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Thanksgiving with Domaine Carneros

November 14, 2020

Whether you’re celebrating virtually or in a small gathering, Thanksgiving is a special time to come together with your loved ones. Although this 2020’s festivities may look differently, one aspect that doesn’t need to change is the wine. At my in-laws house, we always have wine with our Thanksgiving dinner. And this year, I’m partnering up with Domaine Carneros to share my favorite wine with my family!

In case you missed my previous stories and post on Instagram, Domaine Carneros is a singular winery Alex and I experienced on our first trip to Napa Valley. At the time, I specifically sought out the winery for their méthode traditionelle sparkling wine. But, sparkling wine is not alone in the impressive portfolio, Domaine Carneros also has rich and complex pinot noir.

To bring the sparkle to the Thanksgiving table, Domaine Carneros is now offering specially-priced three-packs for sparkling wine and pinot noir. To ensure ground shipping delivery, you need to order by Sunday, November 15. But if you’d prefer to overnight your order, you have until Monday, November 23.

My Recommended Pairings

In this post, I created a list of pairings with appetizers and side dishes to give you ideas for your Thanksgiving wines. If you don’t typically pair your wines, then why not start a new holiday tradition! 

As a foodie, I personally love to read descriptions and find the best pairings based off of the tasting notes. I included recipes that are different from your classic favorites. Your guests will love how the colorful food complements the beautiful wines. The best part? All of the recipes are easy to make, so that you can focus on enjoying quality time, wine and food!

2015 Estate Brut Cuvée

Tasting Notes: Richness and complexity begin on the nose, with bounding aromas of green apple, crème brûlée, and orange blossom. The palate is dense and full, revealing juicy pear, honey dew melon and lemon zest, with a savory underpinning that melds into the long finish. Vividly capturing the character of our Estate vineyards, here’s another great example of low-yield, exceptional harvest that 2015 gave us. 

Pairing: Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pomegranate Seeds, Goat Cheese, Glazed Walnuts

Salads are often underrated, but the key is to have a salad that makes a statement. The goat cheese and spice-glazed walnuts enhance the signature wine of Domaine Carneros. From the juicy and tart pomegranate seeds, you will find that they speak to the wine’s different depths of complexity. And let’s not forget the light and subtly tangy apple-cider vinaigrette and savory butternut squash. 

In terms of prep, what takes the longest is roasting the vegetables. However the roasting time is only 30 minutes. Aside from that, the salad took less than 15 minutes to assemble! I was going to originally buy glazed walnuts, but was forced to make them when I couldn’t find any in the store. As it turns out, I was grateful for this because the walnuts were remarkably easy to make and were done in a minute. 

To make this exact salad, please visit Kristine’s Kitchen.

Domaine Carneros

2016 Brut Rosé

Tasting Notes: On the nose, the 2016 vintage welcomes the senses with aromas of watermelon, red roses, apricot, and toasted macadamia nuts. Flavors of peaches, mandarin, and pink grapefruit evoke the bliss of a perfect summer day through the long, silky finish. 

Pairing: Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini with Prosciutto

This is what I’ll be sharing with my family because they love rosé! As a festive occasion, the vintage rosé sparkling wine expresses great balance while emphasizing fruity and floral characteristics. In fact, this is a favorite wine among Domaine Carneros enthusiasts!

Since the wine is incredibly versatile, it pairs well with classics like duck and salmon but also steaks, burgers and light desserts. With the word desserts, I thought of how I could create a canapé suitable for Thanksgiving. What came to mind: ricotta and cranberry crostini topped with prosciutto and thyme. With one of the tasting notes being pink grapefruit, cranberry seemed like the perfect partner for the fall. 

I didn’t use a recipe, but it’s quite simple to create: spread ricotta over a crostini, top with cranberry sauce (homemade or store-bought) and fresh prosciutto. If you want to be extra, you can drizzle honey and garnish with toasted, chopped pistachios.

Domaine Carneros

2015 Ultra Brut

Tasting Notes: Ultra Brut is a rare style of Sparkling wine that relies on flawless balance. Our 2015 vintage is a serious, expressive wine with a focused freshness and exceptionally long finish. A mélange of toasted brioche, honeycomb and wild flower on the nose leads to a dry, brisk, beautifully balanced palate of roasted almond, golden apple and crisp pear. With a surprising mouthwatering complexity, its bright, crisp fruit and dusty minerality ride on a serious structure, the persistent, palate-cleansing finish lingering on.

Pairing: Smoked-Salmon Cucumber Round with Cream Cheese and Dill

Domaine Carneros shared with me that this particular wine is great for starting the evening because it is crisp and bright. I’d recommend having this with the canapés, before everyone sits down at the dinner table. Ultra Brut is a style of sparkling wine that is rarely produced, and it is very dry and crisp. With that said, it’s one that a wine aficionado will appreciate. 

As a wine with textural vibrance, it pairs well with rich and creamy sauces or foods with natural voluptuousness. One of the foods with natural voluptuousness is smoked salmon. The second ingredient I wanted was cream cheese to add a level of richness. To pair these flavors, I found three recipes: Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon Vol Au Vents, Salmon and Cream Cheese Smoked Salmon and Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Cucumber Bites. I ended up going with the cucumber round because I liked this as a low-carb option. But, you can always create this same recipe with crostini or round crackers.

To make this exact recipe, please visit A Fork’s Take. If you’re short on time, this can be assembled in five minutes.

