2002 Peter Michael "Belle Côte" Knights Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1008737 95-98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2002 Chardonnay Belle Cote (2,780 cases) is a big offering. Filled with pure tropical fruit characteristics, it is a full-bodied, exotic Chardonnay offering up tremendous notes of smoky hazelnuts as well as lychee nuts presented in a ripe, gorgeously balanced style with a decidedly California personality, but with more definition than most California Chardonnays of this size and intensity. It is made primarily from the old Wente clone of Chardonnay planted on clay-dominated soils. (RP)  (12/2003)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright yellow color with a slight haze. Highly complex nose melds fresh pineapple, grapefruit, lemon and crushed stone, all lifted by a strong citrus rind element. Very dense, rich and bright; uncompromisingly dry but superconcentrated and wonderfully nuanced from the start. Offers a superb range of flavors, including grapefruit, stone, lichee, and a delicate suggestion of rose petal, plus hints of exotic fruits. Finishes with youthful austerity and superb grip. Shows the typical viscosity of this bottling, but seems more backward than the 2001 at a similar stage. 93+ (ST)  (6/2004)

93 points Wine Spectator

 A rich and deeply flavorful young white, brimming with layers of fig, apricot, honeysuckle and light toasty oak, hazelnut and nutmeg scents, finishing with a long, detailed, mouthcoating aftertaste. (JL)  (6/2004)

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).