Monterey County




Michael Michaud

Harvest Dates


Clonal Content

115, 667, 777, Swan Selection

Alcohol / pH

13.7 % / 3.66

Titratable Acidity

0.65 gms / 100mL

Barrel Aging

17 months in French Oak

(45% new)

Cases Produced


Suggested Retail Price



Michaud Vineyard

Pinot Noir

The Michaud vineyard is an extraordinary location for cultivating pinot noir.  Lying at 1600’ above the Salinas Valley floor and at the front door of Pinnacles National Monument, the vineyard is certainly unusual by typical pinot noir. standards.  However, this vineyard lies in one of the only places where decomposed granite and limestone are present at the surface, creating a superb soil profile for pinot noir, similar to that of Burgundy.  The vineyard is tended by Michael Michaud, whose experience and commitment to the Chalone AVA is unrivaled.

The limited rainfall and challenging conditions stunt the vines, causing the grapes to be thicker skinned than their valley floor cousins. The thicker skins provide tannins and ultimately more structure in the finished wine.  While mid-day temperatures can reach above 100F for days at a time, nighttime brings 50, and even 60 degree drops in temperature, ensuring that acid levels stay high through to harvest. These conditions and Michael's experienced management ensures that crop yield will be low perfectly to attain the highest quality fruit possible.

Winemaker Notes

2011 was an unusual growing season for the Chalone AVA. Cool summer temperatures extended even into the Gavilan highlands, which led to long hang time and a late harvest date in early October.  We took fruit from Blocks 1 & 2 in 2011, which Michael refers to as the "clonal library" and includes Dijon clones and selections from the original Chalone vineyard.

Our 2011 Michaud Vineyard is like a stroll through a field of flowers that ends in a forest. Aromas of spicy raspberry and honeysuckle leap from the glass. Bright cherry flavors are supported by fine-grained tannins, leading into a long finish with notes of wild mushrooms. The 2011 is lighter than past vintages, but will still benefit with an additional 3-5 years of cellaring.  This 2011 Michaud pairs very well with cedar plank grilled salmon basted with rosemary, whole grain mustard, lemon zest and honey.


  1. Prince of Pinot - 89 pts
    “Moderately light reddishpurple color in the glass. Haunting aromas of dark cherries and clove spice. Tasty core of well-spiced strawberry and cherry fruits. Light in weight but flavorful, with a modestly firm tannic backbone and a pleasing finish”
    - Rusty Gaffney 10/26/13

  2. Wine Enthusiast - 91 pts - Cellar Selection Designation
    “This wine is a poster child for all those who complain that California Pinot Noir is too alcoholic, rich and oaky. This bottling is quite balanced, with a light, silky texture and complex waves of raspberries, red currants, red licorice and sandalwood. The fruit is a bit fresh and tart, so give it 5–6 years in a cellar to evolve.”
    - Steve Heimoff 2/1/14

  3. The Pinot Report - 91 pts - subscription required
    “Medium ruby color; complex, earthy, berry aromas with sage notes; deep, rich berry flavors with herbal notes; some oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Complex, deep Pinot witih nice herbal notes.”
    - Greg Walters 1/1/14