Skip to content

Peter Michael Les Pavots & Au Paradis: 2019, 2018 & 2011

April 11, 2023

20230405_153334.jpgSome for reason, Peter Michael Winery would usually not be the first name one thinks of when discussing Californian wines, but everyone seems to agree that its whites and reds belong right up there with the best. Started in 1982 when Sir Peter Michael purchased 255 hectares of volcanic ridges on the western face of Mount Helena in Knights Valley, the winery focuses on chardonnay, pinot noir as well as Bordeaux-inspired blends, sourced entirely from individually-farmed estate-owned vineyards located on steep hillsides at altitudes well above 500 feet. One senses a fastidious streak in the winemaking which is organic (though not biodynamic): triple-sorting of whole clusters during harvesting, the grapes are 100% de-stemmed, the French barrels are only medium-toasted and the wine is unfined and unfiltered. Only 20,000 cases are produced in total annually, accounting for its relative scarcity on the secondary market. For this tasting on 05 April 2023 at the offices of Wine Clique, Singapore, Paul Michael (son of Sir Peter) and Peter Kay (Sales Director) have specially flown in to showcase Les Pavots (its French name refers to the poppies that initially grew on the land first purchased by Sir Peter), the winery’s flagship Bordeaux blend, as well as Au Paradis, made from a more recent acquisition in 2009 in Oakville where the blend comprises at least 75% cabernet sauvignon with cabernet franc making up the rest. I find Les Pavots to be consistently lush and opulent, its exuberance never tipping into uncontrolled hedonism, while Au Paradis is more classically structured with a restrained elegance, drinking better at this point of time whilst the former needs a long runway. Many thanks, Alice and Emerson.

2019 Peter Michael Winery Les Pavots, comprising 60% cabernet sauvignon, 21% merlot, 14% cabernet franc and 5% petit verdot. Deep garnet. Great abundance of dark plums and red currants beneath the rich creamy nose, developing a further effusive core of tropical fruits. Medium-full. Very luxuriant, ripe and lush, rounded with smooth svelte tannins underscored with sublime acidity. Just a tad forward but nobody really minds when the fruit is so drop-dead gorgeous. Already accessible in spite of its masculine proportions, gelling together very well with juicy succulence. Utterly delicious. This will turn out to be a great Les Pavots, if one has the patience.

2018 Peter Michael Winery Les Pavots, comprising 68% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 19% cabernet franc and 3% petit verdot. Deep crimson. Perfumed dark rosy characters amid waxy overtones, displaying pointed definition of red fruits. Medium-bodied. Highly supple with very good density of fruit, quite seamlessly integrated with refined tannins and acidity, imbued with understated minerally elements. Moderate finish. Classically structured and proportioned. Drinking well.

2011 Peter Michael Winery Les Pavots, comprising 73% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 14% cabernet franc and 3% petit verdot. From a cooler vintage. Deep crimson. Lovely lift of haw, cherries and red currants amid discernible traces of paraffin and marmite, marking its entry on the medium-full palate with a rush of deep rosy characters from a gorgeous core of fruit that is so wonderfully fresh and lively, delivering great verve. A little forward, just like the 2019, but it suits the wine well, already imbued with early complexity on a bed of velvety tannins. Impeccably balanced. Yet to peak, but it is so irresistibly delicious.


2019 Peter Michael Winery Au Paradis, comprising 76% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot and 16% cabernet franc. Deep purple. Highly aromatic with a distinct note of vanillin and paraffin. Good density of ripe plummy tones beneath, fairly lively though it doesn’t really plumb the depths. Appreciably less tannic than Les Pavots, finishing well with pronounced medicinal tones.

2018 Peter Michael Winery Au Paradis, comprising 76% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot and 11% cabernet franc. Deep crimson. Fairly aromatic, where haw and red fruits dominate with a distinct note of vanillin. Almost exuberant, such is its lively acidity and energetic burst on the medium-full palate. Very well integrated with sleek tannins, taking on a sudden and surprising austerity as more ferrous elements emerged to the fore. Good finish.

2011 Peter Michael Winery Au Paradis, comprising 76% cabernet sauvignon and 24% cabernet franc. Deep crimson. Lovely bouquet of complex fruit and capsicum with a teasing elusiveness. Medium-bodied. Highly supple and elegant. Very well-proportioned, displaying very good juicy presence and energy with refined detail. Classically structured and balanced. This has developed very well. Superb.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: