Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wine House Says Hello to New CEO and Farewell to Founding Winemaker
Domaine Carneros sends founding winemaker and CEO Eileen Crane off in style as she passes the bottle (baton) to Remi Cohen, the winery’s newly appointed CEO. Eileen Crane leaves after 33 years, she founded the winery, built it and lead it to where it is today.
Watch as we toast two wonderful winemakers (who happen to be women). Look back on a legacy and sip some of the best sparkling wine, all paired perfectly with Cowgirl Creamery’s wold famous Mt Tam Cheese!
Thank you to Domaine Carneros for sending us these wines to sample:
2012 Le Reve, Blanc de Blancs $115
BLEND: 100% Estate Grown Chardonnay
Le Rêve is a highly respected tête de cuvée – our winery’s finest Sparkling wine and frequently named America’s Best Sparkling. French for “the dream,” Le Rêve is crafted from 100% estate grown Chardonnay, making it a pure expression of Domaine Carneros.
HARVEST: The summer months, which are the heart of the growing season, were dominated by a persistent marine system that provided morning fog until mid-day. The combination of cool temperatures and ample crop load produced plenty of “hang-time” and allowed maximum flavor development. We brought in the last of the Chardonnay on September 22. This remarkable vintage showed power and finesse.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: As with many great wines, 2012 Le Rêve has been crafted to be long-lived and will continue to evolve for decades in the cellar. An inspired selection for the most memorable occasions, savor the wine on its own, pair it with fresh crab, lobster, scallops, fish or poultry, or with artisanal goat, double- or triple-cream cheeses.
2017 Estate Pinot Noir $44
BLEND: 100% Estate Grown Pinot Noir
100% French Oak, 10 Months Barrel Age
Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir begins in our five different Estate Vineyards, which are certified by Fish Friendly Farming and located within four miles of the Château. We grow eleven different clones of Pinot Noir and each one contributes its unique flavor profile and personality to make this compelling blend which is truly a mosaic of our Carneros terroir.
The grapes were gently de-stemmed, leaving many whole berries. A “cold soak” followed for five full days prior to fermentation, which took nine to twelve days in small open-topped vats. The fermenting must was punched down three times a day to heighten color and flavor development. After pressing off, the finished wine went directly into French Oak barrels where it rested for ten months until bottling.
This hand-crafted Pinot Noir can be enjoyed alone as an aperitif or matched with a diverse group of dishes such as beef, poultry, pork or grilled salmon, prepared in a variety of culinary styles.
Founded in the Carneros appellation of Northern California by the Champagne Taittinger family, Domaine Carneros is a small grower producer of ultra-premium sparkling wines and limited production pinot noirs. Thirty years after the winery’s inaugural harvest, Domaine Carneros has become the benchmark for California Sparkling wine, reflecting both the individuality of the Carneros’ terroir and the craftsmanship of its French legacy. While Domaine Carneros is not solely owned by Tattinger, it remains to be in a partnership with its founding French legacy.
Intent on staking a future in California’s promising wine industry, the Taittinger family purchased a 138-acre vineyard in the heart of Carneros in 1986. The appellation that spans the southern tip of both Sonoma and Napa Valleys, Carneros’ cool climate is ideally suited for cultivating exceptional chardonnay and pinot noir, perfect for producing the elegant, balanced wines that Domaine Carneros is now known for.
After an exhaustive search that same year, the Taittingers selected Eileen Crane as Domaine Carneros’ founding winemaker. While directing the first vintage, she was also tasked with overseeing the planning and construction of the winery. Crane is not only one of the industry’s pioneering women, but also the most experienced American Sparkling wine producer with over 40 years to her credit. Her pursuit of excellence in viticulture, winemaking and hospitality has made Domaine Carneros an epochal California winery. Today, over 30 years later, Crane is still Domaine Carneros’ first and only sparkling winemaker and their chief executive officer.
Completed in 1989, the 18th century château-style building was architecturally inspired by the historic Château de la Marquetterie owned by Champagne Taittinger in France. Situated atop a knoll and overlooking endless rolling vineyards, the elegant property is an iconic Northern California landmark. The château houses the winery’s facilities as well as beautiful salons for visitors and wine club members.
The summer of 2018 marked the completion of the highly-anticipated and beautifully-designed Jardin d’Hiver – a conservatory-style addition to the north terrace of the renowned Domaine Carneros château, which will allow guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of Carneros and surrounding vineyards while being shielded from the weather.
In keeping with the 18th century French design of the landmark château, the Jardin d’Hiver takes its inspiration from the glass buildings created by Gustave Eiffel in the mid-late 1800’s to protect plants and citrus trees on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. With its custom-crafted, gracefully-curved glass walls, skylights, white marble tables, indoor-outdoor fireplace and majestic new fountain, the Jardin d’Hiver offers guests an inviting and warm, yet elegant space to enjoy the fine wines, gracious hospitality and sweeping views for which Domaine Carneros is known.
The Domaine Carneros pinot noir facility sits just behind the main château, styled after a French carriage house. When it was completed in 2003, the state-of-the-art facility housed the largest solar collection system of any winery in the world.
THE VINEYARDS: A COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
Since the late 1980s, Domaine Carneros has farmed sustainably. Located entirely within the Carneros AVA, the six estate vineyards total approximately 400 acres with 125 acres planted to chardonnay, 225 acres planted to pinot noir, with the remaining acres currently in development.
Domaine Carneros is committed to the sustainability of our land and has been certified by Fish Friendly Farming (FFF), as well as holds both the Certified California Sustainable Winegrower (CCSW) and the Napa Green designation.
Leading the Domaine Carneros winemaking team, Crane is committed to handcrafting ultra-premium sparkling and pinot noir wines from hand-harvested, estate-grown grapes, underscoring the importance of gentle handling and attention to detail to be found in each bottle. Their winemaking practices are also vegan friendly, as no animal derived products are used in the production of the wines.
Given her decades of experience working in Carneros, Crane has an intimate and expert knowledge of these world class vineyards. This level of excellence and skill allows her the ability to refine all areas of vineyard and winemaking at Domaine Carneros, producing elegant and balanced sparkling wines with tiny beading, subtle fruit aromas, round palate and a long finish. The sparkling wines are aged a minimum of three years for added complexity and mouthfeel.