In the early years of the winery, we produced more Pinot Noir grapes than we needed for our own sparkling wines. We sold the grapes to other Carneros wineries and they were always high in demand. In 1992, we thought it would be interesting to make a few barrels just for the employees. When Claude Taittinger, President of Champagne Taittinger, tasted it, he immediately asked that we ship him some for his own cellar and for the cellars of five star hotels he owns in Europe. The following year we brought Pinot Noir to the United States market and it has been in heavy demand ever since.
Sensitive Pinot Noir can be a challenge for winemakers. The delicate, thin-skinned grapes grow best in cool, consistent climates where the fruit can ripen slowly. We are fortunate - the long growing season and cooling maritime breezes of the Carneros Region are ideal, producing wines of distinction virtually ever year.Domaine Carneros produces three different Pinot Noirs: Avant-Garde
, meant to be drunk young, is fresh and fruity Domaine Carneros - Estate
is rich and beautifully balancedThe Famous Gate
shows more intense notes of smoke and toast.
The latest complement to our distinguished line of pinot noirs, the Avant-Garde Pinot Noir is the third pinot noir in our collection. Created to be the vanguard of the vintage, this wine heralds the particular fresh fruit qualities of the Carneros Region.
The Avant-Garde is a delicate wine intensely aromatic with notes of cherry, raspberries, spice, dark chocolate and black tea. Available only at the winery and in select export markets.
Domaine Carneros - Estate
Our classic Pinot Noir made to show off the superb qualities of our organic vineyard, is rich with fruit tones of black cherry, raspberry and black current overlaid with notes of chocolate, toast, clove and exotic spices. Luscious flavors end in a very long and silky finish.Wine Enthusiast Rating, 91 points: 2006 Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir, Carneros, $35
"This bottling has been getting steadily richer and better over the years and has now reached the point where it’s an authentic Carneros beauty. The ’06 is a Pinot Noir to drink now, to savor its raspberry and cherry freshness, crispness and silky texture." — Steve Heimoff (12/31/2008)
The Famous Gate - Estate
Our original Pinot Noir produced in 1992 is a stylish wine showing of the "hand" of the winemaker. It highlights smokey toasty aromas and is redolent with blackberries and dark cherry notes. A wine that ages gracefully, it will intrigue for many years.
As with all of our Pinot Noirs, The Famous Gate is produced in small, open topped fermenters. The wine is then transferred to barrels and aged for a total of ten months. An exhaustive French barrel program comprises seven cooperages that specifically air-dry wood staves for us for three years, yielding softer tannins and less astringency.
2006 The Famous Gate - Beverage Testing Institute, 2008 World Wine Championships, Gold Medal, 91 Points (Exceptional Rating)
2006 The Famous Gate - Wine Enthusiast Rating, 92 points, 12/31/08