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. 100% barrel fermentation using only natural yeasts gives flavours that complement the inherent quality of the grapes, creating a wine of stunning complexity and balance. The nose is distinctly powerfully hedonistic and intense with aromas of rose petal, lychee nut, orange blossom and acacia, with a background of mineral, yellow peach, candied orange, greengage, toasted almond and nougat. Creamy and weighty in the mouth, the palate is seamless and rich. Accents of pain grillé, almond, honey, hazelnut and brioche, with crisp natural acidity and minerals complete the mouth feel. Approachable now, Belle Côte will blossom with two years of cellaring and will continue to develop or a decade or more.