2002 Peter Michael "Ma Belle-Fille" Knight's Valley Chardonnay
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Extraordinary aromas of orange blossoms, ripe apple skins, liquefied rocks, citrus oils, and a hint of tropical fruit soar from the glass of the 2002 Chardonnay Ma Belle Fille. The debut vintage of this 960-case cuvee, made from a vineyard at 2000 foot elevation, it is a full-bodied, beautifully pure, loaded effort. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(Peter Michael purchased this property at the top of the estate, at an altitude of 2,000 feet, in 1998 and planted the vines in 1999, using Hudson, Hyde, Mt. Eden and Calera clones) Bright yellow. Crystallized yellow fruits complicated by spices, coconut, fresh herbs, smoke and earth, with mineral and fern nuances. Fat, sweet and hugely rich, with an open-knit texture and superripe pineapple flavor. But there's firm structure underneath. Offers uncanny persistence for a chardonnay from very young vines. (ST)
From vineyards 1,900 feet up in the Mayacamas, a heavyweight Chard. The parts haven't knit together yet, but when they do, look out. Ripe pears and apricots, mangoes and vanilla, all drip with honey, in a creamy, soft texture. It has a long, dusty spice finish. Start drinking at the end of this year.
An ultrarich, saturated style, packed with opulent pear, fig, apricot and honeysuckle flavors, it is undeniably fat and succulent but with remarkable depth and persistence of flavor. Drink now through 2008.
Wine & Spirits
The first release from Peter Michael's newest vineyard, Ma Belle-Fille comes from the highest point on the estate, a southeast-facing slope. The vines, from four different selections of chardonnay, grow above the fog line at 1,800 to 2,000 feet. Their fruit from 2002 balances the full, toasty, caramelized influence of oak with scents of fresh yellow herbs and corn silk. Fresh apple holds in the end, integrating the oak and lees and finishing clean. Built to age.