Domaine Carneros

2018 Avant-Garde

Tasting Notes: Extremely aromatic, the wine features fresh pomegranate, followed by a bowl of sweet cherries, red raspberry, warm oak, and cinnamon. The theme continues on the palate with more juicy black cherries, and exuberant red raspberry dancing on the palate.

Pairing: Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Pecans, Cranberries

The Avant-Garde is the vanguard of vintage, heralding the distinctive bright berry qualities of the Carneros Region. After the wine is fermented in small open-topped tanks, it is aged for eight months in Burgundian French Oak barrels that are specially selected to complement the aroma profile of this wine. 

With the warm oak and sweet cherries, I felt that pecans and cranberries would help the palate’s journey. To contrast the sweetness, I wanted something savory like Brussels sprouts and Sweet Potatoes. 

My base recipe for this creation is from Julia’s Album. I did make some modifications, like removing the bacon and adding sweet potato.

Domaine Carneros

2018 Domaine Carneros Estate

Tasting Notes: The 2018 edition of our Estate Pinot Noir packs a full range of red and darker berry flavors. Beginning with the nose one encounters bright pomegranate and poached cherry notes along with hints of sassafras and freshly turned earth. Ten months of barrel age lends a sweetness that balances the supple tannin from this exceptional vintage producing an intense full bodied Pinot Noir. Of particular note in this edition is the juicy and sweet fruited entry upon the palate, backed up by delicate spice notes that lead to a lengthy, warming finish. The hallmark of Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir is the texture, and this wine delivers with a supple and silky mouth-feel.

Pairing: Roasted Beets with Ricotta and Honey

The pinot noir begins in Domaine Carneros’ five different estate vineyards, all which are certified by Fish Friendly Farming and located within four miles of the château. The fermenting must was punched down three times in a given day to heighten color and flavor development. Afterwards, the finished wine rested in French Oak barrels for ten months prior to bottling. 

For this sweet and full-bodied pinot noir, I wanted to use beets as my featured ingredient. Beets deliver an earthy and sweet flavor naturally, so I felt that it would be the perfect partner! In the past I made balsamic vinegar beet salads with kale and ricotta, but I tried something new and was quite pleased. The ricotta and honey acted as a smooth complement to the pairing.

For the recipe, please visit Evolving Table. Tip: Cook the beets at 400 degrees, instead of 375 degrees.

Domaine Carneros

2017 Le Ciel Serein

Tasting Notes: With respect to tannin, the 2017 vintage merges the firmness of the 2013 with the juicy nature of 2015. This is a pinot noir with both red and blue fruits, and a lot of tangy berry notes. With more time in the glass the nose opens up with recollections of a coastal redwood forest understory featuring moist ferns, turned earth and tree bark. The palate offers ripe plum, wild berries, delicate cigar spice, and carob nibs. The final blend enjoyed fifteen months of barrel age (40% new) from our favorite French coopers.

Year after year, the 2017 Le Ciel Serein has proven to consistently deliver lush, aromatic and exciting pinot noir. The pure fruit expression of the vaunted “Dijon 667” clone (66%) is one of the undeniable hallmarks. It showcases a mixture of red and blackberries, and a burst of spicy boysenberry. Domaine Carneros recommends allowing the wine to open up in the glass for at least 15 minutes.

For an opulent and fuller-bodied wine, this pinot noir pairs best with heavier dishes. Since we needed at least one wine with a charcuterie cheese board, I focused on fromage triple-crème as the featured pairing. Triple-crème has extra cream added before the curd is formed, which creates a consistency that is creamy and rich. As a secondary cheese, I used a gournay with herbs. With the cheese at the focus, I included fresh berries, rosemary crackers, and tart cherry and almond artisan crisps.

Domaine Carneros

Where to Purchase Your Wine

As I mentioned, Domaine Carneros is offering specially-priced three-packs and a decorative table ensemble. Below are the exact details and descriptions for everything that you need to know.

Shipping Cutoff Dates:

Ground Shipping: Sunday, November 15
Overnight: Monday, November 23.

Sparkling Thanks Three-Pack $126 | Members $107.10
The pop of a cork instantly elevates every occasion! Make the day extra special with our trio of our best-loved bubbles. Our brisk and impeccably balanced 2015 Ultra Brut is the perfect aperitif, while the richness and complexity of our award-winning 2015 Estate Brut pair beautifully with a range of seasonal dishes and sauces. Brimming with peach and rose, our ever-stylish 2016 Brut Rosé can easily carry the celebration through light desserts and beyond.

Plentiful Pinot Three-Pack $134 | Members $113.90
Three distinctive estate Pinots are the perfect red wine for the season, from fireside sipping to Thanksgiving feasting! Our bright, supple 2018 Avant-Garde is the perfect opener with fresh pomegranate, sweet cherry, warm oak, and cinnamon. The silky 2018 Domaine Carneros Estate is a symphony of berries and delicate spice. And, our gorgeously sophisticated 2017 Le Ciel Serein, captivates with ripe plum, wild berry, and cigar box.

“Thinking of You” Table Ensemble $68 | Members $54.40
Miles apart this year? These heartfelt touches will bring warmth and beauty to their table holiday, wherever they are. Our curated ensemble includes a ceramic 14” x 20.5” watercolor turkey platter with debossed Thanksgiving greetings, 10 festive gold-tone oak leaves, and three birch log candle holders—from 3.5” to 8” tall—complete with removable tea lights. Shipped from our cellar with your personal message on our Château note card.

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