Wine of the Week; 2005 Domaine Carneros Le Rêve

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2005 Domaine Carneros Le Rêve

The Winery

Domaine Carneros was founded in 1987 by Champagne Taittinger of France in partnership with Kobrand Corporation. It is located in the heart of Carneros in Napa Valley, along with Gloria Ferrer. The Carneros terroir is ideally suited to producing Chardonnay,and Pinot Noir, typically the backbone of both Champagne, and California Sparkling wine.  That’s because Carneros offers cool nights, foggy mornings, and sunny, breezy days offering fruit of extraordinary elegance, complexity, and intensity.

Domaine Carneros is a beautiful Chateau that was built in 1988. The building was inspired by historic Chateau de la Marquetterie in Champagne France, which is the estate home of the Taittinger family.

 

The Wine

Domaine Carneros sources 95% of their fruit from organic estate vineyards, and all of their wines are labeled with the Carneros appellation.  Eileen Crane is CEO/Founding Winemaker.

This wine is a Blanc de Blancs,  which means the wine is produced from all white grapes. Le Rêve, which translates to “the dream” in French, is considered to be the tête du cuvee  (flagship wine) of the winery.  The wine is aged 6 years in Domaine Carneros’ cellars, carved into the hillside beneath the winery, before release.

2005 Domaine Carneros Le Reve

2005 Domaine Carneros Le Reve

My tasting notes follow

Light straw color with persistent bead of tiny bubbles, with brioche baked pear, tropical fruit, and a touch of mineral aromas. On the palate it shows a soft creamy mousse, and is elegant, balanced, and complex with stone fruit, apple, tropical fruit, and mineral flavors. Long finish – 93pts.

Rating: Highly recommended!

Pair with: It makes a great apéritif, but is also fantastic with fresh oysters and other shellfish, crab cakes,  and ceviche.  Try with an aged Gouda or other hard cheeses. And it makes a delicious counterpoint with triple cream cheeses.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Alcohol: 12% alcohol.

Closure: Cork

AVA: > CaliforniaNapa / SonomaCarneros

Varietal(s): 99%% Chardonnay, 1% Pinot Blanc

Cooperage: Aged on lees in the bottle for five and one-half years

Retail: $95

Cases produced: 4,450

Purchased for review

Related posts you might enjoy:

T.G.I.F. Champagne And The Like…NV Domaine Carneros Cuvée de la Pompadour Brut Rosé

Domaine Carneros was founded in 1987 by Champagne Taittinger of France in partnership with Kobrand Corporation. It is located in the heart of Carneros in Napa Valley, along with Gloria Ferrer. The Carneros terroir is ideally suited to producing Chardonnay,and Pinot Noir, typically the backbone of both Champagne, and California Sparkling wine. Domaine Carneros sources 95% of their fruit from organic estate vineyards, and all of their wines are labeled with the Carneros appellation.  Eileen Crane is the winery’s first and only sparkling winemaker.

Domaine Carneros is housed in a beautiful Chateau that was built in 1988. The building was inspired by historic Chateau de la Marquetterie in Champagne France, which is the estate home of the Taittinger family.

For my vegan friends, to my knowledge, Domaine Carneros is the only sparkling wine producer in the U.S. that makes vegan-friendly wines. And their entire 350 acre estate is all certified organic. 

From Domaine Carneros…

The Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour, celebrates the life and times of Madame de Pompadour (the great courtesan and mistress of Louis XV) who is credited with introducing Champagne to the court and was an influential tastemaker in the matters of art, architecture and philosophy–famous for her comment, “Champagne is the only wine a woman can drink and remain beautiful.”

NV Domaine Carneros Cuvée de la Pompadour Brut Rosé

Where it’s from: California>Napa Valley>Carneros

The grape(s) Pinot Noir (58%), and Chardonnay (42%)

Production method: Traditional Method 

Alcohol: 12.%

Dosage: Brut

Retail: $36

My tasting notes follow:

Pretty pink-orange color aromas of wild strawberries, sweet yeast, and a slight floral note with a persistent bead of tiny bubbles. On the palate, it’s displays a creamy mousse, is medium-bodied and fruity, yet dry with fresh wild strawberry, cherry, and a bit of citrus peel flavors.  Medium long finish – 90pts

Pair with: The beauty of sparkling wines is their versatility with food, because of their palate cleansing quality (think scrubbing bubbles;-). This one would be wonderful as an aperitif , and also with appetizers and lighter fare such as watermelon-goat cheese bits, cheeses like Brie, or Fontina, or try with a  Nicoise or Cobb salad.  It would make a great wine to bring along on a picnic!

