La Michelle 2011

What is it that makes sparkling wine so special? In basic terms it’s the bubbles. How they got in there during production largely dictates the nature of the way they come back out once the wine is poured. Streams of minute yet persistent bubbles of CO2 coming slowly out of solution in a Methode is about as far as you can get from Coca Cola yet in many ways they serve the same purpose of accentuating purity on the tongue and carrying volatile aroma compounds high up into the nasal passages at the back of the throat.


The 2011 La Michelle has a delicate salmon blush due to the slight skin contact given to some batches of the Pinot Noir prior to pressing. The wine bursts forth with pleasure and pain as the bursting bubbles sting the nose and carry forth primary fruit characters of tayberry, glace cherry and soft rose petal florals. In behind this and of far more importance is the raft of secondary aromas. Sticky ginger bread, dried leafy tobacco and half baked yeasty aromas impart a warmth which is almost edible as it issues steaming Bovril tea, charcoal roasted nuts and an irresistible pain au chocolat character. Finally notes of split kid leather and thick mushroom risotto suggest that if the complexity were any more concentrated, it would go cross-eyed!


The palate opens strongly with a racy combination of tartness and foam which swirl round the mouth like tidal wash in a south coast rock pool cleansing the taste buds with the efficiency of lime sorbet. Traditional apple cider and manuka honey spread intently over the tongue with flavours that are incredibly pure yet as complex, powerful and pitch-perfect as the beautiful song of the tiny Bellbird. The minimal level of residual sweetness hides coyly behind a paragon of jaw clenching acidity while a reassuringly firm structural backstop conveys a no-nonsense approach. The majority of the action is up front yet a decidedly biscuity complexity ensures the flavour persists long after swallowing. Truly a wine to enjoy from dawn till dusk!


Technical Information:

Harvest date: 15 - 18 March 2011
Brix at Harvest:  20.5 to 22.1
Final Alcohol: 12.7%
pH: 2.85
Total Acidity: 7.65g/l
Residual Sugar: 4.0g/l
Bottling Date: 19 October 2011
Disgorged 8 November 2013
Release Date: 17 November 2013
Cellaring: 1 - 4 years