Peter Michael Winery is pleased to share the spring selection of wines. This special offer includes the return of Seaview Pinot Noir with the release of 2019 ‘Le Caprice’ vintage in contrast to the infamous ‘Le Moulin Rouge’ from the acclaimed Pisoni Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. We hope life offers you the opportunity to enjoy each wine with friends and family, as a memorable moment of rejoice. 


Knights Valley Estate, Sonoma County

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot

The previous winter offered an above-average rainfall. Spring was mild and the growing conditions during the entire season were ideal, even with some heat waves in October.
The bloom occurred under adequate temperature and humidity. The temperatures remained steady and warm throughout the year, without any significant heat spikes. The yields of our mountain vineyards were slightly higher than the previous vintage but remained small (3 tons/acre). After the end of veraison, a single pass of thinning facilitated the homogenization of the crop. Most of the vineyard blocks were physiologically ripe at the same time with a desirable amount of polyphenols.

Les Pavots

Cabernet Blend

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Knights Valley Estate, Sonoma County

While the winter of 2019 was wet with generous amounts of rainfall, the rocky, volcanic soil and subsoils of our estates were able to drain efficiently, releasing the excessive moisture content in the soil. From the physiological steps of budbreak to veraison, the temperatures were variable with some lows and highs.

Chardonnay

After an adequate amount of rain in December preceding the 2022 growing season, January and February were both dry, which triggered a slightly early budbreak in the Chardonnay vineyards. An early spring frost tempered potential yields. During bloom, the weather was highly variable, culminating in an early May storm that brought hail, snow, and rain, which dramatically reduced fruit set and ultimately yields for all the Chardonnay blocks. A moderate July was followed by some heat spikes in August and record high temperatures during several days in early September, followed by a temperate last half of September. The Chardonnay harvest began on August 15 and was completed on October 4.

La Carrière

Chardonnay

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Belle Côte

Chardonnay

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Cuvée Indigéne

Chardonnay

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Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon

Aggressive canopy management and fruit thinning brought the crop into optimal balance. An extended summer allowed our Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon to gradually reach ideal ripeness. The moderate temperatures permitted a gradual harvest, resulting in a refined vintage with classic flavors.

Coeur à Coeur

Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon

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Seaview Estate, Fort Ross–Seaview, Sonoma County

Pinot Noir

The 2019 growing season began with abundant rainfalls during the course of the month of February. The climate remained cool through spring, allowing the vines to produce a proper canopy but without excess of vigor. Bloom was delayed by two weeks and as a result, the veraison was able to develop evenly and the harvest occurred late. During the summer, we managed the canopy with two simple edging passes. In addition, we omitted the de-leafing of the canopy to aid in preserving the natural acidity of this special vintage that nature presented to us.

Pinot Noir is among the most fastidious varietals; therefore, very special care is devoted in the vineyard and in the cellars to this noble Pinot Fins selection. The fruit across the three vineyards—Clos du Ciel, Le Caprice, and Ma Danseuse—was harvested crunchy and fully ripe, a rare goal to achieve. Without a doubt, the 2019 is a stunning, classic vintage.

Le Caprice

Pinot Noir

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Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County

Pinot Noir

The 2019 growing season began with a decent amount of rainfall in Monterey County, with over seven inches in the months of December and February. Spring was cool and foggy. The vines had a solid canopy without excess of vigor, requiring minimal canopy management. The delayed bloom led to even veraison, and the harvest occurred late. The multiple passes of fruit thinning along with a long Indian summer contributed to a pure, classic, and fragrant interpretation of the Le Moulin Rouge terroir.

The ripening stage of the Pinot Noir was subject to near perfect sunny days and cool nights, which continued through harvest. With no major heat fluctuations, the fruit was able to gradually mature, leading to a later-than-normal harvest. The vintage produced a balanced, indulgent expression of the vineyard.

