Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Domaine Carneros - Napa Valley

Napa Valley - ain't it grand.

California seems to have it all - beaches, mountains, great food, and oh yes great wine. I have been dying to check out the Napa Valley wineries since I got here. Luckily, our visitors from Boston gave us an excuse to visit a couple of weeks ago.

Nick graciously planned our entire day in Napa. We were going to start off with some sparkling wines and then move on to wineries that specialized in sauvignon blancs and cabernets.

Sippin' on some bubbly.

Our first stop - Domaine Carneros - vines covered the rolling green hills and valleys. We picked an absolutely perfect day - sunny, warm, and breezy. Domaine Carneros was opened in 1987 by Taittinger. Taittinger winery is one of the top producers of Champagne in France. Partnering with Kobrand Corporation, Taittinger declared that its future lay in American wine and established these vineyards.


The wine vats.

Nick arranged for us to tour the vineyard and chateau, sampling five wines along the way. For $25, this was a great bargain. Our tour guide, the charming Jean Claude, led us through the beautiful vines ripe with chardonnay and pinot noir grapes and poured us full glasses of their 2005 vintage Brut. The refreshing effervescent sip tasted of apple and melon, the perfect way to start our day.

Brut Rose.

Domaine Carneros makes three sparkling wines - Brut, Brute Rose, and Blanc de Blancs. The Blanc de Blancs is french for white wine made from white grapes. This luxurious wine made from 100% Chardonnay certainly had a more acidic, citrus flavor than the Brut. I preferred the Brut for its smoother flavor, but the Blanc de Blancs is consistently rated one of the top wines in the country.

Pinot Noir.

After sampling three of the sparkling wines (although I am not sure if drinking three full glasses can be called ) we moved on to the Pinot Noirs. Domaine Carneros makes three Pinot Noirs. You may remember the Pinot Noir, made insanely popular by the film Sideways. While, no one in our party ended up drinking straight from the spit barrel, we were feeling a bit lightheaded by the time we finished our fourth glass. I was a fan of the medium priced Pinot Noir, the 2006 Domaine-Carneros Estate. Tasting of cherries, with spicy notes of pepper, this wine was smooth to the finish.

While I enjoyed the other vineyards we visited that day, Domaine Carneros is level above all the rest. I would certainly recommend the wine tour for your next trip to Napa.

1 comment:

Bodysong said...

that cold brut rose looks divine! Did you know that www.domainecarneros.com is also certified organic? In fact their sparkling wines are the 1st and only certified sparklers available domestically.
In addition to Domaine Carneros’ commitment to environmentally friendly growing practices, in 2003 the winery installed the largest photovoltaic solar collection system then existent on any winery in the world. Other natural energy facilities at the winery include lighting by skylights, night cooling systems to maintain cellar temperature and building into the earth for insulation. The vineyard also has owl boxes placed in all four vineyards, which are inhabited and help maintain rodent management.
cool stuff!