Robert Parker 98
An eastern-facing slope on white, dusty soil, this vineyard is the latest of the Peter Michael Chardonnay vineyards to ripen each year. The site is planted mainly to Old Wente and See clone selections with a little Rued clone. Planted in 1990, these are the oldest vines on the estate. A tank sample due to be bottled within the next couple of days, the 2019 Chardonnay Belle Cote’s nose needs a little coaxing to reveal elegantly expressed scents of lemon curd, lime leaves and Bosc pears plus suggestions of baker’s yeast, toasted almonds and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is beautifully poised if a little youthfully closed, revealing glimpses at loads of citrus, savory and mineral nuances with a racy line and creamy texture, finishing on a lingering zesty note. 2,396 cases were made.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2038
Jeb Dunnuck 97
Another estate Knight Valley release, the 2019 Chardonnay Belle-Cote is one of the richer, more powerful Chardonnays in the lineup. Buttered lemon, flower oil, toasted almond, honeysuckle, and brioche are some of the nuances here, and it’s full-bodied, with a layered, multi-dimensional mouthfeel, integrated acidity, and a distinct sense of minerality on the finish. It’s another rich, concentrated, age-worthy Chardonnay from this team that will have a solid decade of overall longevity.
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2031
The 2019 Chardonnay Belle-Cote emerges from the oldest vines on the estate. White flowers, mint, pear, white pepper and citrus give the Belle-Cote a brilliant upper register that really distinguishes it in this lineup. Vivid and sculpted, the Belle-Cote is wonderfully expressive today. I can’t wait to taste it with a few years of bottle age. At times, the Belle-Cote has a Riesling-like aromatic presence that is incredibly distinctive.
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2034