Through this wine, one can trace the history of pinot noir at Domaine Carneros. In 1992, we made our first two barrels and called it The Famous Gate. For the past twenty-nine years, we have carefully cultivated three small blocks of the Swan selection. Each block is located at a different vineyard; two are in Napa, and one on the western, Sonoma side, of Carneros. All blocks were planted between 1998 and 1999.
This 2020 vintage of the Famous Gate Pinot Noir opens with enticing aromas of baked cherries, cranberry, and pomegranate with a hint of tea leaves and saddle leather. On the palate, there is sweet Bing cherry and a creamy texture leading to the long smooth finish.
The 2020 vintage is defined by low yields and concentrated, complex fruit. Early spring frosts and rain during May fruit set limited the number of berries per cluster. Summer drought kept berries small while optimal temperatures throughout July and August ripened them beautifully. Harvest commenced on August 3rd and was one of the fastest in recent memory. All grapes destined for our sparkling wine were picked within 3 weeks and by September 17th, our 34th harvest was complete.
In this iteration, there are three supporting characters - the iconic “Swan” clone is complimented by “Hanzell” and “Dijon 115”, to create the highest expression of our estate grown Carneros terrior. This wine was aged in barrel for 16 months, which lends supple tannins and warm savory spice. While poised and delicious to drink now, the impeccable balance, bright acidity, and persistence of the palate provide evidence for graceful aging.
Food Pairing Notes
We recommend pairing this exquisite wine with equally interesting dishes such as Moroccan lamb tagine with orange and ras el hanout, or fig and prosciutto pizza with caramelized onions.