Highly recommended! Would purchase again!

Cheers!

T.G.I.F. Champagne And The Like…2007 Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut

Domaine Carneros was founded in 1987 by Champagne Taittinger of France in partnership with Kobrand Corporation. It is located in the heart of Carneros in Napa Valley, along with Gloria Ferrer. The Carneros terroir is ideally suited to producing Chardonnay,and Pinot Noir, typically the backbone of both Champagne, and California Sparkling wine. Domaine Carneros sources 95% of their fruit from organic estate vineyards, and all of their wines are labeled with the Carneros appellation.  Eileen Crane is the winery’s first and only sparkling winemaker.

Domaine Carneros is housed in a beautiful Chateau that was built in 1988. The building was inspired by historic Chateau de la Marquetterie in Champagne France, which is the estate home of the Taittinger family.

According to Domaine Carneros:

Ultra Brut is considered a specialty style, very little is produced either nationally or internationally. It is a more contemplative wine and most often appeals to the true sparkling wine aficionado…It is very dry It enlivens and refreshes the palate, stimulating the appetite for the pleasures of the meal ahead.

2007 Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut

2007 Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut

Where it’s from: California>Napa Valley>Carneros

The grape(s) Pinot Noir (60%), and Chardonnay (40%)

Production method: Traditional Method 

Alcohol: 12.95%

Dosage: 0.5%

 Retail: $39

My tasting notes follow:

Very light straw color with persistent tiny bead of bubbles and toasty stone fruit aromas. On the palate, very dry, approaching medium-bodied with a creamy mousse and pear, and citrus peel flavors. Medium-long finish. – 90pts

Pair with: The beauty of sparkling wines is their versatility with food, because of their palate cleansing quality (think scrubbing bubbles;-). This one would be wonderful as an aperitif , and with shellfish, smoked fish, or raw oysters.  I had it with raw oysters and it was an outstanding pairing!

Recommendation: Recommended.

Cheers!

Sparkling Wine Smackdown…Ten Sparklers; One Winner!

The most recent meeting of the Pacific Pointe Wine Tasting Club (“PPWTC”) was all about bubbly.  It also happened to be the 2nd anniversary of the PPWTC.  It was a great night of bubbly, food, and friends.   It’s been most is gratifying to experience the growth, and evolution of our wine club, and its members.

I want to give a special shout out to Jojo and Joy for co-hosting these last couple of years.  They are always fabulous hosts, and throw a great party…er wine tasting club meeting ;-) second to none!

As for the 10 sparklers, it was a diverse group dominated by California sparklers, but that also included 2 bottles from Champagne, a Prosecco from Italy, and even a sparkler from Bulgaria (which turned out to be pretty much undrinkable – I knew something was up I pulled the plastic cork)!

All Set Up And Ready For The Sparkler Smackdown (photo courtesy of Jojo Ong)

The ten sparklers we blind-tasted, in order, were:

  1. NV Domaine Chandon Brut Classic (Napa Valley>Yountville)
  2. NV Trader Joe’s Blanc de Blancs (California)
  3. NV Mumm Napa Cuvée Napa Brut (Napa Valley)
  4. NV Sarl Chopin Champagne Charles de Marques Brut (Champagne)
  5. NV La Marca Prosecco di Conegliano Tiffany Blue Label (Italy>Veneto>Prosecco>Conegliano)
  6. NV Nicolas Feuilatte Champagne (Champagne)
  7. NV Gloria Ferrer Brut (Sonoma County)
  8. 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut (Napa Valley>Carneros)
  9. NV Mumm Napa Brut Prestige (Napa Valley)
  10. NV Christa Sparkling White Wine (Targovishte, Bulgaria)

PPWTC 2nd Anniversary Photo (photo courtesy of Jojo Ong)

The winner with an average score of 89.6 point is….

