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Peter Michael Les Pavots 1997

Bordeaux Red Blends from Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California
  • RP96
  • WS92
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Winemaker Notes

Aromas of cassis, blueberry, lavender and coffee interspersed with oak nuances of cedar and tobacco. Rich, ripe fruit impressions on the palate accentuated by silky, yet assertive tannins. The 1997 possesses a unique balance, full body, concentrated extract and a fine finish. Les Pavots is a fusion of traditional French and neoclassical Californian winemaking techniques. The wine is ready for near term enjoyment and has the richness, extract and structure for five to seven more years of aging.

Critical Acclaim

RP 96
The Wine Advocate

The 1997 Les Pavots originates from a hillside vineyard overlooking the Knight's Valley that has 23 acres planted with Bordeaux varietals. The 1997 blend consists of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged in French oak (50% new), and bottled without filtration. Fortunately, there are 4,351 cases of 750 ml bottles, as well as 330 cases of magnums. A blue/black/purple color is followed by an extraordinary bouquet of toast, blackberries, creme de cassis, licorice, and cedar. Full-bodied, with silky tannin, low acidity, and layers of concentrated, pure black fruits judiciously wrapped in subtle toasty oak, this wine can be drunk early, but promises to hit its peak in 5-7 years, and last for two or more decades.

WS 92
Wine Spectator

On the plus side, this is dense, firm and concentrated, offering notes of dried currant, olive and anise. Still rustic, ending with chewy tannins.—Non-blind Les Pavots vertical (March 2011). Drink now through 2016.

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Peter Michael

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Peter Michael, , California
Peter Michael
In 1982 Sir Peter and Lady Margaret Michael built the Peter Michael Winery on a square mile of rocky volcanic ridges that form the western face of Mount St. Helena in Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California. The estate vineyards rest on steep hillsides ranging in elevation from 1100 to nearly 2000 feet. Of the nearly 600 estate acres, only about 20% are planted to grapes. Peter Michael Winery is best known for single-vineyard and estate... View More

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow...

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.