Le Moulin Rouge®

Pinot Noir

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Tasting Notes

2018 ‘Les Pavots’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Knights Valley, Sonoma County

Estate: Knights Valley
Block: Les Pavots (“The Poppies”)
Planted: 1989–1999
Soil: Volcanic-origin rhyolite
Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot
Exposure: Southerly
Elevation: 1,000–1,400 feet (305–427 meters)

Winegrowing Notes

Grown on the slopes of Mount Saint Helena in Knights Valley, the distinctive aromas and flavors of our proprietary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot display their hillside origins. Rocky, rhyolitic soils created through volcanic activity millennia ago, contribute a mineral richness and add to the wine’s complexity. Spanning forty-nine acres, Les Pavots ascends to an elevation of nearly 1,400 feet. Merlot and Cabernet Franc grow on the cool upper slopes, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot below. 

Winemaking Notes

Hand-Harvested: October 18–October 26
Blend: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot
Aged: eighteen months in 100% French oak barrels from select artisan coopers
Bottled unfined: May 15, 2020
Alcohol: 15.5%
Release Date
: April 1, 2021

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

Deep ruby in color with a red-purple rim, the 2018 ‘Les Pavots’ reveals a sophisticated bouquet of freshly blossomed violets and sweet tones of blueberry and boysenberry synchronizing with native, wild garrique and crushed-stone minerality. Full-bodied and elegant, the wine offers a lavish array of flavors: blackberry pie and Albion strawberries contrast savory notes of tobacco and cigar box. Hints of cedar, vanilla bean, and black pepper lead to a long, well-structured finish. Approachable in its youth, Les Pavots provides an exemplary representation of our winery estate terroir and will continue to evolve graciously for two decades. 

‘Le Caprice’ Estate Pinot Noir

Fort Ross-Seaview, Western Sonoma County

Estate: Seaview
Block: Le Caprice (“Temperamental,” an ode to the fickle nature of the Pinot Noir grape)
Planted: 2006–2007
Soil: Rocky alluvial sediments, decomposing volcanic materials
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Exposure: East-Northeast
Elevation: 1,000–1,300 feet (305–396 meters)

Winegrowing Notes

Situated over 1,000 feet above sea level on steep mountain slopes, some exceeding 50 percent in grade, the vineyard site faces east and northeast. It benefits from both the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean, just on the other side of the coastal ridge, and the mild, sunny mountain climate. The soil of the vineyard is a composite of clay, silt, and volcanic gravels, which produces a wine with polished tannins, body, and a hint
of graphite minerality. Le Caprice presents the most fruit-driven style among the trio of estate Pinot Noirs.

Winemaking Notes

Hand-Harvested: September 28–October 8
100% naturally fermented using native yeast
Aged: sixteen months in 50% new French oak barrels from select artisan coopers
Bottled unfined and unfiltered: February 9, 2021
Alcohol:
14.4%
Release Date: April 1, 2021

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

The 2019 ‘Le Caprice’ shows the typicity of Pinot Noir from this coastal, sunny site, exhibiting a deep ruby color with crimson highlights and lofty aromatics of Griotte cherry, a touch of raspberry and sweet plum framed by savory rosewood, baking clove, and cedar. Abundant flavors of dark, morello cherry and briary blackberry meld with the essence of black tea and earthy notes of forest floor. Expressive while young,
the 2019 ‘Le Caprice’ will continue to develop for a decade.

‘Le Moulin Rouge’ Pinot Noir

Pisoni Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County

Vineyard: Pisoni
Planted: 1991
Block: Le Moulin Rouge (“The Red Mill,” after the famed Paris nightclub)
Soil: Decomposed granite
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Exposure: East-Northeast
Elevation: 1,300 feet (396 meters)

Winegrowing Notes

The Pinot Noir for Le Moulin Rouge is grown on the gentle slopes of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County. The vineyard’s coastal soil and climate add a dense, yet delicate, richness to the wine’s complexity. The clone, originally selected from Burgundy’s Grand Cru, produces naturally small clusters and berries, fashioning a wine with opulent perfume and distinct varietal expression. The profile of the fruit is retained with gentle, manual punch-downs while the barrel-aging regimen contributes to the wine’s gorgeous, silky tannins.

Winemaking Notes

Hand-Harvested: September 24–September 25
100% naturally fermented using native yeast
Aged: sixteen months in 50% new French oak barrels from select artisan coopers
Bottled unfined and unfiltered: February 10, 2021
Alcohol: 15.1%
Release Date: April 1, 2021

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

Lifted aromas of wild strawberry and raspberry interlace with baking-spice notes of clove, vanilla, and dark molasses. An opulent, plush entry on the palate delivers bountiful flavors of black tea and cherry
with a layer of plum sauce and an earthy hint of pencil graphite. Comparable to a premier cru, Le Moulin Rouge provides decadence balanced by silky tannins and energizing acidity. This stunning wine drinks well young, yet will age for a decade.

‘Coeur à Coeur’ Estate Sémillon/Sauvignon Blanc Blend

Knights Valley, Sonoma County

Estate: Knights Valley
Translation: ‘Coeur à Coeur’ (“Heart to Heart”)
Planted: 1995
Soil: Volcanic-origin rhyolite
Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc (Preston 70%, Musqué 30%), Sémillon
Exposure: South-Southeast
Elevation: 1,000–1,400 feet (305–427 meters)

Winegrowing Notes

Coeur à Coeur is the ultimate expression of our passion for Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit is grown alongside our red Bordeaux varieties in the L’Après-Midi block of our Knights Valley Estate.
The grapes were picked and sorted by hand, whole-cluster pressed, and then naturally fermented in barrel. No malolactic fermentation is conducted in order to preserve the vibrant acidity. Both varietals were aged separately on their lees for eight to nine months with gentle bâtonnage before assembly of the final cuvée.

Winemaking Notes

Hand-Harvested: September 30–October 15
Blend: 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Sémillon
100% naturally fermented using native yeasts
100% barrel fermented in French oak from select artisan coopers
Aged:
Barrel aged sur lies eight months with gentle biweekly bâtonnage
Bottled unfined: May 11, 2020
Alcohol: 14.6%
Release Date:
April 1, 2021

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

The nose is striking and complex, displaying mineral, propolis, melon, honeysuckle, lemon, white currant blossom, and white rose. The mouth is rich, elegant, and round, balanced with ample tension and a background of brioche, apricot, and white peach. Intense acacia honey flavors mixed with touches of Muscat, almond, and strong mineral elements focus into an extremely long finish. The 2019 ‘Coeur à Coeur’ will benefit from five years of cellaring and will age gracefully for two decades and express additional tertiary aromas of quince and toasted hazelnut.

‘La Carrière’ Estate Chardonnay

Knights Valley, Sonoma County

Estate: Knights Valley
Block: La Carrière (“The Quarry”)
Planted: 1994
Soil: Rocky, volcanic-origin rhyolite
Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Exposure: South-Southeast
Elevation: 1,200–1,700 feet (366–518 meters)

Winegrowing Notes

The name La Carrière aptly describes this site’s bowl shape and its tremendously rocky soils. Situated between 1,200 and 1,700 feet above sea level on steep mountain slopes exceeding 40 percent in grade, the vineyard has ideal southern and southeastern exposures. The vineyard’s shallow rocky soils provide excellent drainage, low fertility, and usually the lowest yields on the estate. La Carrière, with its concentrated “liquid minerality,” effectively reflects its mountainous origin.

Winemaking Notes

Hand-Harvested: September 21–October 14
100% naturally fermented using native yeast
100% barrel fermented in 100% French oak from select artisan coopers
Aged: Barrel-aged sur lies twelve months with weekly bâtonnage
Bottled unfiltered:
February 4, 2021
Alcohol: 14.5%
Release Date:
April 1, 2021

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

Aromatics derived from the terroir-driven minerality of the vineyard block resonate on the nose, reminiscent of oyster shell combined with fragrant jasmine blossom, lemon-lime zest, and fresh brioche. Decadent and creamy on the palate, the wine expresses exquisite flavors of Williams pear and Golden Reinette apple, accentuated by delightful pain d’épices with toasted almonds. The superb concentration is elegantly balanced by crisp acidity, sculpting the structure of this wine much like a grand cru. The 2019 ‘La Carrière’ will mature gracefully for the next two decades.

