2002 American Celebration
Red Blend •Chalk Hill
California: Sonoma County
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Chateau Felice Winery.
SUPER SONOMA TUESDAY ALERT!
Some of the best wines in the world are made right here in Sonoma County. Every Tuesday, The Wine Spies proudly feature one great Sonoma County winery.
Mission Codename: Agent Red and the Golden Felice
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Investigate reports that American Celebration, an Borbeaux-style blend from Chateau Felice, is selling out. If reports are true, procure a quantity of this great wine for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Chateau Felice
Wine Subject: 2002 American Celebration Red Table Wine
Winemaker: Tami Collins
Agent Red receives a tip that Chateau Felice is running low on their Bordeaux-style American Celebration red table wine. Chateau Felice has long been regarded as producing some Sonoma County’s finest red wines. Find out if Agent Red is successful in securing a handful of their remaining cases of this incredible wine for our Operatives – before the winery runs out! Read his tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Like a blend straight from Bordeaux, France, this wine has a deep garnet and almost purple heart, with concentrated color right out to the edges of the glass. When swirled, this wine shows a tight and springy surface with the skinniest legs that creep down the glass
Smell – Lush and concentrated with deeply aromatic layers of fruit and chocolate and spice. Inhale deeply of chocolate cherry, smoky plum-raspberry tart, blackberry, blueberry jam, cinnamon, mild espresso and a hint of mint and sage
Feel – VERY round and very light on the tongue, this wine absolutely glides across your pallet before its soft tannins gently purse your lips and add a slight dryness
Taste – This wine has a flavor profile that almost exactly mimics its aromatic qualities. Add to this, additional flavors of cranberry, currant and eucalyptus
Finish – Lushly long and lingering with a warmth, a sweet frutiness and a mild dryness that lingers and lingers
Conclusion – The Wine Spies are on a roll here, with great wine after great wine! I don’t mind getting blustery about a wine that is this good and I would suggest that you try this incredible and carefully crafted blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc (this last of which is this wines secret weapon in my opinion). The fruit present in this wine is so beautifully integrated and so balanced that its not hard to see why it continues to be one of Chateau Felice’s most sought after red wines.
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 vineayrds and and winery be seen in this satellite photo, along with other Chalk Hill Road wineries..
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
This exquisite Bordeaux-blend will transport you straight to France with a bouquet of velvety smoked red plum, black current, cedar and eucalyptus. As it caresses your tongue with blackberry jam, and warm spices of cinnamon, you can feel it all leading to a sophisticated finish of wild-picked mint, chocolate dipped bing cherry, espresso and soft sage.
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.
Production: 270 cases
Varietals: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, / 10% Cabernet Franc
Oak: French – 40% new
Fermentation: 38 days
Aging: barrel-aged 48 months