I am always impressed with good domestic sparkling wine. That seemed to do the trick as I took two sickeningly sweet drinks back at the posh rooftop bar at the Archer Hotel in Napa and immediately reached for a bottle of Domaine Carneros. I was not disappointed. If you have never visited this stunning winery location in the Carneros region of Napa Valley, you will be in for a treat. Inspired by a French chateau in Champagne, Domaine Carneros towers over the valley, showcasing sweeping views of the Napa Valley. Claude Taittinger of famed Champagne house Taittinger, began his search for a good spot to make California Sparkling Wine in the late 1970s. Finally in 1987 he selected a 138-acre parcel in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley.
Domaine Carneros relies on the winemaking talents of Eileen Crane, who has worked more than 30 harvests. I had the great fortune to interview her last year (http://www.washingtonwineblog.com/blog/2018/9/20/interview-with-eileen-crane-ceo-and-winemaker-at-domaine-carneros) and she was a delight to talk wine with.
The new Domaine Carneros lineup was as good as I have ever tasted. Check out their 2015 Domaine Carneros ‘Brut Cuvee’ Sparkling Wine (WWB, 91) which is an insanely good value that has great balance and very good range considering the price. The show-stopper of the portfolio is their 2012 Domaine Carneros ‘Le Reve’ Sparkling Wine (WWB, 95) which stands tall among the best sparkling wines made in North America. The wine was initially inspired by Champagne Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne, as their tête-de-cuvée, and impresses with its remarkable combination of weight, tension and finesse. Learn more about these outstanding wines at https://www.domainecarneros.com Here are the new sparkling wines by Domaine Carneros
2015 Domaine Carneros ‘Brut Cuvee’ Sparkling Wine- A compelling blend of 51% Chardonnay with 57% Pinot Noir and 2% Pinot Gris, the 2015 ‘Brut Cuvee’ was aged for three and a half years prior to disgorgement and was given just a touch of dosage (.9%). The nose shows nice earthy undertones with biscuit and green apple aromatics that all meld together in the glass. The texture and refinement of the wine is really good, as Pazzaz apple, kumquat rind and shades of wild mushroom with sourdough bread all combine brilliantly on the palate. Fresh and filled with energy, this great new sparkling wine will have another decade ahead of it. Drink 2019-2029- 91
2015 Domaine Carneros ‘Brut Rose’ Sparkling Wine- The 2015 ‘Brut Rose’ by Domaine Carneros is a fantastic blend of 58% Pinot Noir with 42% Chardonnay that was aged for three years of the lees prior to disgorgement. Like the ‘Brut Cuvee’ only .09% dosage was added, as this wine shows slightly better flavor and aromatic range at a warmer temperature. Instantly you are hit with bright red fruits that enter the fray with fragrant white peach and shades of mulberry all marvelously collecting momentum aromatically. The freshness and balance of the wine is really nice as bright strawberry and guava flavors mingle with sourdough bread and shades of teaberry that all nicely combine on the palate. While fantastic in its youth this beautiful Rose Sparkling Wine will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2019-2029- 91
2013 Domaine Carneros ‘Late Disgorged’ Sparkling Wine- The 2013 Domaine Carneros ‘Late Disogrged’ Sparkling Wine is a seriously good effort from this warm vintage in the Carneros region. Weighing in at 12% alcohol, this underwent .8% dosage, as the wine is a blend of near equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The musty and earthy elements of the wine are quite pronounced aromatically with wild mushroom and shades of wet stone with lime zest infused French baguette all enter the fray aromatically. The elegance of the wine is wonderful as the silky mousse entices. Bright nectarine, kumquat, and Pazzaz apple flavors all mingle with shades of damp earth and Macadamia nut. This is seriously good now and will evolve gracefully for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2032- 93
2012 Domaine Carnets ‘La Reve’ Sparkling Wine- The 2012 ‘La Reve’ Sparkling Wine is a stunning new bottling by the talented winemaking team. The aromatics grip you with shades of melon, wet stone and lemon influseds Challah bread that all mingle together. The silky mousse really entices on the tongue with bright kumquat zest and lemon oil with shades of sourdough bread. The t3ezxutere even improves asl well as aromatically when the wine is consumed from a white wine glass. This is truly outstanding stuff that will cellar well for decades. Drink 2019-2035- 95
2016 Domaine Carneros ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir- The ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir by Domaine Carneros opens with ripe cola and blackberry syrup with shades of underbrush that all mingle together in the glass. The combination of freshness and weight is very good, as the acidity runs through dark and red fruit flavors with cola accents. Fruity and delicious, this wine will provide drinking enjoyment for the next five to seven years. Drink 2019-2025- 90
2016 Domaine Carneros ‘Le Ciel Serein’ Pinot Noir- The ‘Le Ceil Serein’ Pinot Noir is largely comprised of Dijon clone 667 (72%) as the wine spent fifteen months in 41% new French oak prior to bottling. The earthy tones from the Dijon clones are quite evident as forest floor and black truffle shavings march with cola and black cherry cordial aromas that all build nicely in the glass. The wine displays a soft mouthfeel, delivering medium-bodied red and dark fruit flavors that collide with minerals and earthy undertones. Outstanding in its youth, this complex and delicious Pinot Noir will cellar well for a decade. Drink 2019-2029- 92