County Syrah Rose (392 cases, $34)
  • Stone Griffon Vineyard; 2018 Estate Tempranillo
  • Story Winery; 2021 Qvevri Chardonnay (50 cases), 2021 Qvevri Verdelho (50 cases), 2021 Qvevri Viognier (50 cases)
  • Talley Vineyards; 2022 Gruner Veltliner ($34)
  • Tank Garage Winery; 2022 California Acapulco Swim Club Skin-Contact White Wine Trousseau Gris/Grenache Blanc/Greco/Picpoul/Roussanne/Marsanne/Gewurztraminer (395 cases, $36), 2022 California Skateland Petillant-Nat Sparkling Rose Barbera/Chardonnay/Grenache/Mourvedre/Cinsault/Falanghina (469 cases, $42), 2021 California F&#$ Yeah Red Wine Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Barbera/Negrette/Montepulciano (375 cases, $68)
  • The Terraces at Quarry Vineyards; 2022 Estate Petillant Naturel Sparkling Wine Zinfandel ($48)
  • Thomas George Estates; 2017 Baker Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65), 2017 Cresta Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65), 2017 Starr Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65), 2017 Baker Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Chardonnay ($45), 2017 Cresta Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Chardonnay ($45), 2017 Starr Ridge Estate Single Vineyard Chardonnay ($45)
  • Truchard Vineyards; 2022 Napa Valley Carneros Roussanne ($30)
  • Winter's Hill Vineyard; 2021 Pearly Everlasting Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris/Chardonnay ($29)

August 2023 Wine Releases

  • Arista Winery; 2021 Banfield Vineyard Chardonnay, 2021 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay, 2021 Estate Pinot Noir, 2021 UV Lucky Well Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2021 UV Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2021 Joseph Swan Trenton Pinot Noir
  • Ceritas Wines; 2021 Carex Chardonnay, 2021 Porter Bass Chardonnay, 2021 Cuvée Chloe Pinot Noir, 2021 Hellenthal Old Shop Block Pinot Noir
  • Cobden Wini; 2020 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • Fisher Vineyards; 2019 Napa Valley Coach Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gallica; 2019 Napa Valley Oakville Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Franc
  • Grand Napa Vineyards; 2021 Napa Valley Los Carneros Pinot Noir ($90)
  • Jones Family Vineyards; 2019 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Lewis Cellars; 2021 Alec's Blend ($75), 2021 Petite Sirah ($80)
  • Liminal; 2021 Viognier, 2021 Grenache, 2021 High Canyon Syrah, 2021 GSM
  • San Juan Vineyards; 2020 Cattle Point Red Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot/Merlot, 2021 Barren Rock Red
  • Stone Griffon Vineyard; 2019 Petite Verdot
  • Villa Creek Cellars; 2021 High Road, 2021 Roussanne's Winery Newsletters and Mailing Lists Sign Up Page: Click here.

The following 92 winery information pages have been updated since June 22, 2023:

Wine Quote of the Month: "Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy. Sir Alexander Fleming, English Bacteriologist

Till next month.

Neil Monnens

Special thanks to the following sponsors of Arbios Cellars, Bacio Divino, Bonaccorsi Wine Company, Cellars33, Gamba Vineyards and Winery, Herb Lamb Vineyards, Lucia Vineyards, Parry Cellars, Rocca Family Vineyards, School House Vineyard, Snowden Vineyards, Selene Wines, Seven Stones Winery, Stein Family Wines, Steltzner Vineyards and VIADER Vineyards & Winery. They help make WineRelease possible.

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