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December 200894 The 2006 Chardonnay Ma Belle Fille, which comes from their highest altitude vineyard, with a southerly exposure, and again, mostly old Wente clones like virtually all of these Chardonnays, has notes of quince, nectarines, white currants, and almost a liqueur of rocks. The wine has superb concentration and strikes me as one of the very best of the 2006 Chardonnays made in California. This winery continues to go from strength to strength despite a succession of winemakers over the last decade. Their consistency seems to come from their access to top vineyards and the carte blanche given by the proprietor to the talented winemakers who have come through, such as Mark Aubert, more recently Luc Morlet, and now his brother, Nicolas Morlet. They seem to do whatever is necessary (keeping yields low, having the best barrels, sorters, and vats) to produce the wines of extraordinary quality that have made Peter Michael a true world-class producer of unbelievable Chardonnays as well as Pinot Noirs and a Bordeaux-blend proprietary red wine. Nearly every Chardonnay here is of grand cru quality, and all are based on specific vineyard sites sprinkled in Knight’s Valley and the Sonoma appellation. Currently, there are six Chardonnays, two cuvees of Pinot Noir (and this is before their Sonoma Coast plantings of Pinot Noir come into production), two Bordeaux blends, and of course, their brilliant Sauvignon Blanc. Readers will find that the production in 2006 was slightly higher almost across the board for all the cuvees than the 2007, which was a year of moderate yields and approximately 20% less in quantity. The Point Rouge is always a selection of the best barrels from all the different lots, and bottled as an homage to Helen Turley, who first worked here and suggested to the owner in the late 1980s that the wine would be better unfiltered, which led to some experiments and a dramatic improvement in quality when the wine was finally bottled naturally. Sir Peter Michael has invested heavily on the Sonoma Coast, but those vineyards won’t come into production until next year. It is often difficult for a winery that achieves such brilliance with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir to also do well with Bordeaux varietals, but Les Pavots has been a brilliant success for 15+ years.
July 31, 200894 Notably rich and perfumed, with deep, persistent, concentrated layers of fig, honeysuckle, tangerine and nectarine that are opulent and unctuous. Sensational finish too. Drink now through 2011. 2,000 cases made.
International Wine Cellar
June 200894 Bright greenish yellow. Knockout nose combines citrus peel, white peach, minerals, iodine, spices and creme brulee; I'd love to throw this into a Burgundy tasting. Rich, fat and sweet but with enough mineral spine to maintain its shape and freshness. With aeration, this very concentrated wine became juicier, brighter and more gripping. Finishes with a youthful bitter edge that really grabs hold of the palate. Includes a lot of fruit from the Hyde and Hudson clones, which produce tiny clusters.