2007 Zinfandel Estate
Zinfandel •Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Chalk Hill
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Everything Nice
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Petite Verdot to Chateau Felice to procure their boldly delicious 2007 Estate Zinfandel, a wine that is much sought-after by Zinfandel fans around the world
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Chateau Felice
Wine Subject: 2007 Chateau Felice Zinfandel Estate
Winemaker: Tami Collins
Backgrounder: The Chalk Hill AVA (American Viticultural Appellation) is technically a sup-appellation of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley AVA. Most of the vineyards in the Chalk Hill AVA are located on the western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, near the town of Windsor. Vineyards here, which are host to a wide range of grape varietals, are characterized by their volcanic soils that have a chalky appearance. Read Agent Petite Verdot’s review of today’s wine, followed by he winemaker interview, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Mesmerizing, in a deep, dark purple with glittering black cherry undertones and plum edges. Long thin legs fall slowly after swirling.
Smell – Sweet and Spicy! Delicate vanilla and nutty oak are accentuated by fennel seed, black licorice and cassis. Once decanted, white pepper and a dark fruit medley come to the forefront.
Feel- A medium bodied Zin, touting supple velvety tannins and beautiful layers! In the mouth, this wine delights with wonderfully balanced viscosity.
Taste – The best of both worlds, with dark fruit dancing in first! Sweet prune, dried black cherries, fig and blueberry, complimented by a mild minerality, soft cassis, anise, mild pepper and a hint of Asian spice and oregano.
Finish- This zZn has a long soft finish! Velvety tannins linger for a moment and the dissipate across the palate leaving behind slight notes of blueberry! Positively Beautiful.
Conclusion – I loved this wine and declare to be a Zinfandel that is not to be missed! The supple dart fruit, accentuated by the mild spice make this wine a real treat. Sultry tannins and voluptuous fruit make it an ideal pair for Lamb shank and wild rice, or open and serve with mild blue cheese and honey!
Following is a recap of our original mission to Chateau Felice, from February, 2008:
Our own in-house Wine Spies Agents do a great job (if I may say so myself) of keeping current with wines, wineries, trends, and industry buzz – all in order to bring you the best wines, the rarest finds and the best deals available.
Like any good Intelligence Agency (not and oxymoron in our case) we rely on our growing network of spies to help keep us up-to-the-second on goings on in our world.
The wine industry and the individual wines therein are difficult things to track; Sure, vintage charts are a great place to look for general guidelines on which wines to choose from which regions on what year, but these charts leave so many variables unaccounted for.
What you really need is old-fashioned human data gathering and intelligence reporting. That’s where our network comes in. We receive daily Flash Traffic messages from a variety of sources, from winery employees like tasting room personnel, sales-folk or the even the winemakers themselves, to brokers, distributors and members of the wine press. All of our connections and data-collection points add up to one thing for you, our Operative: The best possible wines. The fact that our special winery relationships save you a few dollars can’t hurt either.
One example of the power of our network can be illustrated with today’s wine; The rich, flavorful and wonderfully balanced 2002 American Celebration from Chateau Felice was running low at the winery. Our W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) reports this wine as a Must-Drink and when we received reports that supplies were low, I set about to secure an allotment for our Operatives…. and succeeded!
Spring into action now, dear Operative, and grab a few bottles for yourself. Before we run out.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Chateau Felice vineyards and and winery be seen in this satellite photo, along with other Chalk Hill Road wineries..
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
GOLD MEDAL – Grand Harvest Awards
About This Wine:
It is kind of a surprise! On one hand there is an explosion of fruit. on the other the subtle hints of vegetables. Put together and you have an incredible Zin. Breath deeply of the peppery fennel aromas. taste the hint of salted licorice on the front of your palate. while dried cherries and roasted ground coffee takes over then back. As it goes down savor the lingering dark berry fruit and rum. with a touch of wild vegetables.
About Chateau Felice:
Our award-winning wines are estate grown on 25 hillside acres and include two different styles of Chardonnay, several delicious Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux style blends, wonderful food-friendly Zinfandel, an intensely earthy Syrah, and (frankly) FABULOUS Cabernet Franc and Merlot. All of these are hand-crafted in small lots.
Chateau Felice farms 25 acres planted to five different varieties of wine grapes. These vines, carefully tended to produce a low-yield, allow the winemaker to craft small lots of extraordinary wine. The goal is to allow the unique essence of these grapes to come through, providing true varietal character in the aromas and flavors of each wine. Similar to her neighbors at the Chalk Hill Winery, Chateau Felice features rolling hills sloping upward in every direction from the road and lakes.
Slopes and hillsides have long been considered prime winegrowing locations, as they allow for better drainage and sun exposure. Chateau Felice has nine different blocks of vineyard, each with a slightly different exposure. The primarily clay-loam soils have a generous supply of water at their disposal, should the need arise. Chateau Felice’s winegrowing philosophy echoes that of many of the best vineyards in California and Europe – Great wines are made in the vineyard. Only by producing the best possible fruit can truly world-class wines be produced. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Syrah and Zinfandel surround the winery. Chateau Felice Estate Vineyards are blessed with a combination of climate factors that contribute to the production of extraordinary wine grapes.
The orientation of the little valley encourages the influence of the cool coastal air in the morning and evening. Because of the geographical orientation and altitude, however, the vineyards are protected from lingering excess moisture that can lead to mold and rot. The vines are trellised to allow maximum exposure of the grapes to the evening breezes, while shielding the grapes from the hottest of the sun’s rays. The height of the hillsides that face each other to form the valley causes sunset to come early, but the soil composition retains the day’s heat, to the benefit of the ripening fruit. Constant observation by the winemaking team – and the tending of the vineyards by the vineyard management company – ensures that the grapes that will become Chateau Felice wines are of the highest quality and most representative of the terroir in the Chalk Hill Appellation.
The quality of the grapes is directly affected by the quantity of production, with lower yield leading to higher-quality grapes. Chateau Felice cuts back excess fruit throughout the growing season. As the grapes progress toward the harvest, some vines may have uneven ripening and those that are not progressing satisfactorily are also removed. Then, just prior to harvest, a final pass is made to remove those bunches that are damaged or do not meet quality standards. The result is that at harvest, only the best grapes are processed into the must.