1996 Peter Michael - Belle Cote 750ml

USA - California - Sonoma - Knights Valley/ White / Chardonnay   |     Watch

WA 93   WS 93   IWC 89  
1996 Peter Michael - Belle Cote  Front View
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Professional Reviews For This Wine

Wine Advocate | Rating: 93

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. Two-thousand cases were produced of the 1996 Chardonnay Belle Cote from Peter Michael's 15-acre vineyard in Knight's Valley. This is the finest example of Belle Cote I have yet tasted. A beautifully aromatic wine, with leesy, Burgundian-like aromas, in addition to those of white peaches, citrus, and honey, this full-bodied, well-endowed Chardonnay possesses low acidity, a lush, open-knit, expansive texture, and mouthfilling levels of extract. This is an opulent, flamboyant, exceptionally complex Chardonnay that should drink well for 1-3 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.

Drink Dates: 1997-2000
Author: Robert Parker
Issue: 114

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Wine Spectator | Rating: 93

Elegant and understated at first, with delicate pear, tangerine and vanilla flavors that build into a more complex and concentrated wine, with hazelnut, citrus and fig.

Drink Dates: 1998-2002
Author: James Laube

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International Wine Cellar | Rating: 89

Complex aroma of beeswax, roasted hazelnut, lemon zest and tangerine. Thick, broad and tactile in the mouth; conveys a fat impression but could use more depth of flavor. Chewy but quite dry.

Author: Stephen Tanzer
Issue: Issue 78

Professional content appears courtesy of Vinfolio

Average rating: 92, based on 3 reviews
More Vintages and Sizes of Peter Michael - Belle Cote :

Collector Data For This Wine

76 bottles owned by 28 collectors.

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About This Producer

Peter Michael's estate vineyards (founded in 1982) are what make his wines truly exceptional. Sugarloaf Ranch sits high above Knights Valley in eastern Sonoma County, and from its rocky volcanic soil come Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Alexander Mountain Estate Vineyard, above Alexander Valley, provides additional Chardonnay. All Peter Michael wines are site-driven single vineyard bottlings, whether from the estate or the limited sourced appellations. The line-up of estate wines is supplemented by a Pinot Noir from Pisoni Vineyard called "Le Moulin Rouge."

See other similar producers: Martinelli Winery, Flowers Vineyard and Winery, Dierberg Vineyard

Wine Varietal: Chardonnay

Arguably the best dry white wine grape out there, Chardonnay is grown all over the globe. In addition to being the backbone of fine white Burgundies, Chardonnay is also one of the three major grape varieties used in producing Champagne. Susceptible to a myriad of complications, Chardonnay berries are relatively small, thin-skinned, fragile, and oxidize easily. Chardonnay grapes can be sensitive to winemaking techniques and more difficult to handle from harvest to bottling than many other varieties. Some producers will use malolactic fermentation (where harsher malic acid is turned into softer lactic acid and carbon dioxide) to reduce crispness and acidity and add a creamy, buttery texture to wines. The "oaky" character of some Chardonnays comes from fermenting or aging which takes place in oak barrels. Once barrel-aged, Chardonnay may take on notes of vanilla or toast. While Chardonnay is produced worldwide, the best can be found in France, the United States, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, and South Africa. Typical descriptors for Chardonnay include mineral, green apple, citrus, tropical fruits, vanilla, butter and smokiness.

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