Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Jewel of Carneros

Domaine Carneros is the jewel of Carneros. I have dubbed it this because to drive up to it simply takes your breath away. It is a truly beautiful sight to behold! As you stand in front of it, the staircase leading up to it may look a bit intimidating but it is worth the climb to reach the terrace and sample the wonderful wines that await you inside.

I have visited several times and the gorgeous view and world class wines keep bringing me back. How did this spectacular palace come to be? Domaine Carneros is owned by the renowned Taittinger family of Champagne, France. The winery was founded in 1987 in the Carneros appellation south of the town of Napa--the perfect area for the cultivation of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The cool climate and proximity to the San Pablo Bay make for the perfect scenario when it comes to making sparkling wines and amazing Pinot Noirs! To date, Domaine Carneros produces a wide variety of well-loved sparkling and still wines. Their portfolio is amazing. As a veteran of many a day of sitting on their terrace tasting sparkling and still samplers, I can’t say enough great things about the place! And its allure keeps me coming back for more!

Recently, I decided to recreate the experience at home, tasting two of their famed wines--the 2006 Estate Brut Cuvee and the 2007 Estate Pinot Noir. I’d been hanging on to the 2006 Estate Brut Cuvee for awhile, having purchased it last year. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this sparkling wine is crisp, simple, beautiful! And if you will notice, it is one of the few American sparkling wines that actually has a vintage year on it. It was bottle aged three years before its release in 2009. And at $26 a bottle, it’s a great representation of the quality this winery offers.

The 2007 Estate Pinot Noir is their “entry-level” Pinot Noir. I received this bottle as a sample and was amazed at the complexity of this wine. Multi-layered with dark cherry, raspberry, cloves, and chocolate. Super silky, smooth finish. At $35, this wine is such a value and really delicious!

I highly recommend spending an afternoon here, sampling different wines on their terrace. It’s romantic, it’s fun, and it’s an unforgettable experience! And if you can't make it in person, Domaine Carneros wines are distributed nationwide and are also available for direct shipping through their website,

Domaine Carneros is located at 1240 Duhig Road in the Carneros region of southern Napa. They are open daily for tastings from 10-6. They also offer tours. Do yourself a big favor: visit them! It's a wonderful addiction!!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see a classy, stylish American winery/tasting room that isn't gimmicky or trying to make up for lackluster wine. Great!