98 Points “Loads of dark tobacco aromas with blackcurrants and black olives. Boysenberries, too. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and lots of flavors of smoke, dried roasted chillis, black truffles, mushrooms and fruit. Bright acidity on the finish. Sexy and subtle austerity. Alluring. Very approachable now but better in 2021.”
97 Points “The 2014s, where the production of Napanook was only 2,200 cases and Dominus slightly more than the 2015 at 4,000 cases, was another early harvest, although somewhat later than 2015. The 2014 Dominus, which is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot really struts its stuff. Moueix’s belief in dry farming seems to be paying off with stronger and stronger vintages, each successive year, and the 2014 is a sexy, opulent, layered, multidimensional wine with notes of red and blackcurrant, cedar wood, tobacco leaf , spice box and licorice. The color is a dense plum/ruby/purple, much like the Napanook. This is a beauty that is already drinking gorgeously – as most 2014s are – and will continue to evolve for 25 or so years.”
93 Points "When I first tasted this wine, in the spring of 2015 at Dominus with the estate’s proprietor Christian Moueix and director Tod Mostero, it convinced me that something was different about the 2013 vintage. Mostero explained that it had the highest level of tannins of any wine the estate had produced, and we talked about the unusual fruit character, which I found neither red nor black, but closer to a deep purple, with multidimensional floral complexity. Tasted with our panel 14 months later, the wine was dark and intense, completely savory in its tannie detail, pure in its fruit clarity. hinting at rosemary and flowers, yet touching on prunes and hiding some of the nearly explosive energy it offered up the year before. Grown at what would be a grand cru site if Nopa Valley were classified, a nook in western Yountville with deep, rocky soils and enough water running oft’ the hills to sustain the vines without irrigation, Dominus is consistently one of the top wines of the Napa Valley. I am certain this vintage will be longer-lived and more compelling to drink than either the 2012 or 2011, both of which I awarded higher scores on release. This 20t3 is shut down at the moment, lying in wait to show its greatness with bottle age."
#6 of Top 100 Wines "The aromas to this are multidimensional and fascinating with black truffles, bark, cloves, black currants, citrus, and even ginseng. Full-bodied, yet reserved and austere with chewy and powerful tannins that remain polished and refined. The flavors are more umami and savory. Then there are forest fruits and blood-orange undertones. The wine goes on for minutes. A wine to age for a lifetime. It's an experience to taste this. A new classic showing its history and tradition as a source of the greatest wines ever from Napa. A wine to enjoy forever."
92 Points "Dense and earthy, with a submerged core of rich blackberry, currant, anise and sage flavors. The dusty, loamy earth character lends balance and definition. Ends with cedary tannins and good length. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc."
100 Points "The aromas to this are multidimensional and fascinating with black truffles, bark, cloves, black currants and citrus - even ginseng. Full-bodied, yet reserved, even austere, with chewy and powerful tannins that remain polished and refined. The flavors are more umami and savory. Then there's forest fruits and red orange undertones. It lasts for minutes. A wine to age for a lifetime. It's an experience to taste this. A new classic showing its history and tradition as a source of the greatest wines ever from Napa. A wine to always enjoy."
100 Points "The 2013 Dominus is, to my way of thinking, one of the most profound wines Christian Moueix has yet made in his rather brilliant winemaking history, both in France and in Napa Valley. This wine, with very low yields of only 3,500 cases and a final blend of 89% cabernet sauvignon, 7% petit verdot and 4% cabernet franc, offers up notes of cedar wood, forest floor, loamy soil and oodles of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Very opaque purple in color, super-pure and intense, this wine has low acidity, but ripe, noticeable tannins. This is a 30- to 40-year wine and a profound effort from this famous vineyard in Yountville. Drink it over the next 40+ years."
100 Points "The 2013 Dominus overwhelms all the senses with its magnificent overall balance and towering intensity. Deep and nearly impenetrable in the glass, the 2013 boasts off the charts dry extract and overall power. Violets, smoke, black cherries, menthol, incense, crème de cassis and dark spices are some of the many signatures that take shape in the glass. Even better in bottle than it was in barrel, the 2013 is utterly magnificent. This is a remarkably vivid, nuanced wine considering its sheer size."
95 Points Editors’ Choice "A magical blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, this estate-crafted blend exudes elegance, etching out silos of herb, lavender, cedar and earth around savory-laced texture. A powerful concentration of dark chocolate appears on the lengthy finish, the wine sourced from dry-farmed, impeccably tended vines."
94 Points Year's Best Cabernet "If you’re used to riper styles of Napa Valley cabernet, give yourself time to adjust to the savory profile of one of the region’s oldest vineyard sites. Dominus sits on a rocky alluvial fan, a gentle benchland slope nestled into the western hills of Yountville. If, like some of their neighbors, Christian Moueix and Tod Mostero pushed the vines to extreme ripeness, you would find a sweeter wine in the glass. But they prefer to farm the vineyard so they can capture it at the moment when the grapes will sustain their distinctive flavors, yielding precision and detail in their tannins rather than the creamy smoothness that has come to define Napa Valley luxury wine. In fact, the 2012 vintage does provide a hint of sweetness in the end, red-fruited, bright and filled with youthful energy. That energy circulates through the wine in the fresh scent of bay and madrone, while the tannins gird the fruit for a long life ahead."
98+ Points "The exuberance and drama in the stunning nose of the dense plum-colored 2012 Dominus offers up notes of Asian spice, ripe, black currants, kirsch, tobacco leaf and Christmas fruitcake. It is full-bodied and opulent, with no hard edges, a seamless integration of acidity, wood and tannin and a density and richness that are built to go on for 25-30 years."
