#10: The 2012 Morlet Family ‘Coeur de Vallee’ Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Spectrum’s #10 Wine of 2015

2012 Morlet Family ‘Coeur de Vallee’ (Inquire HERE)

Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Napa Valley

Wine Spectrum Rated 97+:  Deep purple. Intense and complex bouquet of red, black and blue berries intermixed with notes of cassis, Quesch plum, blond tobacco and a hint of black pepper. Full bodied, the palate is reminiscent of the nose, with a creamy texture and beautiful depth. The silky tannins and complex aromas create a harmonious ensemble, leading to a very long and smooth finish. This early charming, generous and collectible wine is particularly representative of this unique vineyard site. Coeur de Vallee features the interaction of the clayish yet well-drained gravelly volcanic soil, the site’s micro-climate and the low-interventionistic Morlet winemaking approach.

Robert Parker Rated 97: Luc Morlet’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Coeur de Vallée is a 300-case blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc from the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard. A mindblowing effort, it offers up notes of mocha, forest floor, blueberries, blackcurrants, asphalt and licorice. Full-bodied and opulent, this sensational 2012 is one of the vintage’s superstars. It should drink well for 20 years.

Luc helping his father with the plowing in Aÿ-Champagne, France. Image from Morlet Wines.
Luc helping his father with the plowing in Aÿ-Champagne, France. Image from Morlet Wines.

Luc Morlet is a 5th generation winemaker from Epernay France. He grew-up playing and learning about the technical practices of winemaking from the vineyard to the bottle at his family’s domain, Pierre Morlet & Fils, in Avenay-Val-d’Or, Champagne France.

Luc studied enology, viticulture and wine business at universities throughout France. In 1988, during graduate school, Luc began a wine journey that would take him throughout the classical wine regions of France, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, and the Southwest of France as well as touring throughout some of the top regions in Europe.

In 1996 Luc came to California, not solely for wine, but for his “sweetheart” Jodie, whom he later married.  In the Spring of ’96 Luc began working with John Kongsgaard at Newton Cellars and later that year took over head of winemaking for Newton, crafting the highly rated and famous Newton ‘Unfiltered’ Chardonnay.  He also worked closely with superstar consultant Michel Rolland to create the first Bordeaux style red wine from Newton the ’99 Le Grand Vin.

After leaving Newton, Luc joined the winemaking team at Peter Michael in 2001. Following in the foot steps of Helen Turley and Mark Aubert, Luc did not skip a beat and helped escalate Peter Michael to one of the top names in CA.  In 2006 Luc decided to join his wife and create their own wine label and Morlet Family wines was created. The goal at Morlet Family Vineyards is to create powerful yet refined wines from meticulously farmed vineyards and classical, low-interventionious winemaking techniques.

Luc has over 30 vintages of winemaking experience under his belt. He continues to work as consulting winemaker for Peter Michael where his brother Nicolas Morlet currently heads the winemaking operations. As well as heads winemaking at several estate throughout Napa Valley including Bure Family, Chateau Boswell and other.

“By taking old world principles and adapting them to California, the Morlet style results in wines which are harmonious in their intensity, richness, complexity and refinement.”

morlet-family-vineyards“This is one of the up-and-coming superstar producers in Northern California. Owned by Luc Morlet, who comes from a French family that has long been making wines in Champagne, and who cut his Napa Valley teeth first for Newton and later Peter Michael. His American wife, Jodie, assists Luc Morlet, who still does consulting work at Peter Michael, although it is brother Nick who runs the show at Peter Michael from a winemaking perspective. The debut vintage for the Morlet Family Vineyards was 2006, and they have hardly missed a beat since then in turning out sumptuous Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Bordeaux-based blends, smaller proportions of a killer Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend, and a Cote Rotie-like Syrah….The wines from this small boutique winery are not to be missed.” – Robert Parker

It’s that time of year again…

…when everyone publishes their top cars, movies, books, TV shows, and wines of the year. Wine Enthusiast (#1 San Felice 2011 Il Grigio Gran Selezione Chianti Classico) revealed theirs, and Wine Spectator (# 1 Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Au Paradis’) unveiled theirs. Now it’s time to release ours.

Over the next few weeks we will be releasing our lists of the top wines that we tasted in 2015. We took the thousands of wines that we tasted and narrowed it down to the best of the best. Our rankings are based upon our staff’s ratings during tastings, as well as popularity with our clients.  Lucky for us – and you – most are currently available.

Q. Why should I pay attention to the Wine Spectrum score?

A. The reason is simple. We taste and score wines with our entire sale’s team – the owner, the wine buyer, the sales manager, and all of our sale’s advisors. It’s not only one person’s opinion and rating of the wine, but a total average of the whole tasting panel. That adds up to  decades of combined tasting experience to ensure that we bring only the BEST wines to our clients. 

It is because of this and many other factors that our clients have come to respect our score and use it to help determine what wines they want to procure for their cellars and display on their tables. At Wine Spectrum you get a much better representation of how people will ENJOY a wine.

2015 wines of the year release schedule


December Schedule

12/10: #10#9, and #8 ranked wines

12/11: #7#6, and #5 ranked wines

12/14: #4 and #3 ranked wines

12/15: #2 ranked wine

12/16: #1 ranked wine

12/18: #11 – #25 ranked wines

12/21: #26 – #50 ranked wines

12/21: 2015 Winemaker of the Year

12/22: #51 – #75 ranked wines

12/23: #76 – #100 ranked wines

January Schedule

1/4: Top Chardonnay’s of the Year

1/7: Top Pinot Noir’s of the Year

1/11: Top Cabernet Sauvignon’s of the Year

1/14: Top Other Domestic Red’s of the Year

1/18: Top International Wines of the Year

1/21: Top Wines of the Year under $60


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