2010 Peter Michael "Belle Côte" Knights Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1089754 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2010 Chardonnay Belle Cote (1,950 cases) enjoys 10-12 months of barrel aging then rests in tank for a few months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. A light gold color with a greenish hue is followed by stunning aromas of mango, pineapple, white peach and honeysuckle. This full-bodied, rich Chardonnay boasts terrific minerality as well as good acidity. Still somewhat reserved, but bursting with potential, this beauty can be drunk now and over the next 6-10 years. (RP)  (12/2013)

93 points Vinous

 From the oldest Chardonnay vines on the estate, the 2010 Chardonnay Belle-Cote, is all about structure. Crushed rocks, lemon, white flowers and smoke all take shape as the 2010 opens up. There is plenty of intrigue and complexity in this classy, beautifully delineated Chardonnay. (AG)  (7/2013)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Hazy yellow color. Candied orange and pear on the pungent, intensely perfumed nose. Lush and creamy on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering palate-staining citrus and pit fruit flavors with complicating notes of honeysuckle and chalky minerals. Finishes broad and chewy, with excellent thrust and lingering spiciness. The most exotic of this set of Chardonnays today and the one that I would drink first. (ST)  (5/2012)

92 points Wine Spectator

 There is much to admire in this complex mix of anise, fig, citrus, tangerine, hazelnut and melon flavors. The texture is what separates the 2010s, and here it is a bit raw and coarse. The intense finish shows a dash of smokiness. Needs time. (JL)  (7/2012)

K&L Notes

Sir Peter Michael founded his winery in 1982 in Knights Valley. After hiring Helen Turley as winemaker in 1987, the label rose to the upper echelons of cult recognition and the rest is history. Belle Cote was the first estate-grown Chardonnay made by Peter Michael Winery. It is selected to showcase the potential of the estate's mountain vineyards.

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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, 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.

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.


- 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.
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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).