The 2009 Estate Pinot Noir packs a full range of flavors. Beginning with the nose one encounters dark red fruits including raspberry and black cherry, complemented by hints of anise spice and an undercurrent of loamy forest floor. The palate delivers cedar, juicy red fruit flavors, and a persistent hint of dark chocolate with a broad richness of even-tempered tannin that stretches into a long finish.
This dynamic wine 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.
Domaine Carneros Winery
A joint venture between Champagne Taittinger and Kobrand Corporation, partners who are perfectionists in their fields, Domaine Carneros has established itself since its inception in 1987 as one of California's finest producers of premium quality, methode traditionelle sparkling wines. The inspiration for Domaine Carneros belongs to Champagne Taittinger; the first glimmerings of the concept were shaped in the mind of Claude Taittinger in 1947. The 138 acre estate is situated in the Carneros appellation of Northern California, a 36,900 acre viticultural area which straddles the border between the Napa and Sonoma counties at their southern extremity. The estate's vineyards extend up a slope rising to a crest overlooking San Francisco and San Pablo Bay, with an elevation of 120 to 260 feet above sea level.
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Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.