98 Points "The 2012 Dominus is a real head-turner. Flashy, voluptuous and intense, but with tons of underlying concentration, the 2012 is simply magnificent. A towering, vertical Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2012 Dominus is one of the most concentrated wines of the vintage, yet it also maintains considerable freshness, the signature of a late-ripening vintage with no heat spikes. Sweet red cherry, raspberry and floral notes add lift on the perfumed, expressive finish. The blend is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc."
94 Points "Deftly balanced, with an enticing mix of gravelly, loamy earth, dried berry, cedar and cigar box, all rich and extracted. Ends with raw, assertive tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2018 through 2030."
98 Points #56 of 2015 Top 100 Wines "Fabulous purity and clarity of fruit. Blackcurrants, blackberries and violets. Full body, big soft tannins and a chocolate, hazelnut and dark fruit character. Some hot stones. Fruit at the finish. Ripe and velvety finish. Better in 2020 but delicious to drink now. Wonderful Dominus."
97+ Points “A towering, majestic wine, the 2012 Dominus is a real stunner. Opulent and intense, yet backed up by a classic expression of acidity and tannin, the 2012 hits the palate with considerable richness. Graphite, dark red and black stone fruits, tobacco and incense soar from the glass as this voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon shows off its irresistible sexy personality. Expressive floral notes add lift on the finish. The 2012 has become a bit more tender than it was last year, which is excellent news for Dominus fans, especially with super powerful 2013s lurking right around the corner.”
99 Points "Flirting with perfection, the 2012 Dominus is composed of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Five thousand cases were produced, a relatively modest amount from this large vineyard’s big crop. Christian Moueix told me that there was plenty of heat in 2012, but there were no excessive hot spells that can plague Napa Valley vintners during the growing season and harvest. This wine’s opaque plum/purple color is accompanied by a beautiful nose of sweet crème de cassis, a touch of background oak (only 40% new oak is used), spice box, cedarwood, black cherries and a hint of spring flowers. The complex, intense aromatics are followed by a deep, opulent, multidimensional, full-bodied wine with not a hard edge to be found. Everything is seamlessly crafted in this beauty and the vintage’s abundant richness is well-displayed. This 2012 can be drunk in its exuberant youthfulness or cellared for another 20-25 years."
92-95 Points "Bright ruby-red. The nose combines a chocolatey ripeness and a medicinal reserve, offering scents of currant, licorice, flowers, spices and herbs. Dense, voluminous and harmonious; fully ripe but classically dry. This wonderfully horizontal wine finishes with serious plush tannins and really echoes and lingers on the aftertaste. Superb potential. Much more Old World than California in style."
94 Points BEST WINES OF THE YEAR "Christian Moueix and his team at Dominus have experience with rainy vintages in Bordeaux. They also farm a site that is particularly well adapted to draining excess water. So they produced a remarkable 2011, a late vintage challenged by rain close to harvest. It's proof that a challenge met can create something sublime - like this floral, red-raspberry-scented vintage of Dominus. It's tense chord of flavor incorporating green herb, tobacco, cassis and raspberry in lasting harmony. The sophisticated structure suggests it will age with grace, while the gentleness of that structure will make it accessible along the way. A great bottle for lamb."
93 Points "Wonderful aromas of tobacco, currant, berry and mineral. Ink and lead pencil. Full body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. Lovely texture and freshness. Not the amazing 2010 but excellent. Better in 2015."
94 Points "Savory herbs, menthol, smoke and licorice are some of the aromas that open up in the glass in the 2011 Dominus. This is a relatively immediate, expressive Dominus with plenty of near-term appeal. The style is open and succulent for the year, with lovely balance and poise. Crushed rose petals and dried herbs linger in the close. With time in the glass, the 2011 fleshes out nicely. In 2011 Dominus is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc."
98+ Points "The 2010 Dominus is one of the unquestioned stars of the evening. While some of the 2010s can be enjoyed young, Dominus is a powerhouse that will require a number of years to soften. It is a bit of a shame the 2010 is served early in this dinner, as it is truly magnificent. Tasted over several hours and into the next day, the 2010 only continued to grow. A wine of baritone-like depth and explosive structure, the Dominus is a long-distance runner. On this night it is dark, imposing and totally vertical in its sense of structure. The firm tannins beg for patience. Today, my impression is that Dominus will be one of the last 2010s to open up."
99 Points "This is a solid wine with a flawless nose of dark berries, sweet tobacco, tar and warm stones. Subtle and complex. Full body with a phenomenal mouthfeel and texture that is wonderfully silky. The finish is so incredible with caramalized orange peel, berries and lightly toasted oak. Very structured. Stony. Try after 2018."
93 Points "The texture is silky, with an undercurrent of green herb and pine needle in the tannins that adds complexity to all the saturated currant ans blueberry fruit."
92 Points "Graceful and refined, offering a subtle mix of delicate Cabernet flavors, with dried currant, cherry, herb, cedar, cigar box and graphite notes, ending with smooth, integrated tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot."
97+ Points "A towering, utterly magnificent wine, the 2010 Dominus boasts stunning depth and power. Asphalt, licorice, menthol, plums and cassis wrap around the palate and never let up. The 2010 is endowed with serious density and structure, so it is going to require plenty of time to come together. Melted road tar, sage and intense mineral notes support rich, dense fruit that is just beginning to emerge from beneath a wall of tannin. This is a fabulous showing."
100 Points "Composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot, the stunning, full-bodied 2010 Dominus boasts an exceptional perfume of hoisin sauce, licorice, underbrush, forest floor, plums, black currants and jammy cherries intertwined with hints of cedar, baking spices and oak. Full-bodied and voluptuously textured, the 2010 is on a slightly faster evolutionary track than the 2009 (somewhat of an anomaly for these two vintages). This exquisite as well as prodigious 2010 can be drunk young, but it should age effortlessly for 20-25 years. Bravo!"
