Standing 1,500 feet above sea level in Monterey County’s Gabilan Mountains, you can actually see the Michaud Vineyard’s terroir. The rocky crags and peaks of nearby Pinnacles National Monument loom over the almost moonscape-like panorama. This is the heart of the Chalone appellation, where you can literally taste the district’s ancient decomposed granite and limestone soils in every drop of wine.
Michael Michaud knows this historic, unique appellation better than anyone. He began his thirty three year winemaking career at Chalone Vineyard, where he crafted acclaimed, complex Burgundian-style wines. Michael fell in love with the mineral structure and elegance the arid climate and lean soils provided the wines – he acquired land with his wife Carol and began to gradually plant his own vines. After 19 vintages with the Chalone brand, he left in 1998 to devote full attention to his own vineyard, just down the dusty road. And “full attention” is no exaggeration. From sunrise to sunset, Michael works as both farmer and winemaker.
“The goal? To make wines that directly reflect the truly one-of-a-kind nature of this place,” Michael says. “Towards that end, I do much of the winemaking and the farming myself. I purposely keep production small, because I like getting my hands dirty and having complete quality control, from the dirt to the bottle. This is my passion.”
With only 29 planted acres and nine different clones of Pinot Noir alone, Michael is able to “micromanage” the various blocks and lots at harvest time – achieving limited release, award-winning Michaud wines known for their elegance, balance, and ageworthiness. Wines that are truly expressive of their Chalone mountain birthplace and worthy of an honored spot at your table or in your cellar.
Produced in very small quantities, Michaud wines are made in a style that reflects both the mineral characters of the soil and the dynamic climate. The fruit flavors are complemented by subtle spiciness and nuances of oak from the 3-year air-dried French oak barrels in which the wines are fermented and aged. Above all, the wines retain a balance with refreshing acidity, a satisfying weight and texture in the mouth, multiple layers of flavor and a long elegant finish.