The second winery on our search of sparkling wines is Domaine Carneros. As you approach this winery from Highway 121 a spectacular French Chateau will suddenly come into view. You might have to blink your eyes twice to remind yourself that you really are in Carneros and not somewhere in the middle of France’s wine country. The Domaine Carneros Chateau is truly a beauty and one of Napa’s landmarks.
Domaine Carneros is owned by the famous Taittinger Champagne house of France and you can expect your visit to this winery to be very French like. You are treated as though you are an important guest of the Chateau. Everything is exquisite and elegant. Visitors have their choice of either sitting at tables in the salon or outside on the terrace. If the day is halfway decent, choose to sit outside and enjoy the absolutely stunning views of the surrounding vineyards and hillsides. Your server will bring you a menu listing various choices for tasting the very fine sparkling wines and Pinot Noirs of Domaine Carneros.
There are scheduled tours at 11 am, 1 pm and 3pm. The tour begins with a short movie and then a walk to several areas of the winery for viewing the operation. If you are headed next to Schramsberg or Mumm Napa, skip the tour at Domaine Carneros. You are better off spending your time on the terrace enjoying the experience. We think the tours at Schramsberg and Mumm Napa are more exciting because you can get a little closer to the action. If you do decide on the tour at Domaine Carneros, the cost is $25 and includes tasting at the conclusion of the tour. Domaine Carneros is very crowded on weekends so plan accordingly. This is a very popular wine destination.
The Good: The Chateau, the view, and the sparkling wines and Pinot Noir, the entire experience.
The Bad: We did not enjoy this tour as much as the tours at Schramsberg and Mumm Napa.