Domaine Carneros
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Bubbles Before Breakfast: Totally Acceptable at Domaine Carneros
A replica of the Taittinger-owned Chateau de la Marquetterie in Champagne, Domaine Carneros, perched amid endlessly sprawling vineyards of chardonnay and pinot noir in the Los Carneros growing region between Napa and Sonoma, is like a Disneyland version of a French chateau. While the historic Champagne house may own the winery, the wines are distinctly Californian. Winemaker Eileen Crane (who has been making sparkling wine in this country longer than anyone else) is proud of the fruit she grows and her wines’ ability to capture the terroir of the region. The tour is an impressive and thorough education of Méthode Champenoise—as it is done both at Taittinger and Carneros—but the best thing about a visit here is enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace, taking in at once California’s wine country and the rich legacy of Champagne. (Just don’t dare utter the words “not really Champagne” or your head could be the next thing sabered.)
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