You'd be excused for momentarily thinking you were transported to France as you drove through California Wine Country near Domaine Carneros. The place's look is definitively French. Their elegant, chateau-style building was inspired by the 18th-century Chateau de la Marquetterie, owned by Taittinger and located in France's Champagne region.
The Experience at Domaine Carneros
You can take a tour at Domaine Carneros to learn more about how they make their sparkling wines, but most visitors just opt for sampling a glass or two on their patio.
What’s Amazing at Domaine Carneros
The best thing about Domain Carneros is its location and outdoor terrace tables. A close second is their tasting experience. You don't just stand at a bar and sip at Domaine Carneros. Instead, you order a flight (sampler) of their sparkling wines, a whole bottle - or just a glass.
They also offer artisan cheese and charcuterie plates matched to their wines - and caviar, too. It's all served at your table, where you can grow more mellow by the moment, enjoying the bubbly and the eye-popping view.
Domaine Carneros Will Be Great For You If:
If you like sipping bubbly sparkling wine and nibbling on tasty little bites while enjoying a panoramic Napa wine country view, you'll love Domaine Carneros. In fact, my wine country tour guide pals at A Friend in Town and Blue Heron Tours think it's a good place to end a day in Wine Country.
If you want to know more about how sparkling wine is made using the traditional méthode champenoise, their tour will fill in the gaps and answer your questions.
The terrace at Domaine Carneros is a perfect place to propose marriage - or anything else, for that matter. If you plan ahead, you can book a private table on the balcony.
The Wines at Domaine Carneros
Domaine Carneros makes three styles of sparkling wine: Brut (which has very little sugar and is sometimes called "dry"), Brut Rose (pink) and Blanc de Blancs (which means white from white, made from Chardonnay grapes).
They also produce still wines: Pinot Noir, Avant-Garde Rosé and single-vineyard Chardonnay.
Domaine Carneros has won awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Their 2002 Le Reve Blanc de Blancs earned 93 points from Wine Spectator in 2015.
What Others Think About Domaine Carneros
About.com's wine writer Stacy Slinkard rates it as one of the top sparkling wine estates in Napa and Sonoma and says it's a label to look for among American sparkling wines.
Online reviewers give Domaine Carneros high ratings, with about two-thirds of them rating it Very Good or Excellent. They talk about the beautiful chateau, the food pairings and the wines. People who rate it lower seem to have visited on very busy days and thought the number of people disturbed the elegance. It gets 4 stars out of 5 at Yelp.
What You Need to Know Before You Go
Reservations are not required, but they're a good idea to avoid disappointment on weekends and holidays - and anytime from June through October
They are closed on some holidays. Check the Domaine Carneros Website for dates.
These are all those facts and figures that some people crave and others avoid.
The Domaine Carneros estate encompasses over 350 acres in four separate sites in the Carneros region. They produce more than 20,000 cases of wine per year. They are owned by French Champagne house Taittinger.
What Else is Near Domaine Carneros?
While you're sitting on the Domaine Carneros terrace, you can see Winery Lake and the Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art across the road, where you can enjoy a unique collection of late 20th-century California art in a unique environment.
Just down the highway is one of our favorite places to stay in California, the Carneros Inn. Even if you don't need a place to stay, their Boon Fly Cafe is one of our favorite Napa eateries.
Getting to Domaine Carneros
1240 Duhig Road
Domaine Carneros Website
Domaine Carneros is on CA Hwy 12/121 at the south end of Napa Valley. You can get there from the Bay Area via US Hwy 101 and CA Hwy 37 or from the east side of the bay on I-80 through Vallejo.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary wine tasting for the purpose of reviewing Domaine Carneros. While it has not influenced this review, TripSavvy.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.