2010 Morlet Family Vineyards La Proportion Doree White Wine Sonoma County
Expert Ratings
RP 93+ points
ST 93 points
(Read the full reviews below)
 
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Luc Morlet and 4.15 stars out of 5! Luc Morlet's Homage to Haut-Brion Blanc

Almost twenty-five years ago, we attended our first Vinexpo in Bordeaux. If you've never been, it's the world's most overwhelming tasting, featuring thousands of exhibitors from all corners of the globe. As luck would have it, we weaseled our way into an invitation at a Chateau in Graves. Woefully underdressed, we arrived on the dot at eight. We'd never look back.

That evening, we were treated to what most consider the world's most ethereal white wine, an extravagant blend of juicy, small berry Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, from famed Haut-Brion. The vintage was 1985, a splendid year in Bordeaux, as much for the mineral whites of Graves as for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. The wine was pale golden in color, phenomenally rich, silken in texture, infused with endless layers of melon and apricot. 1985 Haut-Brion Blanc with the simply grilled foie gras of Sarlat was magical. It was a career defining moment.

But like so many things, too much of a great thing, while far too young to pay for a repeat performance, can be a source of great frustration. As we wouldn't grow up to be IT visionaries with names like Jobs, Ellison, Gates or Bezos, we'd never again swirl a glass of $500/bottle Haut-Brion Blanc, accompanied by the foie gras de Sarlat. Still, the indelible olfactory memory of that evening in Graves both thrills us -- and haunts us. If only we'd been born with 20 more IQ points and had learned C++ in our twenties...

Not surprisingly, we're not the only wine enthusiasts on the planet to be stunned by the piercing opulence, and luscious purity of the barrel-fermented marriage of manicured Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. In the red grape hillsides outside of Bouzy, a young Champenois was 'treated' to a like experience while in his late teens. The garcon, the region would soon learn, had been born with a perfumer's nose, and was already carrying out elaborate assemblages in his father's cellar. But when a very young Luc Morlet first tasted Haut-Brion Blanc, a new light went off, one that would never be extinguished. Almost two decades later, after a brilliant stint with Sir Peter Michael, Morlet would return to his childhood memory, fashioning what most believe to be the most luscious, ethereal white wine on the coast. It's called Proportion Doree.

Since the first release in 2006, no American white -- not made from Chardonnay -- has so wowed both The Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer. Curiously, even as the palates of the two critics are often thought to be polar opposites, their scores remain unusually aligned. The Advocate is presumably seduced by the stunning lushness of Morlet's blend, by the golden hue, and Haut-Brion-like richness. Tanzer, on the other hand, was overcome by the riveting zest of Proportion Doree, by its saline minerality, great vibrancy and age-worthy length.

Each vintage since 2006, Luc has offered us a few cases of Proportion Doree. Not surprisingly WineAccess members have echoed the opinions of The Advocate and Tanzer, dropping an average of 4.15 stars out of five on the 2006-2009.

But if the previous vintages were superb, the 2010 we tasted yesterday at Luc and Jodie's new winery on Highway 29, is in a different class. The coolest summer on record allowed Morlet to nurse both Sauvignon and Semillon to perfect ripeness without sacrificing a gram of acidity. When we asked Luc if he felt he'd finally reached the heights of the Haut-Brion Blanc of his childhood, the guy we call "The Nose" just laughed. "Pas encore. Mais pas aussi loin que ca!" ("Not yet. But not so far off.")


Tasting Notes

2010 Morlet Family Vineyards La Proportion Doree White Wine Sonoma County
"The 2010 Proportion Doree (Semillon/Sauvignon) is striking. It possesses more minerality, verve and backbone. Orange peel, tangerine, mint and sweet spices are some of the nuances that flow from this beautifully delineated white. This is a gorgeous white wine. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022."
93+ points -- Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

"(64% semillon, 34% sauvignon blanc and 2% muscadet): Pale, bright gold. Captivating, sauvignon-dominated aromas of juniper berry, oyster shell and honeysuckle, plus a light fusel quality. Very ripe and honeyed; in fact, almost chardonnay-like in its richness and texture. But still quite primary today, combining the phenolic qualities of semillon with the acid zest from the sauvignon blanc. Finishes broad, lush and very dry, with excellent subtle length. Morlet suggests pairing this wine with foie gras or sea urchin."
93 points -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar


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