F&W's American Wine Awards: A taste of France in Napa Valley.

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It's possible to be one of Napa's most vaunted winemakers and still not be satisfied. Luc Morlet, the scion of a French winemaking family, produced critically acclaimed wines for Peter Michael Winery and other properties. But, he says, "Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to start my own winery—it's part of my DNA."

2009 Ma Douce Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($70)

2009 Morlet Family Vineyards Ma Douce Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($70). Photo © Bruce Ashley.

Now he's achieved that, and more. Morlet's Cabernets, like the tobacco-edged 2008 Morlet Family Vineyards Coeur de Vallée ($175), have risen to Napa's top ranks in only three vintages; his Chardonnays are equally complex. Regarding the stratospheric scores they've received, Morlet responds with a French saying: "When you love, you don't count."

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