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 - 98 points
"The oldest Chardonnay vineyard Peter Michael Winery uses is Belle Côte. The 2014 Chardonnay Belle Côte, from old Wente clones of Chardonnay planted in 1990, shows notes of crème brûlée, orange marmalade, crushed rock and white peach. It has stunning richness, full-bodied intensity, and a long, long finish." (December 2015)
"There's nothing that this winery does that is not admirable. Consider that they work with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, they produce world-class wines from all of these varietals, and they do it from Knight's Valley and the Sonoma Coast. Of course, they have had some fabulous winemakers pass through, including the likes of Helen Turley and Mark Aubert, Luc Morlet and now his brother, Nicolas Morlet. Nevertheless, much of the credit has to go to Sir Peter Michael Winery, the owner, who gives these people carte blanche, and expects their very best. As I mentioned last year, the Chardonnay crop in 2013 was wickedly small due to wind damage. 2014, even though it was a hot drought year, was far larger in quantity, actually bringing production levels back to normal (although those levels are low in all of the Peter Michael Winery vineyards). The 2014 Chardonnays at Peter Michael Winery were some of the great highlights of my trip, matching their fabulous 2013s by and large, and coming very close to their dramatic, absolutely remarkable 2012s. All of Peter Michael Winery's estate Pinot Noirs come from their relatively new plantings on that high ridge line above the fog line in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA. Everything is 100% destemmed, goes through 5 to 7+-day cold pre-maceration, and is aged in about 50% new French oak. They are bottled without fining or filtration, and are all vinified with indigenous or selected yeasts. The clonal material is from a famous vineyard in Vosne-Romanée. (We can all assume it's probably from one or two of the great grand crus of the domaine, Romanée-Conti, but they're not confirming.) The wines spend their time in François or Gautier cooperage and the early vintages are among the greatest New World Pinot Noirs I have ever tasted. The 2014s seemed shut-down and difficult to fully appreciate when I tasted them."