Ma Belle Fille and Belle Côte Vineyards - Peter Michael Estate - High Above Knights Valley  - Eastern Sonoma County   

     Paul continued with tales of family camping trips on the Peter Michael property when his youngest son woke up the family proclaiming loudly, and pointing out that they must be in Heaven.  As the family looked down from the slopes of Mt. St. Helena and across the Napa Valley they noticed several islands suspended in the clouds covering the valley and realized their son was right.    A few years later, another Michael family camping trip along with friends visiting from France, the entire party woke to the same vision of floating islands in the sky. Paul asking his friends, how do you describe Heaven in French and they responded “Au Paradis.” Paul chuckled, elaborating about picking up his cell phone at the campsite and immediately phoning the winery below  letting everyone now a decision had been made that the new Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon had been named ‘Au Paradis.’ The second release, of the phenomenal 2012 ‘Au Paradis’ is September 2015.  

      It had started to rain lightly as we departed The Grand Del Mar.  We arrived back at the office at 6:30pm in time to avoid driving in the  much needed rain storm that arrived a few hours later. It was a spectacular day trip to San Diego. 

     Paul recounts planting the first vines on the slopes of Mt. St. Helena, Knights Valley as a teenager and continued with a personal bio of his own accomplishments.  We  tasted four 2013 Peter Michael Chardonnays, all spectacular and all differentiated by characteristics indigenous to their growing sites.  My wine of choice, the 2013 La Carriere,  with its rocky minerality, hints of tropical tuberose and elegant and creamy lemon curd sharpness that quickly dissipates encompassing with a creamy silky mineralized texture on the finish.    We continued tasting the 2013 Pinot Noirs, two  from the new Estate ‘Seaview Vineyard’ located on the first ridgeline along the  Sonoma Coast just north of Jenner, the other the first Pinot Noir  produced by Peter Michael Winery, the  2013 Le Moulin Rouge, from the Pisoni Vineyard located  in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.  The last two wines to taste, the 2012 Les Pavots Bordeaux Blend and the second release of the 2012 ‘Au Paradis’, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley paired perfectly with the cheese course.  

      Alysia introduced Paul Michael and we all listened as he reminisced about the initial founding of Peter Michael Winery emphasizing  the vision that his father, Sir Peter Michael, and mother, Lady Michael, had for the beautiful piece of property at the base of Mt. St. Helena;  100 by 100, 100% ownership of the winery by the family for at least 100 years. Sir Peter believed that by  following  this formula , world-class wines would be produced for generations as envisioned by the family founders. Eldest son, Paul, along with his wife Emily, will continue as the next generation of owners dedicated to a continued legacy of creating world-class Bordeaux and Burgundian styled wines in very limited production. The Family has dedicated the estate to the credo: “mountain vineyards, classical winemaking, limited production.” 

Day Trip to San Diego  – May 7, 2015

      We departed from Redondo Beach at 9am driving south on the 405 toward North County San Diego to assist and attend the Peter Michael  luncheon introducing Owner, Paul Michael, and the Next Generation at Peter Michael Winery.  The drive to the Fairmont – Grand Del Mar was smooth and uneventful, the scenery along the coast extraordinarily dramatic  with the upcoming storm approaching and clouds accumulating in unseasonably cool temperatures.    We arrived at the resort at 11AM and immediately checked in with Rory Pugh, Sommelier at Amaya, who was opening and preparing each bottle, decanting certain reds as requested by Alysia  Casebeer, Global Marketing Director at Peter Michael Winery. 

     As the guests arrived, each was served the Peter Michael 2011 L’Apres Midi, Sauvignon Blanc, Knights Valley.  Fifteen guests sat for a wonderful four course menu prepared by chef Matt Sramek.  Each course paired perfectly with the four varietals and nine current and upcoming release wines from Peter Michael Winery.