Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Napa Valley, California - Domain Chandon - 2004 Trip

The grounds of Domain Chandon are beautiful even in mid- February.  The parking lot is surrounded by trees as is the entrance to the grounds.  Passing under the company name and insignia display across the top of an archway, you cross a bridge covering a tree-lined stream.  Contemporary sculptures, including a group of mushrooms under living trees, dot the landscape.  Lemon trees in pots frame the doorway to the gift shop and lobby.  The tour includes a lesson on the process of making sparkling wine and the origins of Domaine Chandon which was started in 1973 by Moet-Hennessey, a collaboration of Moet & Chandon from the Champagne region of France and Hennessey, a cognac producer, looking to expand their sparkling wine production to new regions in the world.  The tour meshed together beautiful examples of the “old” process and the technological advances made to the process ranging from displays of wooden presses, storage containers, and riddling racks to modern presses, large stainless steel vats, and automated machines to perform riddling.  Explanations of the process of making the wine and blending of the wines to get just the right taste are entertaining as well as informative.  The tour is free, but the tasting is pay by the glass.  We tried the Etoile Brut and the Chadon de Noir.  Both were excellent with refreshing, clear tastes.  If you’re in Napa Valley, this winery is definitely worth a look.  The tour is fun and informative.  The grounds are delightful.  The delicious sparkling wine is worth buying a glass or even two!

To learn more visit Domaine Chandon.

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