Gently rolling hills cascade endlessly away from Domaine Carneros' 18th-century chï¿½teau-style estate. Seated between the Mayacamas Mountains and San Pablo Bay, the 36,900-acre property is rich in all elements favoring outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two of the essential varietals in the winery's award-winning portfolio of sparkling wines.
The winery's four different estate-managed vineyards, adding up to a total of 350 acres, are all certified organic. Domaine Carneros' president and chief winemaker, Eileen Crane, spearheaded the winery's green movement almost 20 years ago. "We've always taken an active role to preserve the health of the land," says Eileen. "Our first commitment is to produce the best wines, and we believe you achieve this through healthy vines. So becoming organic was a natural for us from the start."
The benefit of organic viticulture materializes over time, yielding healthier vines capable of producing higher-quality grapes. Certification is an arduous three-year process. In April 2008, Domaine Carneros gained its certification and the distinction of becoming the first sparkling winery in the United States with all estate vineyards certified.
A visit to this dedicated green winery is a treat on any day of the week. The breathtaking chï¿½teau sits regally on a small knoll overlooking its vineyards. Seated tastings are offered outside on the terrace and in a delightful salon appointed with tall windows to showcase the magnificent views. It's a great place to toast the New Year, Valentine's Day, or a romantic anniversary. It is also the place to be in the event of a new release--like in October 2009, when Blanc de Noir, a sparkling wine made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, was introduced. In December 2009, Domaine Carneros celebrates the holidays and the second vintage of Le Rï¿½ve Rosï¿½, a wine produced in a very limited quantity to be enjoyed and sold exclusively at the winery.
This magnificent winery, backed by commanding views of Carneros' low-lying hills, has every right to celebrate. In a time when resources demand respect, it exercises responsible leadership in order to provide exceptional wines labeled with environmental sensitivity. How does the green movement taste? Elegantly handcrafted, complex, classic, and delicious, the wines of Domaine Carneros are a celebration unto themselves.
What To Buy:
ཁ Vintage Brut Sparkling, pear, citrus peel, creamy finish $26
Cuvï¿½e de la Pompadour Brut Rosï¿½ Sparkling, strawberries, hint of peach, a true Brut $36
ག Estate Pinot Noir Chinese five-spice, berries, herbal elements, wisp of smoke $35
༿ Le Rï¿½ve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling, white fruit, ginger, crï¿½me brï¿½lï¿½e, toasted nuts $85
800.716.2788; Fax: 707.257.3020
1240 Duhig Rd
Napa, CA 94559
Tasting Room Open Daily 10-5:45
Take Hwy 121/12 for 4 miles southwest of Napa or 6 miles southeast of Sonoma to Duhig Rd.