96+ Points "The sweetest and most succulent black cherries, plums, violets, graphite, cinnamon and cloves come to life in the 2010 Dominus, a wine that stands out for its superb precision and balance. There is a purity and sheer sweetness in the fruit that is completely striking. ...The 2010 Dominus is a model of class and elegance. I find it utterly compelling."
97 Points "The 2009 Dominus saw about 40% new oak compared to the 20% for Napanook. A seamless classic, it offers a symphony of red and black currants, Asian plum sauce, lavender, and underbrush. Sweet Christmas fruitcake characteristics emerge from this magnificent Dominus that finished at 14.5% natural alcohol (slightly higher than usual). The seamless integration of acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol, the brilliant length and overall compelling complexity and richness make it one of the great classics from this historic estate. It should drink well for 20-25 years."
90 Points “...elegantly smooth tannins, dryness and earthiness that accompanies the blackberry and casis fruit.”
98 Points "Stunning nose of lavender and flowers. Currants and raspberries. Subtle and intriguing. Full and dense but wonderfully balanced with firm and silky tannins and a persistent finish. Dusty texture. A wine so balanced that you want to drink it already."
93 Points "Delightfully harmonious given its intensity, with complex aromas of savory herbs, flowers, ripe and dried currant and berry, crushed rock and cedar flavors. Well-proportioned, focused and persistent. Very youthful and vibrant."
95 Points "Good ruby-red color, more saturated than the Napanook. Knockout floral lift to the aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, blond tobacco, almond and mint. Suave, savory and extremely precise, with penetrating flavors of dark berries, licorice, minerals and cocoa powder. The petit verdot component acts as an amplifier of aromas and flavors, notes winemaker Tod Mostero, 'like a good seasoning.' Medicinal in a Bordeaux way. The finishes shows outstanding length, noteworthy juiciness, and firm, noble tannins. A great vintage for Dominus."
97+ Points "The 2009 Dominus flows from the glass with layers of highly expressive fruit. The wine possesses stunning richness, power and depth. Dark red fruit, tobacco, flowers and spices are woven into a seamless, beautifully articulated finish. Elegance and intensity are in perfect harmony here. This is a thrilling wine from Dominus."
93 Points "A short crop of concentrated berries produced this grand vintage of Dominus, one that will need long aging to show its best. Decant it if you open the bottle now, allowing the initial cabernet franc scent of green herbs to integrate--Josiah Baldivino of Michael Mina in San Francisco described it as 'adding a fine detail, like a pocket square in a suit.'" Air brings out the full stature of the wine, its black cherry richness, violet scents and silken texture. For provençal lamb."
94 Points "Very Bordeaux-like in its makeup and structure, this firm wine has good acidity and tight tannins, offering complex loamy earth, vivid dried currant and berry, with anise and mineral sprinkled in. This is my favorite young Dominus of late."
92 Points "Another fine Dominus, dry, well-structured and ageworthy... rich enough to drink now, and should develop over the next six years. Rewards for the depth of blackberries, cassis, blueberries and cedar, wrapped into plush tannins."
99 Points "Made in a more masculine style, the 2008 Dominus has all of that along with bigger body and more structure, fat, density and texture. Both are brilliant wines and they represent the finest back-to-back vintages for Dominus since 2001 and 2002 or 1990 and 1991. Both the 2007 and 2008 Dominus should drink well for 25-30 years..."
93 Points "Lots of forest berries and flowers in the nose. On the palate, it is thick and very rich, with big plummy fruit and a light raisin aftertaste. Chewy, round, and very generous on the palate."
98 Points "The 2007 Dominus, the quintessential model of haute couture, is pure elegance exhibiting a seamless integration of wood, tannin, alcohol and acidity as well as a complex bouquet of cedar, new saddle leather, sweet kirsch, black currant and plum fruit and a notion of licorice. Both the 2007 and 2008 Dominus should drink well for 25-30 years."
Top 100 Wines of 2010: "A stupendous vintage for this Yountville property, packed from first scent with a dark, loamy presence and yet perfectly bright and transparent in its flavors of kirsch, olive, dark stones, blue fruit. There's remarkable density, and fine tannins and a persistence to the taste signals potential to evolve for at least a couple of decades."
97 Points #16 in the Top 100 Cellar Selections -- "Easily the greatest Dominus in memory... Lacks for nothing in complexity and sheer deliciousness. Tantalizes with blackberry tart, cherry, carob bean and a Pinot Noiresque cola-rhubarb richness that retreats behind rich tannins and an earthiness suggesting sweet blond tobacco and dried sage."
"A lovely Napa cabernet with Bordeaux echoes, moderately tannic but not harsh."
"The 2007 is young and very much in line with the style and excellence of the 2006; both are pure and lush and voluptuous..."
94 Points "Thoroughly integrated acidity and enticing inner-mouth floral lift... Very suave and complex, finishing with noteworthy rising length and very sweet, fine-grained tannins. This beauty has the balance for a long and graceful life in bottle. "
"Highlights of blue fruits, kirsch olive, dried leaves and dusty stones are all packed into a wine that shows a tremendous energy, length and elegance even before its release, with higher acids and fine, slightly knotted tannins. It is likely to be among Dominus' finest releases."
98 Points "A prodigious example of Dominus, the 2007 represents a hypothetical blend of a Pomerol, Pauillac, and a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep ruby/purple-colored with a sweet nose of incense, cedar wood, black currants, black cherries, licorice, and a subtle hint of roasted herbs, it is an expansive, savory, opulent wine with a full-bodied mouthfeel, silky tannins, and sensational concentration. A legend in the making..."
92-95 Points "Sweet, suave and perfumed in the mouth but a bit youthfully tight today, and showing less flesh and fullness than the velvety 2006. But the wine's smooth tannins arrive late, allowing the fruit to build slowly and the wine's perfume to linger subtly."
