1996 Peter Michael "Point Rouge" Sonoma County Chardonnay

SKU #930064 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 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. As the tasting notes and ratings evidence, the Chardonnays are slightly more bunched in scores and quality than in vintages such as 1995 and 1994. The 1996 Chardonnay Point Rouge may not equal the near perfection of the 1995, but it is an extremely powerful, fabulously concentrated, compelling wine by any standard of measure. In 1996, the acidity seems slightly lower, and the wine perhaps more evolved than recent examples, but this is a classically rendered Chardonnay, as well as a lesson in what can be achieved in California. A wine to satisfy both the intellect and palate, the rich 1996 Point Rouge provides plenty of honeyed citrus, buttery tropical fruits, full body, and exceptional purity and presence in the mouth. Aromatically complex (intensely fragrant) and extremely long, this thrilling Chardonnay should age for 2-4 years. All of Peter Michael's top wines, including the Chardonnays, are bottled without filtration. Readers should make it a point to visit this winery situated in Knights Valley, not far from the Napa/Sonoma county line. The quality is extraordinary, and the commitment and talent of the winery staff laudatory. Moreover, the winery seems committed to achieving even greater quality. (RP)  (12/1997)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Minerals, citrus zest and lemon cream on the nose. Very backward in the mouth; thick but kept under wraps by strong acidity. Chewy and tactile, but comes across as drier today than the Indigene and Mon Plaisir. Long, subtle back end hints at coconut. (ST)  (5/1998)

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Price: $159.99

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- 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, M√Ęcon, 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.

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.


- 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.
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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).