Morey Cellars was founded by Robert Morey with his first commercial release in 2000. Robert was born in Lisbon, Portugal and came to Orange County after high school to attend college. He went to the University of California Irvine and studied Theoretical Computer Science.
Following his time in Southern California, he moved to San Francisco and one day drove up to Napa to explore this wine region. He found some uncultivated grape vines full of grapes next to the road near Yountville at the time – picked a bunch of these and took them back to San Francisco. He attempted his first wine making with these Napa grapes but quickly realized his “wine database” was rather empty; from this point on he tried to find out as much about wine making as possible – reading and studying wine making books as well as learning from those in the industry.
He began to make home wine – not average home wine but really good wine – soon he took a Best of Show at the Orange County Fair in 1997.
Robert’s family has a historical connection to one of Napa’s most prominent wine making families, the Mondavi’s. One week his father visited and Robert took him up to Napa. Driving by Robert Mondavi winery his father told him about their family partnership with the Mondavi’s near Clovis, California. Robert’s grandfather ran a pre-cooling operation for C. Mondavi and Sons, a fruit and grape shipping company with customers primarily on the East Coast. And both Robert and his father stopped and were able to visit with Robert Mondavi for quite some time.
In addition to making his own wine (focusing on a single Cabernet Sauvignon each year), Robert is a negociant for a number of other wines – many of which are International. At the time of our visit, he has over 60 labels available from wine regions as diverse as Washington State, Spain, Portugal and various regions within California.
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (current release at the time of our visit) is 100% varietal. Only 50 cases of this wine were made. The bouquet is elegant showing darker fruit, with a floral component (violets) and as it opens notes of red licorice and a baking spice sweetness. Robert prefers red wines that are more Bordeaux-like in nature. This wine is softer on the entry and softer in structure – but quite complex on the palate in terms of depth of flavor. There is a richness of flavor, a savory/sage component and shows both red and darker fruits. It is well balanced with a pleasing finish featuring well integrated somewhat earthy tannins and hints of mocha and chocolate.
Note the ode to heritage on the bottle; both the Portuguese Coat of Arms honoring his mother’s heritage and an Irish Lyre (honoring his father’s heritage) are on the label. And several years ago his wines were recognized and served at a function attended by the the President of Portugal and his wife.
In mid 2016, Robert along with Eric Gordon of E. Gordon Cellars opened a tasting room adjoining Eric’s winery in an industrial park in the heart of what is known as the Crusher District. Several producers make their wine here and over time some other producers will be represented on the tasting menu. Some of Robert’s own negociant labels are also represented. These are all artisan ‘under the radar’ producers, with limited production wines available at a reasonable price point. The tasting room will feature art, music and special events.
Most of the tiny production of Morey Cellars is sold direct. With that said, Robert has one outlet he is proud to have carry his wine and perhaps not in a location you would associate with a fine wine list – Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort. But they have an extremely fine wine list spanning 62 pages! For more information about Morey Cellars, visit: www.moreycellars.com