Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2005 Point Rouge of Peter Michael Winery

The rarest wine of Peter Michael Winery in Knights Valley in the north eastern corner of Sonoma County is the Point Rouge. It’s a top cuvée of the best barrels of the winery, selected for the intensity and richness. Winemaker Nick Morlet and his brother Luc Morlet (former winemaker and now consultant) describe this wine as a “wine beyond terroir”. It’s simply a grander and fuller wine than the rest of their wines, and it does not reflect any particular parcel in the vineyard. Production is very limited, normally six to eight barrels per vintage, and normally the blend spends 14-15 months in oak, rather than 11-12 months for their other chardonnays. From a price point of view, this is also the most expensive wine – of course.

2005 Point Rouge (Peter Michael Winery) / 94-95
As always, the color is almost golden straw but still young, and since the wine isn’t clarified not filtered, it is slightly hazy. On the nose, it combines elegance with power and intensity, a hard to obtain balance. Fruit is lush and sweet with both tropical notes, but also with nuances of cooler climate fruits such as yellow apples and still not ripe pears. Oak, of course, it there, but I find it to be extremely well integrated, another proof of the excellence of the winemaking brothers. There is also a touch of creaminess, derived from the full malolactic fermentation, but again perfectly balanced. Give the wine half an hour in a decanter, and it might fool even a well trained wine taster – it actually reminds me of a Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru! However, on the palate, due to the rich and creamy texture (of glycerol and the 14.5 percent of alcohol), this couldn’t be a burgundy. Also, there is not enough minerality in this wine to really be a great burgundy. It is too much of a great California chardonnay here. I just love the silkiness of wines like this, and even if alcohol is quite high, and the fruit is rich, there is still the right amount of true acidity and also mineral notes, to make this a great and very elegant wine. Drink it over the nest 5-6 years.

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