‘Belle Côte’ Estate Chardonnay

Knights Valley, Sonoma County

Estate: Knights Valley
Block: Belle Côte (“Beautiful Slope”)
Planted: 1990
Soil: Volcanic-origin rhyolite
Variety: 100% Chardonnay
Exposure: South-Southeast
Elevation: 1,700–1,750 feet (518–533 meters)

Winegrowing Notes

As the oldest of the four Peter Michael Winery estate Chardonnay blocks, Belle Côte exemplifies the consistent quality of Chardonnay these mountain vineyards produce. Due to the naturally cool climate of the site’s high elevation, and mitigated exposure to the hot afternoon sun by its southeastern exposure and a stand of trees on its western border, the vines are allowed to slowly ripen. The growing season for Belle Côte typically extends into October, two to three weeks longer than most Chardonnay vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

Winemaking Notes

Hand-Harvested: October 7–October 15
100% naturally fermented using native yeast
100% barrel fermented in 100% French oak from select artisan coopers
Aged:
Barrel-aged sur lies twelve months with weekly bâtonnage
Bottled unfiltered:
February 5, 2021
Alcohol:
14.3%
Release Date:
April 1, 2021

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

Beautiful aromas of rose petal, lychee nut, and orange blossom reflect the origin of this wine and the inimitable Chardonnay characteristics developed due to the naturally slow ripening of the fruit. On the palate, flavorful honey nougat, marmalade, and delightful crème brûlée are underscored with savory notes of almond and walnut. Belle Côte is a dynamic Chardonnay, marrying delicate freshness with dense creamy brioche. Approachable young, the 2019 ‘Belle Côte’ will blossom with two years of cellaring and will continue to develop for a decade or more.

‘Cuvée Indigène’ Estate Chardonnay

Knights Valley, Sonoma County

Since 1988, Cuvée Indigène has been an oenological study of Old Wente clone Chardonnay, blended from about two dozen top barrels sourced from several Chardonnay blocks on our Knights Valley Estate. The name translates as “Indigenous Blend” and harkens back to the early days of winemaking when fermentation occurred spontaneously—slowly and methodically—initiated solely by the natural yeast on the grapes. Although all Peter Michael Winery wines are fermented with native yeasts to retain the truest expression of the variety while capturing the influence of the site, Cuvée Indigène is the only wine dedicated to a single clone.

If decanted and served only slightly chilled, this wine is certainly enjoyable in its youth. However, as with all Peter Michael Chardonnay, Cuvée Indigène rewards patience. When properly aged, the wine develops extraordinary layers of complexity and offers a refined experience of the power and structure of the Wente clone from the high elevations of our Knights Valley Estate.

Crafting a Cuvée

  • All vineyard blocks, planted to a single clone, are hand-harvested.
  • Each block or clone is barrel fermented and aged separately.
  • Barrels selected for ‘Cuvée Indigène’ are aged for fifteen months.
  • After a final review, the barrels are racked and blended in a tank just prior to bottling.

Winemaking Notes

Hand-Harvested: October 7–October 15, 2019
100% naturally fermented using indigenous yeast
100% barrel fermented in 100% French oak from select artisan coopers
Aged:
Barrel-aged sur lies fifteen months with weekly bâtonnage
Bottled unfined:
February 1, 2021
Alcohol:
14.3%
Release Date:
April 1, 2021

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes

The 2019 ‘Cuvée Indigène’ leads with an expressive nose of minerals, lively jasmine, and orange blossom, along with hints of baking spice and stone fruit accents of peach and apricot. Notes of toasted almonds, crème brûlée, and vanilla meld with oyster shell and sweet tones of honey and marmalade. In the mouth, the texture is rich and creamy, displaying ample structure with exceptional balance through to a seamless, lingering finish reminiscent of the great wines of Corton-Charlemagne.

Old Wente Clone

The Wente family brought over the clone by hand in 1912 from delicate clippings obtained at the University of Montpellier in southeastern France. The clone gained recognition as the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay won the famed 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting. Characteristics of the clone include small berries in the bunches of fruit with thick skins, golden hay color, good mineral content, low sugar, and big, bright acidity with luscious citrus fruit flavors and sweet baking-spice notes.