Peter Michael 2014 L'Esprit Des Pavots


"The second wine, culled from barrels not considered at the level required of Les Pavots, is the 2014 Proprietary Red L’Esprit des Pavots, which is a relatively large cuvée of 2,120 cases. A blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, this wine is silky, lush and approachable, with low acidity and notes of black olive tapenade intermixed with graphite, blackberry, cassis and smoke. It is full-bodied, plush and best drunk over the next 10-15 years.

Brothers Nicolas and Luc Morlet told me that Peter Michael’s 2015 vintage was essentially one characterized by roller coaster, rather violent weather, with so much wind during the bloom that the entire estate’s Pinot Noir crops on the Sonoma Coast were wiped out. The results were an incredibly tiny harvest of Chardonnay with a ratio of 50% skin to 50% juice, giving the 2015 Chardonnays a level of concentration unprecedented from this famous producer’s vineyards. That came after a much more abundant year in 2014 that was characterized by another drought year and an earthquake the third week of August, but much better yields than 2015. Tasting these Chardonnays together, the 2015s, not yet in bottle (but they don’t filter), and the 2014s, in bottle for close to a year, struck me as the two finest back-to-back vintages for Chardonnay that Peter Michael has yet produced. And that is saying something, as their 2013s were sensational, as were the 2012s. Peter Michael is an impeccably run, world-class winery and it is probably impossible to find a greater set of Chardonnays anywhere else in the world, with one exception – the seven cuvées of Chardonnay made by Mark Aubert, ironically, one of Peter Michael’s former winemakers!" Robert Parker 90 Points

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