What I’m drinking now: Morgan Cotes du Crow’s 2016

One of my favorite categories of wine is a nebulous thing called ‘summertime grilling reds’ which is a catch-all for red wines that happen to be in my hand while I fire up the Weber. But every once in awhile a wine stands out as so utterly delicious and awesome that I rush out and stock up for the season.

This is one of those wines.

Morgan Winery specializes in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and is making some of the best in California, hands down no questions asked. Their home base is the Santa Lucia Highlands, a magical hillside of land that has been called, accurately, “the Cote d’Or of California.” (Look for an upcoming Santa Lucia Highlands class to prove the point.)

But Dan Morgan Lee also plays with Rhône varieties, and for many years has been making a little gem on the side called Cotes du Crow’s, playing off the wines of the Cotes du Rhône. But breaking from the Rhône recipe a bit he also throws in a touch of Tempranillo, the great Spanish grape, for spicy and earthy tones.

The 2016 Morgan Cotes du Crow’s is simply spectacular, with a big core of red-black fruit aromas (active, very forward, jumping out of the glass), mellow pepper and spice, and a nice lift of acidity at the end. In terms of food, this has been my go-to wine for anything off the charcoal grill: barbecue, burgers, roasted chicken, and more. Hint: chill it down a bit, especially if drinking outside on a summer day. I actually keep mine in the fridge at all times and simply pour a glass about 15 minutes before I’m about to enjoy it.

I buy my Morgan Cotes du Crow’s at Thomas Liquors in St. Paul, and you can find it at many independent fine wine retailers. For specific stores near you, call their distributor (Bourget Imports) at 651-224-2620 and tell them where you live, and they can lead you to a retailer that has recently ordered it.

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