The LVMH (Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton) group owns the Domaine Chandon property in the heart of Napa Valley. In addition to a huge production of sparkling wines they also have a great restaurant which has been around for decades. Executive Chef Perry Hoffman has helmed the restaurant only since 2007, but he might be the best contribution the restaurant ever had.
The Domaine Chandon is a big property with hordes of tourists arriving every day which might be a bit on the downside for everyone seeking his own ultra luxurious wine estate. You have a beautiful walk from the parking lot up to the dining room of étoile Restaurant, across a bridge surrounded by a pond and fountains. Weather permitting you should dine al fresco and enjoy the gorgeous views of the vineyard, the creek and the garden. Believe it or not, but due to the harsh rules and limited amount of liquor permits in California, the Domaine Chandon is the only property with both a vineyard and a commercial fine dining restaurant on the same site.
Executive Chef Perry Hoffman is a Napa Valley native and has been surrounded by and lived with fine dining in one of the best wine regions in the world during his whole life. His grandparents, Sally and Don Schmitt, were the original owners of The French Laundry in Yountville. Hoffman helped his grandparents in the kitchen at young age and took his first outside restaurant job working at the neighboring restaurant when he was 15. He continued his career in the nearby Anderson Valley at the Boonville Hotel. There he was taught the importance of seasonal cooking and to strive to use only the freshest local produce. The Chef continued to Santé Restaurant at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn for some time before he went on to Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley. Finally Hoffman became the Chef at étoile Restaurant in 2007 and has received lots of acclaims ever since.
The cuisine is contemporary Californian with heavy influences from France, and of course you can have sparkling wines paired to every single dish you have, since that is what the property produces. étoile Restaurant is a great choice for a less formal fine dining experience in a wonderful setting, with a cuisine made by one of the best chefs in the region.
Written by Andy