The 6.1 earthquake that shook southern Napa Valley in the early morning hours of August 24th had a big impact on many Carneros wineries, several of which were quite close to the epicenter. Though no one was hurt, wines were lost and there was considerable structural damage. It’s time to help Carneros rebuild! And you can do so while experiencing one of the best regions in the U.S. for chardonnay and pinot noir.
Carneros is the only California AVA to span two counties-- Napa and Sonoma. Located at the southern end of these valleys, Carneros benefits from the cool sea breezes and heavy fog channeled up from the San Francisco bay. These coastal influences keep the climate cool, allowing cool- weather grapes like chardonnay and pinot noir to develop full, complex flavors throughout a slow, even ripening process. The wines produced from these grapes are simultaneously complex and ethereal, recognizable by their sheerness and vivid acidity. It is this acidity that makes the sparkling wine produced in Carneros so sought-after.
Below we list five of our favorite Carneros wineries to visit:
Acacia Vineyard: Beautifully made pinot noirs and chardonnays at a range of prices. Quaint tasting room with views of the San Francisco Bay. Open by appointment, M-Sat 10:00am-4:00pm, Sun 12:00pm-4:00pm.
Gloria Ferrer: The first sparkling wine house on the Sonoma side of Carneros, the winery makes beautifully balanced sparkling wines, as well as still wines. Open daily, 10:00am-4:45pm.
Saintsbury: Considered one of the original great pinot and chardonnay houses of Carneros, Saintsbury is still turning out the charm, in the glass and in their intimate tasting room. Open daily, by appointment.
Anaba: Located in 100 year-old farmhouse, Anaba’s tasting room offers a variety of tasting and educational experiences, as well as a picnic area. Open daily, 10:30am-5:30pm
Domaine Carneros: Co-founded by the legendary Champagne house Taittinger, this sparkling wine producer makes some of the best sparkling wine in the country. The French chateau-style building with an outdoor patio doesn’t hurt either. Open daily, 10:00am-6:00pm
What are your favorite Carneros wineries? Let us know below.
Photo Credit: Carneros Wine Alliance