Erba Mountainside Vineyards

About

All wines are made from the estate grapes. 2003 was the first commercial vintage for Erba Mountainside Vineyards. We are very enthusiastic about the quality of the new releases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah to be released in 2006.

Location Description

Located on the Eastern slope of Atlas Peak.

Features

  • All our wines are made from the estate grapes.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Winemaker

Wine has always been a way of life for Luc, who grew up working on his family’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay domaine, Pierre Morlet & Fils, in Avenay-Val-d’Or, Champagne. Born in Epernay, France to a four-generation winegrower family, Luc, as a child, enjoyed learning about all of the practical and technical aspects of vineyard farming and winemaking.

Luc Morlet is a Masters graduate of Enology from Rheims University, France and holds both a Viticulture degree from Ecole Viticole de Champagne and a MBA in Wine Business from Dijon Business School, Burgundy.

Luc’s professional viticultural and winemaking experience outside the family context began in 1988 during graduate school with a variety of internships in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and the Southwest of France. These included the Maison Chanson Père & Fils in Beaune and the Agricultural Research Institute (INRA) of Bordeaux. Luc’s viticulture thesis was based on Botrytis, Eutypa, Esca, Oak Root Fungus and Organic farming. During his stint at Champagne Duval-Leroy near Epernay, Luc completed his Enology degree and thesis, which focused on high quality pressing and cryoselection techniques. Luc Morlet’s viticultural and winemaking knowledge was furthered by technical tours of the European wine regions of Italy, Spain, Germany and the French areas of Alsace, Cognac, Rhône and Loire Valley.

Upon completion of graduate school, Luc’s first full time position was as the Assistant-Winemaker for the Val d’Or Champagne Cellars. In 1993, he replaced the Winemaker at a French subsidiary in St Helena, which allowed him to discover Napa Valley and Sonoma County’s unique viticultural conditions. In 1994, Luc became the ‘Régisseur’ at Château Dauzac, a classified Margaux growth, and perfected his skills making Bordeaux style wines, under the guidance of consultant Jacques Boissenot.

1996 brought Luc back to California for his California sweetheart whom he later married. In the spring of the same year, Newton Vineyard of Napa Valley hired Luc Morlet as Director of Viticulture and Enology in replacement of John Kongsgaard with whom Luc had the opportunity to work through the first vintage. While there he crafted the highly rated and famous “Chardonnay Unfiltered” (1996 through 2000). Also teaming up with renowned Bordeaux consultant Michel Rolland, Luc enhanced the four Bordeaux varietal estate on Spring Mountain and created the first Bordeaux blend ever at Newton Vineyard (Le Grand Vin, 1999).

In spring 2001, Luc joined the Peter Michael Winery of Knights Valley as Winemaker. Luc’s expertise in Bordeaux and Burgundy style viticulture and winemaking lent itself well to the Peter Michael mission of handcrafting classical wines from mountain vineyards, in limited quantity. Continuing Helen Turley and Mark Aubert’s legacy, Luc’s technical leadership helped the Peter Michael Winery to improve upon its already acclaimed wines (2001 through 2005): La Carriere, Belle-Cote, Ma Belle-Fille, Mon Plaisir, Cuvee Indigene and Point Rouge Chardonnays, Le Moulin Rouge Pinot Noir, L’Apres-Midi Sauvignon Blanc and Les Pavots Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Blend.

As part of his continuous effort to achieve the highest quality of wines, Luc designed and developed, in the summer of 2003 and in collaboration with manufacturing company P&L Specialties, a unique premium-sorting device (named “LE TRIEUR TM”), currently under US Patent protection.

In order to insure the continuity of style, Luc still remains involved with Peter Michael Winery as Consulting Winemaker, advising his brother Nicolas Morlet who succeeded him as Winemaker in January of 2006.

In winter 2005, Luc joined the Staglin family as their winemaker. Their vineyard estate lies on the famous Rutherford Bench at the heart of the Napa Valley. Working year round with renowned vineyard manager David Abreu, Luc’s mission at Staglin family was to keep striving for the best expression possible of the uniqueness of the vineyard estate (Vintage 2006).

Passionate for both the expression of the “terroirs” as well as for the continuous pursuit of the ultimate quality, Luc calls his winemaking philosophy “neo-classic laissez-faire without compromise.” In other words, Luc describes it as a non-interventionist winemaking style driven by an ongoing search for quality improvement. With over 20 vintages under his belt (13 in California and 9 in France), and with his own zest for innovation, Luc uses century old principles and classic Burgundy and Bordeaux methods, while adapting to California’s natural conditions.

History

In 1998, after two years in searching for a site that could be developed into a premium,world class vineyard,the goal was finally achieved. This site possesses the attributes for a unique terroir with features of steep slopes at high elevations of 1100 to 1550 feet above sea level with very rocky volcanic soils.

The vineyard has a unique microclimate next to Atlas Peak.It is above the morning fog which allows abundant sunshine throughout the day to ripen the grapes fully. Cooling westerly breezes come over the mountainridge midday and in the late afternoon the mountainridge shades the hot afternoon sun.

The vineyard was developed into 14 blocks with a total of 20 acres planted. Each block has varying row direction and slope and therefore each block is harvested separately for optimum ripeness. Tight vineyard spacing was used to give the vines more competition to improve grape quality. Rootstock and varietal recommendations from Paul Skinner, PhD, matched the soil to the rootstock to keep vigor low and balanced. With much research the highest quality, low yielding clones were used including many of the ENTAV-INRA clones from France. All five Bordeaux varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, as well as Syrah were planted. Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for approximately 70% of the vineyard plantings.

All wines are made from the estate grapes. 2003 was the first commercial vintage for Erba Mountainside Vineyards. We are very enthusiastic about the quality of the new releases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah to be released in 2006.

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Address

Napa Valley, California
United States

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