One of the great project wineries you may have not heard of yet out of Walla Walla, Morell-Pena is the brainchild of talented Washington winemaker, Aryn Morell and his wife, Edith, first started in 2014. The idea was to focus on limited production Chardonnay and Pinot Noir — a wonderfully unique concept in the state. As many of you know, Aryn Morell has become one of the state’s most prolific winemakers, making wine for Matthews, Ardor, Tenor and his own label, Alleromb. Aryn and Edith have thoughtfully chosen to name their Chardonnay bottlings after their daughters, Gemma, Ysabella and Camylla and crafting each wine after their own individual personalities.
Up there with the best sparkling wine out of Washington that I have sampled this year, the 2017 Morell-Pena ‘Blanc de Blancs’ Sparkling Wine (WWB, 91) shows racy acidity and bright citrus tones. This is a striking effort that showcases the Morell’s impressive arsenal of of winemaking. I really enjoyed all of his new Chardonnay releases, rating all at 92 points or exceptional, all of which were true to the style of wine that Aryn was attempting to create. The best wine I tried was whimsically named the 2015 Morell-Pena ‘The Royal Bull$#!+) Syrah (WWB, 93) which shows wonderful range and earthy terroir that is delicious now but will age well for a decade. Learn more about this fantastic winery at https://www.morell-pena.com Here are the great new wines by Morell-Pena.
2017 Morell-Pena ‘Blanc de Blanc’ Sparkling Wine- This was aged for three months in concrete prior to bottling, as this is a zero dosage bottling. The wine shows lovely citrus tones on the nose with kumquat and lemon rind shining brightly. This has wonderful astringency and is wonderfully refreshing. White flower, kumquat and wonderful acidity shines. This is up there with the best in the state. Drink 2018-2022- 91
2017 Morell-Pena ‘Blanc de Noir’ Sparkling Wine- The 2017 Morell-Pena ‘Blanc De Noir’ Sparkling Wine shows a powerful nose with intense citrus and melon coming in. The wine shows a wonderful astringency and texture with really good weight. Wild strawberry, melon and citrus rind flavors come to mind. This is a serious Sparkling. Drink 2018-2022- 91
2017 Morell-Pena Chardonnay- Crafted in a fresher style, this Chardonnay begins with aromas of honeydew melon, poached pear and creme brûlée on the nose. The texture to the wine is truly outstanding with wonderful brightness and a long, lingering cream and citrus driven finish. This is seriously good for the price. Drink 2018-2024- 91
2015 Morell-Pena ‘Gemma Camaryn’ Chardonnay- This Chardonnay shows a deeper hue with aromas of vanilla cream, nutmeg and creme brûlée. The weight and balance to this wine is truly outstanding. Wonderfully rich, this natural wine shows a really good opulence and mouthfeel on the palate. Drink 2018-2026- 92
2016 Morell-Pena ‘Ysabella Bjork’ Chardonnay- This nose has wonderful vanilla cream, honeydew melon and citrus rind aromatics that build in the glass. The mouthfeel and balance to this wine is fantastic with vanilla cream, Meyer lemon zest and nutmeg. This has wonderful fruit weight on the mid-palate that entices. Drink 2018-2026- 92
2016 Morell-Pena ‘Camylla Loren’ Chardonnay- Showing a beautiful dark hue, this begins with aromas of wild mushroom and light earthy tones with wet stone and vanilla cream. This shows good intensity and minerality with a wonderful mouthfeel and excellent weight. This finishes strong with vanilla cream. Drink 2018-2026- 92
2016 Morell-Pena ‘Gemma Camaryn’ Chardonnay- This shows vanilla cream and Meyer lemon zest on the nose. The palate shows a really good minerality and mouthfeel with god intensity. This has a wonderfully rich finish. Drink 2018-2026- 92
2017 Morell-Pena Rose- Made from Pinot Noir grapes, this great Rose begins with aromas of rose petals, red cherry and guava on the nose. The palate shows good richness and intensity with wonderful richness and texture. Drink 2018-2022- 91
2015 The Royal Bull ‘Royal Bull($#!+)- The wine is sourced from the Lawrence and Stoneridge Vineyards, a blend of Tempranillo and Grenache. The 2015 Syrah starts with aromas of black tea, smoked brisket, black olive tapenade and wet rock. The palate shows a sexy mouthfeel and wonderful richness with red fruits and citrus rind shining through with earthy and smoky tones. Only 201 cases made of this great wine. Drink 2018-2028- 93