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Barrel of Fun
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Boating Calendar
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Barrel of Fun

By Mary Swift-Swan

Phyllis and Barry Rogers purchased the Chalk Hill winery Chateau Felice in 1997. A new wine from Chateau Felice being released is “Tall Woman Likes Red.” This big bold beautiful red wine was an inspiration from Phyllis, who took a picture of a her shadow in a cleared field that made her look tall. Loving the picture and together with winemaker daughter Genevieve Llerena, Phyllis worked to blend the rich bold new taste. The experience of blending with Genevieve was such fun for Phyllis and she decided it was an exceptional way to learn more about wine. As a result, the Rogers family now makes it possible for customers to blend their own wine barrel with guidance, great food and a whole lot of fun.

Genevieve’s husband, Patrick Llerena, adds zest to the hard working family, seen shaking up Zin-tini’s - with Chateau Felice’s own Vermillion and Vodka. During the event Patrick was part of the team of hosts, product spokesperson and bartender at Chez Felice, the recently opened restaurant on the “Green” in downtown Windsor with French influenced cuisine lead by Executive Chef Laurie Souza. Patrick, an upbeat marketer, gave the lucky attendees a preview of their new Barrel Program. A fine introduction to the unique opportunity at Chateau Felice. Clients can now contact the Chalk Hill vineyard, Chateau Felice, to enroll in a blending session where they can concoct a blend of their own choosing, with expert guidance, aid in designing their own label having a barrel of fun doing it.

The Barrel Blending Trial participants were treated to the fine fare of Chez Felice that included: Pate au Porto, Valhrona Chicken Mole Poblano, Asiago Cheese Crisp and Duck Rillettes with County Bread served with fine wines paired with each selection. The main course was Cedar-planked Salmon with sun-dried tomato marinade, couscous and vegetable pilaf in Tomato broth. While the private Barrel party filled the 20-seat restaurant and 6-place wine tasting bar, 57 people had to find a second choice of a place to dine. Chez Felice has only been open since spring. It is a good thing happening in Windsor. The restaurant serves and sells Chateau Felice-Chalk Hill wines in addition to other Sonoma base boutique wines plus a selections of Roger’s private collection wines.

Chateau Felice wines are offered at a wide range in price; from under $10 for casual drinking wines to premium and aged wines that range from $20 to $70 per bottle. Each Barrel produces 25 cases. Barrel prices range from $2,400 to $4,100 per barrel. It is a great deal. There are not any other known programs of this type currently available in California’s wine country. Barrel Program Pricing requires 50% deposit at Harvest and 50% at bottling for 2004 vintage. Pricing choices:
1. “You make it” or “We make it”
2. French Oak, American Oak or Used Oak Barrels
3. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay as the primary wine in the blend.

Then the fun starts. The award winning Bordeaux style blend, 1999 ‘American Celebration’ wine is primarily a Cab with a specific blend of Merlot, 2 reds. ‘Tall Woman Likes Red’ is made of 3 reds, Cab, Merlot and Zinfandel. When blending, with Phyllis as a coach at my side, my bottle to take home from the event was a blend of 60% Cab, 20% Merlot and 5% Zin. I can hardly wait to open it but we want to let the flavors mellow just a bit longer.

Chateau Felice has just started a new very affordable option to the program, based on the fun and success of the initial barrel blending sessions. A Winemaker’s Experience results in a minimum purchase of just 2 cases. They are planning on holding the next blending session Saturday, October 9. For more information contact Chateau Felice located at 10603 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 836-9011.