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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
We are bombarded of late by the news of men abusing their power. It can be overwhelming to listen to story after story after story about how men treat women. It is important to remember how many extraordinary women there are and many of them work in the wine industry. As I was thinking about this, I was reminded about my visit to Chêne Bleu Winery earlier this year.
Located in the Rhone Valley, with one foot in the northern Rhone and one foot in the southern Rhone and at the crossroads of four appellations: Gigondas, Cotes du Ventoux, Cotes du Rhone and Sequret, Chêne Bleu Winery is the project of the Rolet family.
Xavier and Nicole Rolet purchased the property in 1993 and spent the next 10 years restoring and renovating the 340-acre estate to include vineyards, the winery and Le Verrière, the former priory that now offers guest bedrooms and suites.
And, while Xavier (proprietor), and his brother-in-law Jean-Louis Gallucci (winemaker, cellar master and chief problem solver) are both key members of the team, at the heart of Chêne Bleu Winery is a team of extraordinary women.
Each week, it is my goal to share the one thing that stood out that week. It could be a wine, a cocktail, a dish or something, someone or somewhere that stood out among everything else. This week proved to be a challenge to find that one thing. I have spent the week traveling from the north to the south of France, visiting six regions and eight wineries. We have eaten a lot and tasted a lot of wine....and all of it was great! The breads, cheeses, butter are just a few to name. And there were so many one-of-a-kind experiences that I promise to share. But, if I have to pick one thing as the Please The Palate "pick-of-the-week," it is the Chêne Bleu Rosé 2016. I was first introduced to Chêne Bleu more than a year ago when I met owner Nicole Rolet in Los Angeles and wrote about her and her winery. At the time, I learned about her winery in the mountains which sits at the crossroads of four appellations in the Southern Rhone - Gigondas, Cotes du Ventoux, Cotes du Rhone and Sequret. I also had the pleasure to taste two of her wines - Abèlard, a grenache blend, and Hèloïse, a syrah blend.