2002 Peter Michael "Ma Belle-Fille" Knight's Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1065615 95-97 points 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)  (12/2003)

93 points 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)  (6/2004)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 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.  (5/2005)

93 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (6/2004)

92 points 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.  (4/2005)

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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).