Varietal: Chardonnay Appellation: Knights Valley Region: California Country: United States
ABOUT Peter Michael Winery WINERY:
In 1982, after a six year search, Sir Peter Michael Winery and Lady Michael purchased 630 acres of volcanic ridges on the western face of Mount St. Helena in Knights Valley. Drawing inspiration from the great wineries of Burgundy and Bordeaux, the family hired like-minded viticulturists and winemakers to help them create terroir-driven wines that would stand the test of time. Peter Michael Winery Winery produces 15 different bottlings: 3 Cabernet blends, 4 Pinot Noirs, 2 blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, and 6 Chardonnays. With the exception of our two barrel selection Chardonnays, all of these wines are vineyard specific.
Under the direction of vineyard manager Javier Aviña, the estate vineyards are farmed by hand in a low-impact, sustainable manner, relying heavily on organic techniques that include some biodynamic practices. Cover crops control erosion, feed the soil and provide a habitat for beneficial insects; eliminating the need for chemical pesticides. Tilling, spraying and mowing are accomplished with tractors. All other operations are done entirely by hand. These include: pruning, suckering, shoot positioning, hedging, crop thinning and harvest. All harvesting is done into 20-pound fruit lugs to insure that the fruit arrives at the winery in pristine condition.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 96 points
"The super-concentrated 2008 Chardonnay La Carriere (2,100 cases produced) exhibits that tell-tale greenish hue to its straw color (which I always consider a positive sign), boisterous alcohol (15.5%), deep, concentrated, buttery flavors of nectarines, oranges, honeysuckle and subtle earth as well as oak, and excellent acidity. This is a superb Chardonnay to drink over the next 7-8 years. This is another winery where the stylistic differences between the 2009s (lower in alcohol, lighter-bodied, yet still intense) and the 2008s (powerful, rich, concentrated and deep because of tiny yields) are dramatic. I tended to rate the 2008s slightly higher because there is more to them and they will undoubtedly last longer, but the cool harvest 2009's larger crop size has produced wines with stunning elegance and finesse without the luxurious tactile impressions possessed by the 2008s." (February 2011)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - 96 points
"Pale gold with a green tint. Pure, penetrating aromas of orange, lime zest, minerals, iodine and white pepper. Racy, sharply focused citrus and floral flavors gain flesh and sweetness with air, picking up a juicy nectarine quality while maintaining their vivacity. The peppery note returns on the clean, stony, very persistent finish. Offers the raciness of the Mon Plaisir but this is deeper and more tactile." (June 2010)
Wine Spectator - 9 points
"Young, raw and vibrant, yet rich and concentrated. Still coarse and leesy, but with a rich, solid core of fig, melon, pear and spice. Full-bodied, focused and persistent, gaining depth." (June 2010)