Domaine Carneros was started in 1987 by Taittinger, the prestigious French Champagne producer. Domaine Carneros owns 138 acres in Carneros, and its founding winemaker was noted winemaker Eileen Crane, who is still president of the estate. The estate vineyards are 100% certified organic and besides several sparkling wines, it also produces Pinot Noir. California wine writer James Laube wrote that “Domaine Carneros is home to some of California’s most delicate and elegant sparkling wines.” Domaine Carneros and Taittinger are both part of the large Kobrand portfolio of wines and spirits.
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.