While Domaine Chandon is best known as one of America's top sparkling wine houses, we also produce limited quantities of still wines from estate grown vineyards. We craft these wines by drawing on our experience with the traditional champagne varieties and by showcasing select parcels from our Carneros ranch, where we were among the pioneering growers of this appellation. The Carneros terrain is of well-drained rolling hills and a cool climate due to the influence of nearby San Pablo Bay. This is perfect Pinot Noir country from which Domaine Chandon has been crafting small quantities of this varietal since 1996.
In our still wine program, we aim to reflect the unique elements of Carneros. Starting with our highest quality fruit, we develop wines of complexity and intrigue that are rich and supple on the palate and exhibit a brightness of fruit. Prior to the 2000 vintage, these wines were available only at the winery. With the 2000 vintage, Domaine Chandon proudly introduces our still wines to selected fine dining establishments and fine wine retailers across the country.
The 2000 season was generally regarded as one of exceptional quality with cool evening growing conditions prevailing. Yields were slightly lower than normal, resulting in small berries with excellent fruit concentration. The Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir is deep plum red with cherry hues. The aromas reveal layers of cinnamon, fig, nutmeg and toffee with a note of spicy French oak. Flavors of brown spice, black cherry, caramel, and a subtle hint of truffle characterize the palate. The wine is powerful and intense, revealing complex layers of ripe fruit and a long, satisfying finish.
Domaine Chandon's Executive Chef Eric Torralba and Winemaker Wayne Donaldson suggest serving our Pinot Noir with roasted meats and poultry, duck confit, semi-hard cheeses such as Parmesan, and dishes rich in earthy flavors like those with wild mushrooms.
Domaine Chandon Winery
As the first American sparking wine venture by a French Champagne house (Moet & Chandon), Domaine Chandon has been a leader in sparkling wine production since 1973. Bringing hundreds of years of winemaking tradition and experience to the Napa Valley, Chandon's principal achievement has been to craft a range of sparkling wines that reflect California's vibrant regional character, yet remain true to the practices of methode traditionnelle. In 1990, the winery parlayed its experience with the classic Champagne varieties into an exciting varietal wine collection. Domaine Chandon continually strives to seek new ways to heighten its reputation as the fullest hospitality experience in Napa Valley, and to provide its guests with inspiration to entertain with Chandon at home.
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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 & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.