96 Points "Starting to take on the tertiary character of ripe fruit and savory components with dusty tannins. Full and round with a lovely texture and a light salty, meaty and tobacco character. Forest floor. Sweet and sour. Just opening."
95 Points "The sweet berry and iodine character on the nose is fascinating. Intense aromas of stone and fruit. Full bodied, with chewy yet polished tannins. This is long and stylish, powerful..."
A Top 100 Wine of 20 "...an extraordinary, fresh Dominus...This Yountville property keeps producing strong, lean wines with amazing life in them. Coiled, with racy graphite and underbrush accents, it's full of lively cassis and blackberry, a hint of iron and a brooding tannic structure."
93 Points Cellar Selection "Right now it shows blackberry, black currant, cedar and baker’s chocolate flavors. Will slowly open and reach maturity after 2011, and could easily develop for far longer."
93 Points The Year's Best Cabe "Youthfully floral and tight, this vintage of Dominus is a big wine that holds all of its weight behind a powerful structure. And it’s the power of that structure that is front and center...Stay with it and the wine's earthiness begins to meld with the blueberry and chocolate richness."
94+ Points "There's a juicy quality to the ripe red fruit, mineral and graphite flavors, not to mention a firm underlying spine, that promises a long and positive evolution in bottle. Quite young but not austere, finishing with building tannins and lovely lift. The lingering perfume of red fruits, pepper, flowers and licorice is unusually complex. A really superb 2006, seemingly every bit as good as the sensational 2005."
96 Points "Its dark plum/purple color is accompanied by aromas and flavors of truffles, forest floor, black cherries, black currants, and Asian spices. One of the finest wines of the vintage, it is complete, full-bodied, and seamlessly built with beautiful ripe tannins, low acidity, and a luscious, layered mouthfeel."
"...The 2006 is...complex, structured and, yes, deliciously austere."
94-96 Points "The wine is slightly more fruit-forward than the 2005, but has a dark ruby/purple color and a beautiful nose of licorice, cedar, and espresso roast along with black currant and cherry notes. The wine is medium to full-bodied, has slightly more elevated and noticeable tannin than the 2005 (at least at this stage), builds a nicely textured mouthfeel as it sits on the palate, and has impressive length."
98 Points "This blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot (note that rarely is any Merlot utilized at the historic Napanook Estate in Yountville). The alcohol, by California standards, is a relatively modest 14.1%. Blending the best of French savoir faire with the brilliant fruit purity and ripeness of Napa Valley, Moueix has turned in another tour de force that seems far superior today than it did when it was first released. This is one of the vintage’s greatest wines. Dense purple and youthful, with a glorious nose of earth, blackcurrants, sweet black cherries and incense, the oak is pushed way in the background, as it is in all of the Moueix wines, and the result is a wine of terroir, of great originality and authenticity. This full-bodied classic from Dominus can be drunk now, but really won’t hit its prime for another 4-5 years and last at least another two decades or more."
Top 100 Wines of 200 "Christian Moueix's project showed off this banner year with a more reserved style. Radiant Cabernet aromas of tobacco and a lifted graphite tone mix with dusty plum. The palate is still wound up and young, but brightness and potential course through this highly structured wine. The wine's still in its infancy, but it's wonderful evidence that this Napa-Bordeaux alliance very much remains on its mission and is as good as ever."
3 stars (Excellent) "The project from Chateau Petrus owner Christian Moueix yielded a more subdued, nuanced profile in this banner vintage. Radiant Cabernet aromas of tobacco and a lifted graphite tone mix with dusty plum, very much in a Bordeaux left bank mode. The palate is still wound up and young - and the structure is profound - but brightness and potential course through, hinting at more than a decade of improvement if you age it."
American Wine Award "The Napa Valley property of Christian Moueix (of Bordeaux’s legendary Château Pétrus) produced an Old World–style Cab blend with a density and power that should reward years of cellaring."
96 Points "The 2005 Dominus...has come of age, and is one of the strongest efforts they’ve made. It is possibly the best Dominus since the 2001, and perhaps even the 1997 or 1991. A beautiful, sweet nose of roasted coffee interwoven with kirsch, black currant, cedar, and spice box emerges from this deep ruby/purple-colored wine. The wine has fabulous intensity, a layered, opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, well-integrated acidity, and a stunningly long finish. The layering of this wine as it builds incrementally on the palate is something to behold. An outstanding, sexy, ageworthy Dominus, it will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring, and last for at least 25 or 30 years."
92-95 Points "Saturated ruby-red. Vibrant, complex nose melds blackberry, cherry, violet, mocha, cocoa powder, game and tobacco. Rich, fat and large-scaled for a young Dominus, but with its sweetness buffered by excellent inner-mouth energy. This boasts terrific lift for a wine of its volume. Red and darker berry flavors are lifted by a minty topnote. Finishes with noble tannins and a whiplash of fruit....Incidentally, Christian Moueix and his team rank this wine with the 2001 as the best vintages of recent years."
90-92 Points ""...the 2005 Dominus exhibits a deep ruby/purple hue as well as a classic bouquet of fresh herbs, spice box, cedar, and black currants. Possessing more austere tannin and a tighter framework than the 2004, Moueix believes it is a more elegant and lighter version of the 2001. It will need 3-4 years of bottle age, and should easily keep for two decades."
94 Points "Bright, dark red with ruby highlights. Superripe but highly complex nose exudes scents of blueberry, violet, minerals, licorice, game and cocoa powder. Plush and seamless on the palate, conveying a wonderfully silky mouth feel to the dark fruit, coffee and licorice flavors; less animal in character than some other very ripe vintages of Dominus. This wonderfully suave, sweet, youthful wine finishes with slowly mounting, very fine-grained tannins and considerable class."
93 Points "This is fleshed-out, engagingly seductive, creamy-textured and rich in flavor, with purity, focus and depth, made special by supple, graceful nuances. Long, intricate and delicate on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot."
