The grapes for Belle Côte are grown at 1,700 to 1,800 feet above sea level. The high elevation, in combination with a more sheltered site, create conditions for a long and slow ripening. The resulting wine offers the broadest, fattest fruit profile of our four single vineyard Chardonnays, with clean citrus notes, exotic lychee and our signature wet stone-like minerality.
The 2017 growing season began with abundant rainfall, ending California’s long drought. Spring weather was cool but dry, resulting in an extended blooming period and some shatter. Vines were vigorous thanks to the winter rains and aggressive canopy management and fruit thinning brought the crop into optimal balance. Warmer than normal conditions after veraison accelerated ripening and required careful irrigation to mitigate dehydration. A return of cooler conditions allowed our Chardonnay to gradually reach perfect ripeness. Picking was completed on September 28 with a
slightly smaller than normal harvest, resulting in a forward, exotic vintage of Chardonnay with wines showing uncommon richness.
As the oldest of the four Peter Michael estate Chardonnay vineyards, Belle Côte exemplifies how consistently these mountain vineyard sites produce exceptionally high-quality Chardonnay. Given the naturally cool climate of the vineyard’s high elevation, and the fact that the site is sheltered from the hot afternoon sun by its southeastern exposure and a stand of trees on its western border, the vines are exceptionally slow to ripen. For this site, the growing season typically extends into October, two to three weeks longer than most Chardonnay vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
Very intense and powerful, the nose reveals hedonistic aromas of lychee nut, rose petal and orange blossom, with a background of mineral, candied orange, yellow peach, crème brûlée, nougat, whole nut and toasted almond. The
rich seamless palate is very creamy and weighty in the mouth. Notes of pain grillé, marmalade, brioche and hazelnut coupled with natural acidity and minerality complete the mouth feel. The 2017 Belle Côte is enjoyable now and will continue to develop for a decade or more.
Knights Valley, Sonoma County
September 13 - 20, 2017
100% naturally fermented using native yeast
100% barrel fermented in 100% French oak from selected artisan coopers
Barrel aged sur lies 12 months with weekly bâtonnage
Bottled unfined and unfiltered
February 6, 2019
April 1, 2019