It’s our belief that every trip to wine country should start at a sparkling wine house—because who doesn’t want to begin a day of wine tasting with Champagne? From Schramsberg in Calistoga to Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma, there are superb champagne producers in all of the major wine regions. Although it’s hard to choose a favorite, one tasting room we can’t get enough of is Domaine Carneros.
Located on top of a hill that borders both Sonoma and Napa counties, the Domaine Carneros French-inspired chateau is one of the most recognizable landmarks in wine country and has been since it’s conception 29 years ago. It has a beautiful terrace that overlooks the vineyards and plenty of tasting options including some with cheese and charcuterie. While Domaine Carneros’s sensational sparklers—we never turn down a glass of the Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs!—are reason enough to reserve a tasting, a new offering has us eager to head to the winery soon. It’s the ultimate chips and dips flight, a luxurious tasting option that puts an upscale Napa twist on the classic appetizer.
The chips are thick, crispy, salty gourmet potato chips. The dip is crème fraîche and caviar. Champagne and caviar are a match made in heaven and Domaine Carneros has an excellent relationship with American caviar producer, Tsar Nicoulai. “All Tsar Nicoulai caviars are locally and sustainably sourced,” says Domaine Carneros winemaker Eileen Crane, “making Tsar Nicoulai the ideal caviar partner.”
Tsar Nicoulai is a pioneer of the sustainable caviar movement. For over 30 years, they have cultivated small batch premium caviar from white sturgeon. No growth hormones, GMOs, or synthtic preservatives are used to make the caviar. The farm is located in Wilton, CA and they make five different types of caviar as well as an assortment of roes with flavors such as ginger whitefish, gold pearl salmon, and wasabi whitefish.
In order for the winery to source the freshest caviar, reservations for the chips and dip package must be made a week in advance. The tasting involves three pours of Domaine Carneros sparkling wine. Each is paired with a 1/2-ounce of different types of Tsar Nicoulai caviar. At $350 per couple, the flight is a steal. We’ll toast to that—with a glass of Le Rêve!