97 Points Like so many 2004s, the 2004 Dominus is a full-bodied wine showing brilliantly at age ten, with loads of complex cedar, kirsch, Christmas fruitcake, black currants and spice box. It has a creamy, opulent texture, but remains light on its feet. This sexy wine is showing exceptionally well and is best drunk over the next 10-15 years. Not one of the longest-lived wines from Dominus, but it is certainly at a wonderful point in its evolution right now.
4+ Stars "Fleshy and very ripely flavored, this is a generous wine, with rich fruitiness (blackberry, blackberry jam, black currant), evident new oak (vanilla, toast, cedar), and a long, mildly tannic finish. Fine quality -- best release yet from Dominus."
One of the Top 100 W "Christian Moueix still says he is learning to make great wine in Napa Valley, but after 21 years Dominus has more than found its stride. This is powerful, ageless Cabernet - a classic Bordeaux-like nose of currant, ropy licorice, cigar box, dried herbs and ripe blackberry lead to a lifted, well-defined palate. A graphite hint gives some edge to the long, silky finish, and the broad structure hints at its long life ahead."
4 Stars "This year's offering from Christian Moueix's Napanook Vineyard is one of the few wines to earn our four-star rating. ... Remarkable deep dark fruit, sweetly spiced blackberry compote, anise, dried oregano and minty cedar draw you in, but it's the equally complex, ever-evolving palate that commands attention. Dense fruit, warm spice and minerally tannins give hints of this wine's future. Decant the wine if enjoying it in its youth."
92 Points "Loamy aromas of cherry, raspberry, pencil and brown sugar. Flavors of cherry, citrus, milk chocolate and chalk are supple and uncharacteristically ripe at such an early age for this wine. Espresso notes perk up the close."
91+ Points "Deep red-ruby. Deep but reticent aromas of dark raspberry, cocoa powder, hot rocks and minerals, with notes of menthol and wintermint. Very firmly built...an almost Saint-Estephe-like menthol austerity."
94 Points "The elegant, dark plum/purple/garnet-colored 2004 exhibits a big, sweet perfume with cedar, mocha, black cherry liqueur, and black currant notes. It is medium- to full-bodied with silky tannin as well as a luscious mouthfeel and finish. This wine should be more accessible in its youth than many of its predecessors but ought to last for two decades."
94 Points "The elegant, dark plum/purple/garnet-colored 2004 Dominus exhibits a big, sweet, cedary, roasted herb, mocha, black cherry liqueur, black currant, and earth-scented perfume. Medium to full-bodied with silky tannin as well as a luscious mouthfeel and finish, it should be more accessible in its youth than many of its predecessors, but easily last for two decades."
95 Points "The 2003 Dominus is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot (14.1% alcohol). Remarkably, it is the 20th vintage for Christian Moueix. Always a Bordeaux-inspired wine with restraint yet substance as well as a textured richness, the 2003 exhibits a deep plum/ruby/purple color, a creamy, opulent texture, no hard edges, and a wonderful sweetness of foresty, black currant and cherry fruit mixed with underbrush and hints of Chinese black tea. Well-proportioned and full-bodied, yet never over-stated or out of balance, this is another beauty from Moueix."
95 Points "A big, sweet nose of roasted coffee, Provençal herbs, black currants, cherry jam, plums, allspice, and forest floor is followed by a spicy, rich, full-bodied, fragrant, intense wine. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025."
3 Stars, Recommended "Christian Moueix, head of Bordeaux's famed Chateau Petrus, used this bottling to celebrate 20 years of his wine from the Napanook vineyard. Dominus' relatively modest Bordeaux-like flavor profile, using just 40 percent new wood, tends to polarize Napa Cab lovers. This is a classic example, with 7 percent Cabernet Franc and 5 percent Petit Verdot blended in. Great counterpoint here: Wood notes of cedar and dried herbs balance out raspberry and currant highlights. Fresh, enticing aromas keep drawing your nose back to the glass. It's quite young, with a slightly wobbly finish."
93 Points “Christian Moueix’s Napanook vineyard has pedigree, and so does the wine. Moueix’s 20th—anniversary vintage, this emphasizes distinction and restraint, the deep black fruit scent and milder tobacco sweetness balancing the savor of fine tannins. It takes several days for the tannins to release the dark cherry flavors more completely. For the collector’s cellar.”
95 Points "The 2003 Dominus has turned out even better than I thought from barrel. There are 4,800 cases of this 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot blend. A big, sweet nose of roasted coffee, Provencal herbs, black currants, cherry jam, plums, allspice, and forest floor is followed by a spicy, rich, full-bodied, fragrant, intense wine. The tannins are sweet, but noticeable in this beautifully complex, strikingly aromatic 2003. It has much more similarity to a great Bordeaux than anything from Napa Valley. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025."
"Ruby color, deep chocolate tones, along with mint and clove and rich blackberry. Delicious. Explosiveness in the palate; complexity everywhere. If you consume now, decant. Better to cellar for another year or more. Buy!!"
90+ Points "Full red-ruby. Crystallized redcurrant, licorice, shoe polish, smoky oak and menthol on the nose. Dense, lush and sweet, but ultimately a Dominus of moderate size and scale. Fruit-driven flavors of redcurrant, black cherry and tobacco, with a hint of fresh herbs. Finishes with firm but fine tannins and a slight medicinal austerity. A stylish, rather Pauillac-like wine with lovely clarity of flavor. My sample had been poured into a decanter two hours before I tasted it and showed the benefits of aerating a very young cabernet-based wine. The same wine from a new bottle showed much more pungent green pepper and bay laurel aromas and a leaner texture."
