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 in honor of the antique iron gate which stands at the entrance to Domaine Carneros, a gift from the Taittinger family. For the past thirty years, we have carefully cultivated three old-vine blocks of the historic Swan selection of Pinot Noir. Each small block is located at a different vineyard; two are in Napa, and one on the western Sonoma side of Carneros. In this wine, Swan takes center stage, with two supporting characters – “Hanzell” selection and “Dijon 115” to create the highest expression of our estate-grown Carneros terroir.
The 2021 Famous Gate Pinot Noir opens with enticing aromas of rose petal, hot brick, and pomegranate. On the palate, there is sweet cranberry with a hint of tea leaves and saddle leather, and a creamy texture leading to the long, smooth finish. This wine sees extended aging of 16 months, which lends soft 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.
The 2021 growing season commenced with an early budbreak followed by unseasonably cool spring and early summer temperatures, which helped preserve vineyard health as we entered a second year of drought conditions. Summer temperatures were moderated by the marine layer which allowed the grapes to mature slowly and consistently and resulted in wonderful depth of flavor and concentration at harvest.
16 Months Barrel Aged in French oak, 45% new. Clones: 80% Swan, 16% Hanzell, 4% Dijon 115
Food Pairing Notes
We recommend pairing this exquisite wine with equally interesting dishes such as Moroccan lamb tagine with orange and ras el hanout, beef bourguignon, or fig and prosciutto pizza with caramelized onions.