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 year 2020 saw the first February with no rainfall in recorded history. The rains eventually arrived, with some particularly late storms—into May and even the very beginning of June. The late spring rainfall produced a good water profile in the soil at the beginning of the growing season. As a result, the fruit set was variable in our Chardonnay vineyards, bringing lower yields but high-quality fruit. For our Knights Valley Estate Chardonnay vineyards, 2020 was overall a cooler growing season punctuated with a series of heat spikes in August and September. The Chardonnay harvest spanned six weeks, with the first Ma Belle-Fille block harvested on August 19 and the last Belle Côte block coming in on September 30.