1996 was a much hotter year than 1997, 1995, and 1994. While the 1996s are outstanding wines, in some cases the aromatics are more muted because of 1996's high heat. The Chardonnays from Peter Michael are easy to understand, but I am not sure Les Pavots is as fathomable. First of all, Les Pavots is made in a backward, Bordeaux-like style that does not offer the gush of jammy fruit so noticeable in many California Cabernets. However, this is an authoritatively rich wine overlaid with a structural profile that suggests the wine needs 4-5 years of cellaring - at least in top vintages such as California has experienced in the nineties. The black/ruby/purple-colored 1995 Les Pavots (a 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 13% Cabernet Franc blend), which achieved 13.9% alcohol naturally, reveals a sweet, tobacco, lavender, and cassis-scented nose, medium-bodied, tannic, elegant flavors, outstanding purity, ripeness, and length, yet a measured, restrained style. Less forthcoming than either the 1996 or 1994, this rich, nicely proportioned proprietary red is California's answer to a graceful Medoc.