If you have followed my journey in wine writing, speaking, and toasting, you know I am a huge fan of Domaine Carneros. Since their start in the late 1980s, the premier Carneros sparkling wine house has been a leader in innovation, with forward-thinking ideas putting sustainability into action for their 100% sustainably-grown estate sparkling and still wines.
Owned by Champagne’s Taittinger family, the magnificent estate has been under the watchful guidance of the incomparable Doyenne of American sparkling wine, Eileen Crane.
A winemaker filled with elegance, grace, and refinement, Eileen has produced sparkling wines that mimic the same.
The opportunity to enjoy her bubbles is a privilege, particularly the dreamy Le Reve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine ($120,) with the 2013 vintage being the current release. Filled with honeysuckle, ginger, toasted brioche, marzipan, and orchard fruit, the wine is delicate, sophisticated, and elevated.
A handful of years ago the winery wanted to make a wine a still wine from some Pinot Noir that wasn’t being used for bubbles. The thought was it would make a nice employee gift for the staff. Unfortunately for the staff, and lucky for us, the wine was so delicious Domaine Carneros had to offer it to their guests, beginning with the tasting room and now available in distribution.
Carneros sits in the ideal location for cool-climate Pinot Noir. With warm, sunshine-filled days, and cooling afternoon breezes sweeping through the rolling hillsides of vineyards daily, the fruit is able to easily ripen while locking in freshness and acidity, perfect for sparkling wine and luscious still wines.
Domaine Carneros Estate Pinot Noir ($44) opens with layers of red cherry, blackberry, cranberry, and pomegranate, followed by notes of black tea, toasted cedar, woody herb, and spice. A perfect wine for the autumn season.
As of this 2020 harvest, Eileen has retired from the winery, though she will continue on as a consultant. As this is a winery I love, I was a bit nervous to hear of her retirement. We all know that change is always going to happen, but I was worried that finding someone who could fill Eileen’s masterful, and always stylish, shoes would be impossible.
Thankfully, I couldn’t have imagined a better hire. The new CEO of Domaine Carneros is Remi Cohen. With 20 years of experience, from working in the vineyards to running a major wine portfolio, most recently as COO of Lede Family Wines, along with holding a master’s degree in viticulture and an MBA in Finance, Remi is a rock star. She is a highly-skilled, dedicated, beautiful person inside and out, and a dynamic leader with a deep commitment to being a good steward of the land and helping her team grow. I am so thrilled for her, and Eileen. The Taittinger’s are quite lucky to have their stunning property guided from the start, and now into the future, by such dynamic leaders, and amazing women. #Cheers