Written By Maia Parish - Tales of a Wine Mistress - July 10 2021
French Chateau in the heart of Napa Valley, serving bubbles, breathtaking views, and caviar, of course!
Finally, went on my rescheduled ten-day California Press Tour in May. My daughter, Ms. Ross was my constant companion during the tour.We will discuss traveling your kids in another post. We had a long day driving from San Jose and got into Napa around 3 pm. I had not grasped the reservations policy due to the Covid Restrictions. At, the last minute, I contacted Domaine Carneros Winery to see if there was an opening. I was fortunate to secure the last seating and rushed to the location.
Domaine Carneros is a grandiose sparkling wine brand located in the heart of Napa Valley. The house can be seen far off the hillside looking like something out of well… France. The drive up is breathtaking. I have not been to France…yet, I felt transported.
This location has been on my list for a while. This year I made time for a visit. The Chateau is a Landmark within Napa Valley. When you walk up you can not help but become awestruck. The Chateau was inspired by the classic 18th century Château de la Marquetterie in Champagne, 0 is the home of the parent Champagne house Taittinger. The estate was built in 1989. The Sunroom and Patio area was completed by 2018.
Domaine Carneros is known for its sparkling wines. They use the methode traditionelle. The traditional method is the process used in the Champagne region of France to produce Champagne. The same method is used in other regions to produce sparkling wine. In Spain, the method is used to produce Cava, in Portugal to produce Espumante and in Italy to produce Franciacorta. Sparkling wine is being produced everywhere.
Why would a Champagne producer build an exact replica in California? The grapes of course. The wine comes from the Carneros Appellation. Los Carneros AVA (also known as Carneros AVA) is an American Viticultural Area. This AVA includes parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties within California, U.S.A. It is located north of San Pablo Bay. All of the grapes come from six estate vineyards that cover 400 acres.
The Chateau sits on the top of the hill as you round the bend. The building is glorious from the outside. The grounds are meticulously pruned with grand staircases lead to the two huge doors. There are fountains, columns, marble floors, a massive fireplace, and a dining space.
The estate appointed Eillen Crane as the CEO in 1987. Mrs. Crane is known as an expert in sparkling wine and was responsible for developing the Taittinger style, with California. She retired in 2020 and the estate chose CEO Remi Cohen to take over the Chateau. While on the visit, I was fortunate enough to meet Mrs. Cohen. Her energy was very calming and receptive.
My wine specialist was named Jake. Jake was elegant and casual, like most Californians. I was seated in the Sun Room with floor to celing folding glass Patio Doors. You can sit in one of three dining areas. There is the main dining room with marble floors and a massive fireplace. Or, you can sit in the Sunroom or the Terrace. The view overlooks all of Napa and is memorizing. Can you say wedding destination? The estate hosts 400 acres of vineyards. There are 275 acres of Pinot Noir and 125 acres of Chardonnay.
Domaine Carneros produces still wine however, I am here for the bubbles. There are five tasting packages to choose from. I chose the Sparkling Wine Sampler. This sampler retails for $40.
The sampler includes four sparkling wines. You get two ounces of wine for each sparkling wine. My flight included the 2015 Ultra Brut, 2016 Estate Brut Cuvée, 2017 Brut Rose, and 2016 Verméil Demi-Sec. My palate is on the drier side lately. My favorite selection was the 2015 Ultra Brut. I savor the delicate bubbles and choose to have a bite with my babies.
The Ultra Brut is light flavors, of lime, minerals, fine bubbles. Ultra Brut is a style of sparkling wine that is rarely produced. The wine tends to be very dry with high acid, and uber minerality.
The menu boasts Pairings options and Caviar Service by Tsar Nicoulai Caviar. The Pairings menu includes Charcuterie, Cheese, and Vegan Board options. The Caviar service is from a world-renowned producer of small-batch, sustainably-raised American Sturgeon caviar. Available individually, or as a caviar flight.
I chose the Caviar which included a 1 oz of Classic Caviar by Tsar Nicoulai, a 6 piece French-style Blini, Crème Fraiche, and kettle potato chips. I am not a real fan of the blini, so I asked for a side of potato chips. Mind your business!
I sat there by in the Sunroom on this gorgeous day, sipping sparkling wine and noshing on caviar. Felt like Queen Ramonda ( his mama aka Angela Bassett ) from Black Panther and grateful for my wine lifestyle. Sometimes you have to sit back and simply be grateful. This certainly was an entire mood!
Domaine Carneros has secured a place in my heart. I have been to Napa many times. What you came to learn about this region is that you have your favorites. I have a set routine when I am in the valley. Domaine Carneros will be added to the limited roster of must-visits each time I am in the area. Bubbles, Caviar, and the Views!!
Maia Parish is a certified sommelier, wine judge, wine journalist, and entrepreneur. She lives in Denver, is an opinionated foodie, mother to Ms. Ross, and lover of all things Marvel Comics, Star Wars, and Star Trek!! She has a passion for hip hop, caviar, wine farming, and tiny houses. Food and wine are my soulmates.