17 Jul Please The Palate Pick of the Week: The Art of Sparkling Wine Pairing of Mexican Bites with Bubbles at Domaine Carneros
This past week I took a trip up to Napa for a few days and as soon as I got off the plane, my friend and I drove straight to Domaine Carneros located in the Carneros AVA, between Napa and Sonoma counties. Many trips to Napa include a stop for sparkling wines at Domaine Carneros with the magnificent château and breathtaking views. On this visit, we enjoyed The Art of Sparkling Wine Pairing of Mexican Bites with Bubbles at Domaine Carneros, the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Sparkling wine is one of the most adaptable of wines. It is a wine that can be enjoyed with a myriad of flavors and at Domaine Carneros the versatility of sparkling wine is showcased through pairings with cuisines from around the world. I was last at Domaine Carneros at the end of 2018 where I experienced the first Art of Sparkling Wine Pairing with Asian Bites with Bubbles. Now, Domaine Carneros has traveled to Mexico as the inspiration for the second menu of The Art of Sparkling Wine Pairing.
We were escorted to the Jardin d’Hiver, the Art Nouveau conservatory located on the north terrace, where we sat surrounded by full-length glass windows and enjoyed views of the surrounding vineyards.
The appointment-only tasting includes four sparkling wines. There was the Domaine Carneros 2016 Ultra Brut ($48), the Domaine Carneros 2015 Estate Brut Cuvée ($36), The Domaine Carneros 2017 Brut Rosé ($45), and the Domaine Carneros 2016 Verméil Demi-Sec ($39). An interesting point is that the Ultra Brut, Brut and Verméil Demi-Sec are similar blends of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. The difference between each of these wines is the dosage, or level of sweetness.
The dosage of the Ultra Brut is 0.5%. The wine is crisp and linear with notes of green apple, lime, ginger, melon, and fresh flowers.
The dosage of the Estate Brut Cuvée is 0.9%. The wine has notes of green apple, macadamia nut, and citrus and is rich with fresh acidity on the palate.
The dosage of the Verméil Demi Sec is 2.5%. The wine has a beautiful nose of apple, lemon, and honeysuckle. It is rich with a round mouthfeel and a long creamy finish. The sweetness is delicate and balanced by the acidity.
The Domaine Carneros 2017 Brut Rosé is also a blend of Pinot Noir (59%) and Chardonnay (41%). It is a lovely salmon-pink color and has notes of cherries, peaches, roses, and honeysuckle.
Each pairing was inspired by the flavors and ingredients in Mexican cuisine.
The 2016 Ultra Brut was paired with Dungeness crab esquites with Sweet corn and queso fresco. The crisp, structured texture of the Ultra Brut was delicate with the crab and complimented by the sweetness of the corn and the chalky creaminess of the cheese.
The 2015 Estate Brut Cuvée was paired with scallop ceviche with avocado mousse and spicy mango salsa. The richness of sparkling wine helped cut the touch of spice in the dish and the creamy scallops lifted the fruit notes of the wine.
The 2017 Brut Rosé was paired with a chicken pibil tostada and the red fruit aromas, creamy midpalate and acidity were a lovely match with the spices of the pibil chicken.
The 2016 Verméil Demi Sec was paired with both the lamb in mole negro and the corn husk meringue with sweet and salty mousse, which was to die for! The slight sweetness of the wine melded beautifully with the rich mole sauce and with the corn husk meringue, it was a harmonious pairing.
With so many flavors and textures, the Mexican-inspired menu highlighted the diversity of the pairings you can do with sparkling wine. A visit to Domaine Carneros will add sparkle to any visit to Napa and these pairings are fun and flirtatious.
The Art of Sparkling Wine Pairing Mexican Bites with Bubbles at Domaine Carneros is available by appointment only. It costs $90 per person ($72 per person for club members).