99 Points "Even better than I predicted seven years ago, this 4,500-case blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Merlot has blossomed beautifully, revealing even greater intensity and potential than I predicted. A flawless, seamless integration of tannin, wood, alcohol and acidity is found in this dense, plum/purple-colored Dominus, along with copious notes of sweet black currants interwoven with kirsch, forest floor, unsmoked cigar tobacco, new saddle leather and forest floor. Full-bodied with velvety tannins, stunning elegance and a 45-second finish, this sensational 2002 rivals two of the all-time great wines made at Dominus, 1991 and 1994."
96 Points "The deep, saturated purple-colored 2002 boasts an extraordinary perfume of roasted coffee intermixed with black currants, cherries, cocoa, cedar, cigar smoke, and new saddle leather. A classic, full-bodied palate possesses great structure, tremendous depth, loads of tannin, and a multilayered, concentrated, yet elegant finish. It needs three to five years of bottle aging and should last for 25 years."
Exceptional "Fairly closed at first, but with an hour of air shows cherry, pepper, and tea notes, with hints of cumin and tar. One of the best Dominus wines ever made, with better tannin structure than in the past and a wine that seems built for the future."
94 Points The Super Cabernet "This wine combines staying power with tremendous elegance. The complex red fruit scents and satin pleasure of the texture make it well worth opening a bottle now. Age will add to the earthy complexity."
93 Points "Warm, pungent aromas of raspberry, vanilla, maple and smoke. Well-integrated flavors of cherry, licorice, pencil shavings and charred oak exhibit great depth and complexity. Smooth, spicy close shows ample fruit."
96 Points "The deep, saturated purple-colored 2002 boasts an extraordinary perfume of roasted coffee intermixed with black currants, cherries, cocoa, cedar, cigar smoke, and new saddle leather. A classic, full-bodied palate possesses great structure, tremendous depth, loads of tannin, and a multilayered, concentrated yet elegant finish. It is difficult to predict when this beauty will plateau in terms of maturity. My best guess is it needs 3-5 years of bottle age, and should last for 25 years."
99 Points "...full-bodied, rich, and still young. It is very much in keeping with this tannic yet ageworthy vintage for Bordeaux varietals in Northern California, especially in Napa Valley."
91 Points "This is very precise and focused with red fruits with polished and round tannins. ...beautiful and delicious."
98 Points "A brilliant showing for Christian Moueix’s well-known Napanook Vineyard, the 2001 Dominus is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. A classic in the making, this is a flawless, seamless example of elegant, complex Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that possesses a Bordeaux-like personality. This gorgeous, sexy, opulent, dense ruby/purple-colored wine reveals sweet caramel, mocha, creme de cassis and kirsch notes intermixed with a hint of espresso roast as well as underbrush. Ripe, long and full-bodied with well-integrated tannin, acidity, alcohol and wood, this prodigious 2001 is drinkable now and over the next 25+ years given this estate’s longevity track record. A virtually perfect wine, it is one of the most complex 2001s at present."
"The 2001 is a five-star wine and one of our favorites. The wine still has considerable youth, but the rich flavors of mocha and chocolate, of deep blackberry, spice, and anise are seductive in the extreme.
95 Points "The impeccably made 2001...boasts a dense plum/purple color in addition to a fragrant perfume of cocoa, cedar, coffee, roasted herbs, and black fruits. Rich and medium- to full-bodied, with sweet but noticeable tannin, a layered mid-palate, and a long finish, it will require three to four years of cellaring. It should last for two decades."
"The 2001 is a top-notch wine that combines the deep, fleshy structure of a classic Napa Valley Cabernet with the subtle nuances of Bordeaux winemaking."
94 Points "As good as the 2001 Napanook is, this wine is more intense. The fruit is lusher, the oak newer, the control more complete, but the kicker is the tannins. They’re powerful and dusty, and conceal the flamboyance, for now. This is a monster of a wine that desperately needs time before exploding. Hold until 2010 and beyond."
93 Points "Good ruby-red. Superripe aromas of plum, cherry, licorice, mocha, smoke and minerals. At once sweet and gripping, with very intense, nuanced flavors of cherry, plum, currant, tobacco, minerals and currant leaf. Despite the very high pH of 4.01, this shows no shortage of energy in the mouth. A muscular, firmly tannic, serious wine for aging. (A second sample that had been decanted for four hours prior to my visit was sweeter and more seamless, but still showed solid tannic spine.)"
95 Points "The impeccably made 2001 Dominus boasts a dense plum/purple color in addition to a fragrant, promising perfume of cocoa, cedar, coffee, roasted herbs, and copious quantities of black fruits. There are 7,000 cases of this 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot blend. Rich and medium to full-bodied, with sweet but noticeable tannin, a layered mid-palate, and a long finish with obvious tannin, it will require 3-4 years of cellaring. It should last for two decades."
90 Points "This Dominus is almost as good as the ’99. It’s not a lavish blockbuster, but the cassis and herb flavors are delicious, and well oaked. The prettiest part is the mouthfeel, all soft and velvety. Shows plenty of class and elegance."
90+ Points "Full red-ruby. Crystallized redcurrant, licorice, shoe polish, smoky oak and menthol on the nose. Dense, lush and sweet, but ultimately a Dominus of moderate size and scale. Fruit-driven flavors of redcurrant, black cherry and tobacco, with a hint of fresh herbs. Finishes with firm but fine tannins and a slight medicinal austerity. A stylish, rather Pauillac-like wine with lovely clarity of flavor."
91 Points "Opens with herbal aromas of sage, dill and tobacco, with a vanilla, oaky note, so it’s surprising how rich it drinks. Sweet cassis is on the palate, framed in soft but intricate tannins."
95 Points "A wine of great intensity, depth and complexity. Beautifully crafted, ripe, rich and creamy, showing off pretty vanilla and mocha-scented oak before a deep core of currant, blackberry, black cherry and minerally flavors fold in. Firm tannins add structure on the finish."