NV La Marca Prosecco di Conegliano Tiffany Blue Label

No surprise here for me.  Prosecco is fruity and easy, and this one is very good!  Around $12. Here’s a tasting note from the La Marca website:

This sparkling wine is pale, golden straw in color. Bubbles are full textured and
persistent. On the nose the wine brings fresh citrus with hints of honey and white floral
notes. The flavor is fresh and clean, with ripe citrus, lemon, green apple, and touches of
grapefruit, minerality, and some toast. The finish is light, refreshing, and crisp

It’s widely available…pick up a bottle and give it a try! Cheers!

Along The Napa Sparkling Wine Trail – Domaine Carneros

We recently took to an overnight trip up to Napa. On our agenda? Make our last stop along the Napa Sparkling Wine Trail – in our case Domaine Carneros.

If you’re not familiar with the “Napa Sparkling Wine Trail“, it’s composed of five sparkling wine houses in the Carneros and Napa Valley areas. They are Domaine Carneros, Domaine Chandon, Gloria Ferrer, Mumm Napa, and Schramsberg Vineyards. Each is enchanting in its own way. What they all have in common, besides sensational sparkling wines, is that they each take pride in serving up praiseworthy still wines. And that’s what I appreciate about going tasting at a sparkling wine house, you can taste sparklers with the option to taste still wines too!

Domaine Carneros was founded in 1987 by Champagne Taittinger of France in partnership with Kobrand Corporation. It is located in the heart of Carneros in Napa Valley, along with Gloria Ferrer. The Carneros terroir is ideally suited to producing Chardonnay,and Pinot Noir, typically the backbone of both Champagne, and California Sparkling wine. Domaine Carneros sources 95% of their fruit from organic estate vineyards (a couple of the sparklers I tasted were vegan), and all of their wines are labeled with the Carneros appellation. Eileen Crane is the winery’s first and only sparkling winemaker.

Domaine Carneros is a beautiful Chateau that was built in 1988. The building was inspired by historic Chateau de la Marquetterie in Champagne France, which is the estate home of the Taittinger family.

Domaine Carneros

My tasting notes follow:

The Sparklers

  • 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Very light straw color with active stream of tiny bubbles and sweet bread dough, citrus and red fruit aromas. On the palate light bodied, dry, and crisp with moderately soft mousse, and tart cherry, apple and citrus peel flavors. Medium finish. Blend of 60% Pinot Noir/40% Chardonnay. 12.95% ABV. Aged 3 years in the bottle on lees. Vegan. (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé – USA, California, Napa Valley, CarnerosLight salmon color, with a persistent bead of tiny bubbles, and light yeast, red fruit aromas. On the palate medium bodied, balanced with red raspberry, cherry, and a hint of citrus peel flavors. Medium finish. 62% Pinot Noir/38% Chardonnay. 1% dosage. 12.6 ABV. Vegan (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Very light straw color with persistent tiny bead of bubbles and toasty stone fruit aromas. On the palate, very dry, approaching medium-bodied with a creamy mousse and pear, and citrus peel flavors. Medium-long finish. Can’t wait to try this one with raw oysters! (90 pts.)
  • 2005 Domaine Carneros Le Reve Blanc de Blancs Late Disgorged Brut – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Light straw color with persistent bead of tiny bubbles, and baked pear, tropical fruit aromas. On the palate a creamy mousse, balanced, complex with stone fruit, tropical fruit flavors. Long finish. Aged on lees in the bottle for five and one-half years. Made from 20 different clones. 99% Chardonnay/1% Pinot Blanc. 12% ABV (92 pts.)

The Reds

  • 2008 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir Avant Garde – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Ruby color with cherry, cola, and a touch of cocoa aromas. On the palate, light-bodied, elegant, and smooth with velvety tannins, and tart cherry, earth dark chocolate and spice flavors. Lengthy finish. (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Dark ruby color with earthy, cherry aromas. On the palate, heavier than the Avante-Garde line- approaching medium-bodied, smooth, with velvety tannins, and cherry, earth, and cocoa flavors. Long finish (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine Carneros Merlot Avant Garde – USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
    Medium garnet color with plum, spice and black tea aromas. On the palate, medium bodied with easy plum, earth and spice flavors. Shortish finish (86 pts.)

Inside Domaine Carneros

It was a great tasting with table service that included a nice dried fruit and nut plate. I heartily recommend a visit to Domaine Carneros!

Full Disclosure: When I identified myself as a wine writer, my tasting fee was waived.