Wine Advocate 98
"A tank sample, the 2018 Chardonnay la Carriere comes from a block planted to Dijon and Hyde (Old Wente) clone selections. It sashays out of the glass with flamboyant notions of fresh ginger, lemongrass, allspice and orange blossoms over a core of peach preserves, pink grapefruit and apple pie with wafts of baking bread and marzipan. Medium to full-bodied, the texture is simply stunningso satiny with fantastic tension to counter and layer upon layer of spices and savory flavors, finishing very long and very perfumed. 2,907 cases are due to be made."
The 2018 growing season began with abundant winter rainfall. Spring weather was cool and blooming, while delayed a bit, took place in almost perfect conditions resulting in a generous fruit set. The vines were vigorous thanks to the winter rains. Aggressive canopy management and fruit thinning brought the crop into optimal balance. Summer temperatures were moderate with no severe heat spikes. An extended Indian summer allowed our Chardonnay to gradually reach perfect ripeness. The moderate temperatures permitted a gradual harvest, resulting in an elegant, bountiful vintage with classic flavors and excellent concentration.
La Carrire, French for the quarry, aptly describes this vineyards bowl shape and its tremendously rocky soils. Situated between 1,200 and 1,700 feet above sea level on steep mountain slopes exceeding forty percent in grade, the vineyard has ideal southern and southeastern exposures. The vineyards shallow rocky soils provide excellent drainage, low fertility and usually the lowest yields on the estate. La Carrire, with its concentrated liquid minerality, effectively reflects its mountainous origin.
WINEMAKERS TASTING NOTES
The signature of this vineyard remains its terroir-driven minerality. The nose is dominated by aromas of toasted almond, brioche, dry honey, white flowers, hazelnut and William pear. Accents of acacia, orange blossom and vanilla complete the elegant bouquet. White peach and citrus oil highlight the minerality. Magnificent concentration and elegance on the palate sculpt the structure of this wine, offering richness and intensity. While approachable now, the 2018 La Carrire will handsomely reward two years of cellaring and will continue to develop for a decade or more.
Peter MichaelView all from Peter Michael
Peter Michael Winery needs no introduction. Year after year their exquisite, artisan releases bring pleasure to people all over the world, and it all started in 1982 when Sir Peter Michael founded the winery on a square mile of rocky volcanic ridges on the western face of Mount St. Helena. From the beginning, the philosophy was modeled on French winemaking tradition and governed by three principles: the vineyard terroir would be the single most important feature, the wines would be lightly elegant rather than powerful and a hundred-year commitment would be made to the development of a great estate.
Peter Michael is the only winery in Knights Valley. Its original winemaker was the famous Helen Turley, followed by Mark Aubert and Luc Morlet. Currently winemaking is under the leadership of Nicolas Morlet, Luc's brother, whose extensive experience with Bordeaux and Burgundian style viticulture and winemaking lends itself well to the Peter Michael mission of producing single-vineyard, limited production bottlings from small, mountain vineyards.