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Owned by the esteemed French company Champagne Taittinger who founded the winery in 1987, Domaine Carneros has a highly visible 18th-century French chateau-style winery and salon overlooking rambling gardens in Carneros just off the Carneros Highway (12/121) at Duhig Road. The 36,900-acre property includes four different estate-managed vineyards, totaling 350 acres, all certified organic (the first sparkling winery in the United States with all estate vineyards certified).
95% of all fruit for Premier sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir is from estate vineyards. The still Pinot Noir program which was launched in 1992, includes Avant-Garde, Domaine Carneros Estate, The Famous Gate, increasing in cost and complexity in that order.
The founding sparkling winemaker and CEO has been Eileen Crane. She is the most experienced sparkling winemaker in the United States. The still Pinot Noir program has been under the direction of winemaker Zak Miller for the ten years prior to 2020. In April 2020, Crane announced her retirement and will transition out of her winemaking duties after the 2020 harvest. Zak miller will take over head winemaking chores.
The wines are sold on the website. At the salon, the wines may be tasted in flights, by the glass or by the bottle with table service and accompaniments such as caviar and artisan cheeses. The Art of Sparkling Wine Tour is offered three times a day. Private tours and tasting are also offered (800-716-2788).
2010 Domaine Carneros La Terre Promise Carneros Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $N/A. From the Domaine’s newest estate vineyard. Organic grapes. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, black raspberries and spice with a hint of stem in a good way. A savory wine with mushrooms and tobacco notes complimenting the middleweight berry and cherry flavors. Nicely balanced with supple tannins. Good (+). Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »
2007 Domaine Carneros Carneros Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.50, $35. Estate produced and bottled. 100% de-stemmed, whole berry fermentation. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels. Winemaker TJ Evans. · Lovely perfume which explodes out of the glass offering aromas of black raspberries, black cherries, spice, anise and cedar. Mediumbodied black cherry core which is enhanced by notes of herbs, oak and earth. Beautifully proportioned and balanced, silky in the mouth, and very easy to drink. This wine will find wide appeal. Very good. Reviewed June 8, 2010 ARTICLE »