Nestled amidst the western slope of Mount St Helena, Peter Michael's Les Pavots has captivated wine enthusiasts and critics alike for nearly three decades. This Bordeaux blend exemplifies elegance and complexity.
Peter Michael, renowned for consistently producing some of California's finest wines, has firmly established itself as a flagship producer over the past four decades. Setting himself apart, Peter Michael defied convention by planting his vineyard on the picturesque hillsides when he acquired his estate in 1982. This bold move, which we now understand to be an emblem of quality, exemplified Peter's visionary mindset. Today, Peter Michael's flagship wine, the critically acclaimed Les Pavots, stands as a testament to his unwavering pursuit of excellence.
Nestled on the western slopes of Mount St. Helena, Les Pavots' 60-acre vineyard is a captivating tapestry of complex soils. Volcanic elements seamlessly intertwine with gravel rocks beneath the vines, creating an ideal foundation for Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. While the composition of Les Pavots may subtly vary from vintage to vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon consistently takes center stage, evoking the timeless allure of great Bordeaux wines.
However, what truly sets Les Pavots apart is its unique location. Perched between 900 and 1400 feet in elevation, this extraordinary vineyard basks in a southerly exposure. The soils, renowned for their optimal drainage, complement the Bordeaux varieties while contributing to a distinctive terroir. Situated approximately 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Les Pavots finds refuge in the embrace of valley walls and lush forestry, providing warmth and protection. The close proximity to the ocean, combined with the vineyard's elevated position, invites cool coastal winds that contribute to the vineyard's microclimate, fostering the perfect conditions for ripening. It is in this harmonious interplay of nature that the true allure of Les Pavots emerges, revealing why it stands among the crème de la crème of California-produced wines.
One of the most enthralling aspects of this esteemed vineyard is the remarkable duration of its growing season, stretching from the early days of spring until the golden hues of autumn. Here, amidst the sun-drenched hills, the grapes await harvest until October, and occasionally even gracing the vineyards with their presence well into early November. A stark contrast to the expeditious pace of neighboring Napa Valley. Perhaps it’s the embrace of these extended moments that Les Pavots' greatness is nurtured. After all, good things come to those who wait.
Among the crown jewels of Les Pavots, the 2014 vintage shines as an exceptional testament to the vineyard's prowess. Blessed with a phenomenal growing season, this exquisite terroir yielded a wine of unparalleled quality, earning a remarkable 98 points from James Suckling. Promising longevity well into two decades, the 2014 Les Pavots is still on the path to reaching its peak, making it an excellent addition to any wine cellar. If anticipation beckons and you're eager to uncork a bottle now, we invite you to savor the delights of the 2003 Les Pavots, an extraordinary vintage that awaits your enjoyment.
Written by: Craig Headding