91+ Points "Medium red-ruby. Spicy red- and blackcurrant, plum, currant leaf and mocha on the claret-like nose. Dense and rich, with spicy red berry and lightly floral flavors nicely framed by harmonious acidity. ...Firmly tannic and very strong on the back end, with an almost medicinal austerity; very much a wine from small berries."
91 Points "Earthy, elegant and refined Cabernet blend, delivering layers of currant, tar, black cherry, cedar, coffee and anise, all sharply focused and framed by just the right amount of tannin."
90 Points "Saturated red. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, smoked meat, roasted tomato, earth and tobacco leaf; deeper and more complex than the Napanook bottling. A step up in complexity, vibrancy and precision of flavor. Silky and fairly deep, with slightly truffley chocolate and tobacco flavors. Finishes with big but suave tannins and a hint of licorice."
95 Points "Saturated ruby-red. Multidimensional nose offers a panoply of scents: black plum, currant, leather, smoked meat, cigar ash, lead pencil, sandalwood, dark chocolate, licorice, brown sugar. Very bright and sharply defined; flavors of plum, leather, hot stones and lead pencil. An impeccably balanced wine of compelling sweetness, but rather dominated today by its structure. Strong, thoroughly ripe tannins spread out to coat the entire palate. Very long and subtle."
94 Points "Really impressed how balanced and refined the wine is. The texture is so silky and beautiful, and the fruit pure, even more satisfying."
"The 1996 is one of the finest vintages of the decade, along with 1990 and 1994, and if you have any, continue to cellar, but you can also start drinking because the tannins are nearly evolved and finalized. The texture is gorgeously seductive and the wine as a whole is reminiscent of a great Bordeaux."
94 Points "Medium saturated color. Sweet, funky, exotic, "individualistic" nose suggests a lot of brett and barnyard, reminding us of saddle leather and pure horse sweat. In its own weird way, we like it! Challenging on the palate as well, a concentrated, odd cabernet that's noticeably "gluey." It's thick, well-structured and quite dry. This was perhaps the most difficult wine to evaluate, as opinions were all over the map. Long finish."
99 Points "Christian Moueix and his talented winemaking team continue to rewrite the definition of a Napa Valley reference point wine. I have had a difficult time keeping the corks in my bottles of 1994 Dominus. The 1994 is a strikingly thick, compellingly rich wine with the texture of a great Pomerol, despite being made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine exhibits a dense purple color, and an incredibly fragrant nose of jammy black fruits, spice, smoke, and loamy, truffle-like scents. In the mouth, it is full-bodied, with thrilling levels of extract and richness, but no sense of heaviness or harshness. This seamless Dominus possesses no hard edges, as its acidity, tannin, and alcohol are beautifully meshed with copious quantities of ripe fruit."
95 Points “Gorgeous aromas of sweet tobacco, iodine and oysters. Blackcurrants, too. Subtle. Medium to full body, elegant and refined tannins, and yet there's also delicious, understated complexity. Savory. A joy to drink now, but this will improve with age.”
92 Points “The 2014s, where the production of Napanook was only 2,200 cases and Dominus slightly more than the 2015 at 4,000 cases, was another early harvest, although somewhat later than 2015. The 2014 Napanook is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot, showing notes of loamy earth, Christmas fruitcake, black cherry and blackcurrant fruit and underbrush in a supple, fragrant and lush heady style. It is another successful wine that should drink beautifully young and age nicely for up to 20 years.”
91 Points "This is a selection from Christian Moueix’s estate on the western edge of Yountville, where only 25 percent of the vintage went into Dominus. Napanook tends to come from younger vines and the sunnier side of each vine row, as well as blocks to the east, where the influence of the rocky, benchland soils is less prevalent. Napanook takes on a coltish energy in the 2013 vintage. If you open the bottle and pour, you might find candied cherry flavors and firm, brisk tannins. A day later, that candied edge is gone, absorbed into the airy tannins, the tight, linear structure yielding mineral notes and juicy freshness. Give it hours in a decanter, or cellar it for at least five years."
93 Points "The estate Napanook is made to be soft in tannin and fresh in fruit. It succeeds in this vintage on both accounts, blending 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, allowing the wine to age in 20% new barrels. Clove, currant, black tea and chocolate-covered raspberry lie luxuriously on the palate, finishing in velvety violet."
93 Points Cellar Selection "A blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot, this soft, approachable wine from a storied producer is meant to enjoy young and yet exudes plenty of complexity. Luscious aromas of graham cracker and blueberry jam belie a classically balanced measure of integrated tannins and dark chocolate. Drink now through 2020.”
94 Points "The 2012 Napanook is a big, intense wine, especially if given some time in the decanter. Rich red cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and spice meld together in an effortless, gracious Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins are silky and polished, which gives the 2012 much of its early appeal, but there is so much density and pure concentration that a few years in bottle will only do it good. The 2012 is a fabulous Napanook. Frankly, the 2012 is as good or better than the top wines at many estates. Napanook remains one of the great values in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot."
95 Points "This is shows wonderful aromas of tar, asphalt, wet earth and pure cherries. Full-bodied, yet soft and velvety with a fine dusty texture to the finish. Fresh and austere. Dignified. This has no cabernet franc in it this year. Normally there is 3% to 5%. It’s 95% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot. Drink or hold."
92 Points “In addition to being flat-out delicious, the 2012 Napanook is also one of the very best values in top Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, sumptuous and exceptionally polished, the 2012 captures all of the best qualities of the year. Raspberry jam, spices, wild flowers and cinnamon wrap around the silky finish in a Cabernet Sauvignon that over delivers big time. The flavors are bright and focused, but the texture is classic 2012. What a gorgeous wine this is.”
