The season of sun and celebration is arriving soon and with that it is time to pop open a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate. It is also the time to return to the beautiful wine country of Carneros and the Napa Valley. Visit one or more of these wineries that specialize in producing magnificent sparkling wines.
Domain Carneros – The Best View
Domain Carneros is located along the Carneros Highway just west of the Napa Valley. The beautiful landmark Chateau sits atop the hillside and provides a wonderful setting for a tour and tasting of sparkling wine. The view from the Domaine Caneros terrace is one of the best vineyard views in all of Napa. Take a tour, sip some sparkling wines at one of the terrace tables and take in the views. It is so scenic and relaxing. Our favorite sparkling wine at Domain Carneros is Brut Rose Cuvee de la pompadour. What a joy!
Domaine Chandon – Gardens and the Restaurant
Now continued on the Carneros Highway east to Highway 29 and follow the signs to Yountville. Get off at Washington Avenue and take a left to go to Domaine Chandon. The gardens are very lovely here so take some time to stroll around. You might also want to plan to eat lunch at étoile restaurant. Domaine Chandon is the only winery in the Napa Valley with a restaurant. étoile is excellent and, in fact, a Micheline star-rated restaurant. As does Domaine Carneros, Domaine Chandon makes a number of different sparkling wines. One that we love and is very much overlooked is their Domain Chandon Riche. It has the slightest hint of sweetness and goes so well with many foods and, in particular, any spicy foods.
Mumm Napa – The Ansel Adams Art Gallery
Mumm Napa is on the eastern side of the Napa Valley on the Silverado Trail. There seems to be a more casual and jovial atmosphere at Mumm’s. What we enjoy at Mumm’s is to sit in the courtyard and take a slow, easy time just relaxing. What many people miss when they visit Mumm Napa are the two art galleries. One houses a collection of wonderful Ansel Adams photos and the other gallery has a revolving collection of local artists. What a great time for just relaxing in this setting. Our favorite sparkling wine is Pinot Meunier, a sparkling wine crafted from this grape only in exceptional years. At $36 a bottle, it is a terrific value. Mumm Napa has a tour at 10 am that is complimentary and at 11, 1, & 2 pm the tour is $20 and includes a tasting. Check the Mumm Napa Website for a coupon and updates on tour hours.
Schramsberg – Oldest and the Caves
Schramsberg is at the northern end of the Valley very near the town of Calistoga. The tours are the best of the sparkling wine houses, but it costs $45 a person. It is well worth the adventure. Here at Shramsberg the riddling of the sparkling wine bottles is done the old- fashioned way. Each day, Schramsberg’s riddler turns an unbelievable 35,000 bottles of aging sparkling wine. The caves are very interesting and a bit on the spooky side. These caves were built in the 1880′s.