Morello Wines

2008 Paso Robles Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Cerro Prieto Vineyard

California: Paso Robles

Offer Expired:Feb 05, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Among The Tight Hills

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Visit Morello Wines and acquire their operative requested Paso Robles Pinot Noir

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Morello Wines

Wine Subject: 2008 Paso Robles Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Nick Morello


Paso Robles has long been established as a wine producing region that give other California regions a run for their money. With a climate and soils that make for perfect growing conditions for grapes, it is no wonder. Winemakers in Paso are a somewhat unique breed, often declaring themselves to be the renegades of Cali wine. Today’s selection comes from the Cierro Prieto Vineyard on Paso Robles’ West Side.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Bright garnet with a clear core that shows hints of ruby almost reminiscent of black cherry Jell-O in color. Along the edges the color shows a brighter ruby and when swirled, two distinct rows of legs hang on the side of the glass with the lower row of slow fat legs one just above the meniscus.

Smell – Medium in intensity with lively and tart red fruit including red cherry, raspberry and strawberry mingling with cranberry and exotic spice, soft oak and earth and a subtle mushroom component.

Feel – Smooth and dry, this medium bodied wine has vibrant tangy acidity and medium tannins that highlight this wine’s spice component.

Taste – Generous tangy and ripe red fruit of raspberry, red cherry and strawberry along with the exotic spice found on the nose lead the way. The spice and tanginess lingers at mid palate as the toasted oak, earth and mushroom make their appearance.

Finish – Medium-long in length with the tangy acidity, earthiness and spice lingering as the fresh red fruit fades.

Conclusion – The 2008 Morello Wines Paso Robles Pinot Noir shows loads of red fruit character and with its tangy and vibrant acidity makes this perfect for bolder and spicier foods. Well structured tannins and spice gives this wine staying power without being overbearing. Enjoy this wine for the next 3-5 years.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Nick Morello

WINE EDUCATION: University of California, Davis

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Cellarmaster & Asst. Winemaker (1998-2003), Head Winemaker, Leona Valley Winery (2003-2009)

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Keep the fermentations simple and let the wines evolve in the barrel.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Not appropriate for this mission.”



AGENT RED: Greetings, Nick. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Pinot Noir from Paso Robles today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

NICK MORELLO: Thank you. I have been an Operative for years and now get to be on the other side.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

NICK: My wife and I eloped to Santa Barbara, 14 years ago. We only had two days to have a honeymoon. So we went to the Santa Ynez wine country. After a long day of tasting, we were sitting on the porch of the Santa Ynez Winery (now Kalyra) recalling how all the people we had met that day were hard-working, happy, family oriented people. I decided make a little wine for myself that Fall. It turned out the wine was pretty good and received a gold medal in a national contest.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

NICK: Genevieve Janssens of Robert Mondavi and previously of Opus One, has had a tremendous influence on my style. She really believes in achieving a balance between the big fruit of California and the elegance of a fine French wine.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

NICK: I make Morello Wines for my close circle to enjoy. We are not concerned about ratings. Our main concern is making a great wine, we can share with friends. My friends are very good about telling me the truth, when they do not like or do like a wine. When making wine for other wineries, I like to work with clients that are more concerned with the quality of the wine, than they are with ratings.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

NICK: The 2008 Pinot Noir from Paso Robles comes from an awesome little vineyard from the West-Side of Paso Robles, called Cerro Prieto. Larry Stanton grows amazing Bordeaux and Syrah grapes. In the low valley, he had a lot of trouble getting the Cabernet Sauvignon ripe, due to the nights that dip into the low 40’s in the Summer. He T-budded over the Cab Sauv to Pinot, mid-row, below the cool layer. The yield is no more than one ton per acre. The clones are 115, 667, Pommard 4 & 5.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

NICK: My favorite pairing for this wine is Pesto! Pesto anything. The rich flavors bring out the individual components that make this wine great with food. I have had equal compliments as an aperitif, however. My uncle says, “The wine is perfect with chocolate truffles.”

RED: In your opinion, what makes Paso Robles so special?

NICK: The diversity of the terroir is by far the most special part of the Paso Robles AVA. Traveling East to West, it can be blazing hot for the Cabernets and barely warm enough for the Pinot Noir.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

NICK: These days, we are pruning vines, starting the “landing pattern” for bottling, and purchasing barrels for the 2011 harvest.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

NICK: All of my wines are different from the time they are opened to the time the bottle is finished. After a few minutes of the wines opening up, they slowly evolve, becoming more fruity and complex. Then the little nuances come out.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

NICK: I love making wine. This time of year we are pruning. Every prune made and every decision along the way affects the bottle of wine I am going to share with some friends around the kitchen table, several years from now. I cannot imagine getting the same satisfaction producing an aircraft widget.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Cerro Prieto Vineyard on the West Side of Paso Robles can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

In a narrow canyon on the West Side of Paso Robles lies a small vineyard with very cool evenings that remain cool throughout the morning. The result is a perfectly balanced Pinot Noir with notes of cherry, strawberry and spice box. Bright fruit and medium body, this wine is a beautiful example of dynamic diversity of Paso Robles.

About The Winery:

Nick Morello grew up on a small farm in Missouri. After moving to California, he met is wife-to-be, Julie. A year later they were married in Santa Barbara and fell in love with the lifestyle and wines of Santa Barbara County. In 1998, Nick started taking classes at UC Davis, studying Viticulture and Enology. His science background from Missouri University of Science and Technology made the transition easy.

After working for a few small wineries in production, Nick was hired as the head winemaker for a new winery, Leona Valley Winery. Growing a wide variety of grapes in a challenging climate added a tremendous amount of experience to his winemaking talents.

In 2009, Nick and his family moved to Santa Barbara, where they are focused on creating what made them fall in love with the business, a hard-working, happy family. It is one of the only jobs in the world where every cut during pruning and every little change in the wine is something that will be shared with friends and family around a table some day in years to come.

Technical Analysis:

Alcohol: 14.4%

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