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Located in the heart of the Carneros region, Domaine Carneros Winery stands alone as the only sparkling wine producer using exclusively Carneros grapes. The Carneros Appellation is the first American Viticultural appellation to be defined according to climate rather than along political lines. The appellation is characterized by a long, moderately cool growing season tempered by the maritime breezes and lingering fog off the San Pablo Bay just to the south. These are optimum growing conditions for pinot noir and chardonnay, the two primary grape varieties used in Domaine Carneros Winery wines.
Domaine Carneros Winery farms 195 planted acres of vineyards on three different Carneros vineyard sites. There are 35 different blocks within our three vineyards. Each block is unique either because of the scion/rootstock combination (this is the grape variety grafted onto a pest-resistant rootstock) or because of the terrain of the block (i.e. slope, direction of rows, soil, sun exposure, etc.) Similar to an artist having many colors in a palette, this provides a variety of components from which our winemakers can create their blends each vintage. To add to this, we have thirteen different clonal selections (six chardonnay and seven pinot noir) all of which were selected for their flavor and intensity.
Almost all of the grapes for Domaine Carneros Winery wines come from our own estate vineyards. This is important for two reasons. First it allows the winery to control and direct the production from the vineyard to the bottle, and secondly it allows for continuity in our product resulting in a consistency in our wines. Our vineyards are farmed with the point of view that quality and not tonnage is the primary goal. All of our clones have small-to-medium sized clusters, allowing greater flavor concentration. We also prune each block, during the spring, to remove weak shoots that would add tonnage but would bring down the quality of the fruit because of lack of maturity.
At Domaine Carneros Winery, we know that to maintain the longevity of our vineyards and to protect the surrounding wildlife, we need to farm responsibly in a way that preserves the soils, eliminates erosion and preserves the local ecology. We have made several changes with these efforts in mind. We have moved to the use of mechanical weed removers to reduce herbicides and use chemicals that are either organic or environmentally safe. We have been able to do this by understanding life cycles of diseases and pests by careful observation in the vineyards. We are also introducing more cover crops, which are planted between the vine rows to stabilize the soils in the wet seasons and provide nutrients and organic matter to our soils. In addition, we work with the Napa Resource Conservation District (NRCD), an organization put together by the growers along Huichica Creek a sensitive water and wildlife area.
This generous cuvée represents the best of Carneros. Aromas of citrus blossom, tropical fruits, honey and toasted nuts are present in this luxurious blend. Hints of exotic spice such as ginger, cardamom and clove add to the complexity. In keeping with the Domaine Carneros Winery winemaking style, it has a long creamy finish. The 2000 growing season was a classic for the Carneros--long and cool creating a wine of great structure and longevity. This vintage produced wines of great balance and elegance. The blend in this wine is 58% Pinot Noir, 39% Chardonnay, and 3% Pinot Blanc. The appellation is 100% Carneros and 100% 2000 vintage. Five percent (5%) of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The Brut was aged on the yeast for three years. It will age gracefully for up to 10 years or longer. Our Winemaker believes this is the best oyster wine in the world; however, it complements a wide variety of seafood and poultry dishes and goes surprisingly well with fillet mignon. It is also a superb match for Asian cuisine.
Our 1997 Le Rêve is the sixth in a highly distinguished line of Blanc de Blancs. Its predecessors have repeatedly been rated 'the best Sparkling Wine in America' (rated 93 to 95 points). This current release is a great successor to these wines and exemplifies the best of our estate-grown chardonnay.
This is a luscious wine, round and full-bodied with an exceedingly long finish. The 1997 has aromas of tropical fruit (passion fruit, pineapple and melon) and floral notes of Freesia and honeysuckle. Components of toast, cream and citrus enhance these scents of fruits and flowers creating rich body and complex flavors. The tiny bubbles create a silky texture. The 1997 vintage was a great classic in Carneros. The nights were exceptionally cool followed by foggy mornings and sunny breezy days. A very long ripening period allowed time for fruit flavor development which coalesced in a final sparkling wine of power and elegance. The blend of the 1997 Le Rêve is 100% chardonnay selected from our six different estate-grown clones. It has been aged on the yeast for over five years. The appellation is 100% Carneros, 100% 1997 and 100% estate grown. It is drinking beautifully now but will continue to age and develop for many years. This wine matches particularly well with shellfish such as crab, lobster and prawns. It will also enhance a variety of fish and poultry dishes and is an excellent match with goat and mild double or triple cream cheeses
Our 2000 Famous Gate Pinot Noir is loaded with fruit intensity. Aromas of plum, dark cherry, blackberry and raspberry fill the nose and intermingle with scents of toast, smoke and coffee. The wine hints of strawberry jam, cinnamon and chocolate. As always with this wine the texture is opulent and velvety soft. The wine is aged for 10 months in French oak 50% of which is new each year. It can be enjoyed now, or can be aged in the bottle for 3-5 years. It is available domestically only at the winery and for our Chateau Society members.
Our 2000 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir is complex and multi-layered with rich fruit tones of black cherry, plum and strawberry overlaid with spices of cinnamon, cola, cocoa and clove. Round forward fruit follows through on the palate adding richness and body. The grapes for this pinot noir consist of seven clonal selections of estate grown pinot noir from three different vineyards, all in the Carneros. A highly versatile wine, Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir may be served with a wide range of entrées such as lamb, duck, pheasant or grilled salmon. Three and a half stars! A complex pinot, with a refreshing cranberry quench. Pretty aromas...a soft lingering finish. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Wine of the Week. Fleshy and complex, this is an intensely flavored Pinot Noir tasting of ripe strawberry jam, herbs, new oak and toast.
A complement to our distinguished line of pinot noirs, the Avant-Garde Pinot Noir is the first addition to our suite of wines in seven years, becoming the third pinot noir in our collection. This wine presents particular fresh fruit qualities of the Carneros region. It is intensely aromatic with hints of orange rind, violets, rose petals, anise and vanilla. As with our other pinot noirs, it is fermented in open topped tanks and aged for 10 months in French oak barrels.