92 Points "The 2012 Napanook (a 3,000-case blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot) is one of the strongest second wines Moueix has produced to date. Made in a sexy, open-knit, opulent style very much in keeping with the vintage’s signature, it offers up luscious notes of bay leaf, lavender, red and blackcurrants, plum sauce, licorice and Christmas fruitcake. This is a gorgeous, opulent, medium to full-bodied 2012 that is already revealing considerable complexity. Drink it over the next 10-15 years."
90-92 Points "(a 95/5 blend of cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot): Bright red-ruby. Blueberry, licorice and tobacco leaf on the nose. Sweet and densely packed, with lovely depth of fruit for this second wine. Rich, pliant and layered, showing good energy but zero aggressiveness to its flavors of currant, chocolate and espresso. Finishes with a note of nutty oak and good grip. Looks to be an excellent vintage for this wine."
91 Points "A tangy, fresh red with green tobacco, light chocolate and cherries. Full to medium body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. 83% cabernet sauvignon, 9% petit verdot and 8% cabernet franc. Drink now."
91 Points "The 2011 Napanook is deep, rich and intense for the year. Plums, mocha, spices, licorice all flesh out in an inviting wine to drink now and over the next few years. The 2011 has no hard edges or greenness, but the medium-bodied structure suggests it is best enjoyed sooner rather than later. The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc."
95 Points "Fresh and floral with berry, light cedar and chocolate character. Full body with a dense center palate and gorgeous berry, chocolate and hazelnut. Long finish. One of the best Napanooks ever. Second wine of Dominus. 98% cabernet sauvignon and 2% petit verdot."
94 Points "Dark red cherry, plum, spice, wild flowers and mint jump from the glass in the 2010 Napanook. Layered and totally sensual, the 2010 impresses for its balance. With time in the glass, the wine blossoms beautifully, filling out its frame with impeccable grace. Beams of minerality and acidity support the powerful, salivating finish. The 2010 Napanook is one of the wines of the vintage in its price range. The 2010 is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. The absence of Cabernet Franc and Merlot gives the 2010 much of its unique, compelling personality."
92 Points "The 2010 Napanook (98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot) reveals a pungent, spicy, earthy, slightly herbal nose, and an exuberant mouthfeel with lots of plum, licorice, red and black currants and a hint of sweet cherries. The wine is slightly more in-your-face and aggressive than most Napanooks, but I enjoyed its exuberant style. Drink this beautiful 2010 over the next 12-15 years."
89 Points "This wine offers a myriad of raspberry and cherry jam, red currant and caramelized oak flavors. Based on Cabernet Sauvignon, with additions of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it’s a rich, satisfying wine, but a little underwhelming for a Dominus wine."
92 Points "The 2010 Napanook emerges with sweet floral notes, black cherries, menthol, cloves, pine and incense. Beguiling and beautiful, the 2010 impresses for its overall harmony and total balance. ...Exotic aromas and flavors continue to develop as the wine sits in the glass. This is a striking showing from Dominus."
93 Points "The 2009 Napanook, which Moueix claims to be one of his favorite wines of the last decade, is among the finest they have made. A blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, it exhibits a dark plum/purple color along with a big, sweet bouquet of licorice, incense, roasted herbs, loamy soil, kirsch, black currants and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied with silky tannins and a round, opulent mouthfeel, this beauty can be drunk now and over the next 12-15 years."
93 Points "The 2009 Napanook is simply glorious. Sweek dark cherries, mint, tobacco, wild flowers and licorice all jump from the glass. The 2009 is a juicy, extroverted Napanook that impresses for its sheer pleasure and total harmony. Layers of fruit continue to build onto the huge, creamy finish."
91 Points "Balanced and soft with lovely savory fruit with raspberries and currants. Long and caressing. This is so drinkable. Gorgeous wine."
90 Points "Elegantly smooth in the mouth, like silk and velvet—this has rich, forward blackberry, black currant and oak flavors. It feels dramatic and complex, a white-tablecloth Cabernet for pairing with fine meats and cheeses."
90 Points "Good medium ruby-red. Cool, rather shy aromas of dark berries, licorice and pepper, with nuances of white fruits. Supple and spicy, with an herbal quality to the flavors of dark berries, spices and mint. Nicely fine-grained in the mouth but in a cool style. The slightly drying finish shows a good kick of tannins and calls for at least a couple years of patience."
92 Points "The 2009 Napanook is rich, powerful and seductive. This is a more radiant, brighter style than the 2008. There is considerable fleshiness as the wine opens up in the glass. The 2009 is a very sexy Napanook endowed with tons of personality and sheer class. Despite its generous fruit, there is more than enough underlying structure to allow the wine to drink well for a number of years."
89 Points "With grapes from Yountville, this Bordeaux blend, which is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, has a very fine structure. It’s firm in tannins and acidity, with a bracing minerality. The flavors are already quite advanced, suggesting jammy cherries, blackberries and cassis. Drink now for sheer deliciousness, after decanting."
91 Points "A balanced and pretty wine with blueberry and minerals. Medium to full-bodied, with fine tannins and a delicious finish. Dried flowers, milk chocolate and spices. No need to wait for this; it's ready."
93 Points "The 2008 Napanook...may be one of the greatest Napanooks made. It is a deeper, richer, more intense wine with full body, an endearing texture and a long, pure finish. These two are 'take your pick' vintages, but wine enthusiasts would probably be remiss in not having both 2007 and 2008 in their cellars."
89-90 Points "Some serious tannins kick in on the minerally finish."
91 Points "...the 2007 continues to show wonderful elegance, sweet finesse and ripe Napa Valley fruit."
Top vintners not at top dollar -- "Affordable bottles made by some of the year's top winemakers"
"The bouquet was lively and rich with scents of black currants, cranberries, dark cherries and spice. The mouth feel was plush, the texture silky and elegant. Drinkable immediately, it should age well for a few years."
"When you consider the quality, this lush, complex Bordeaux-style blend is a steal at this price. This wine, which comes from as fine a "sweet spot" for cabernet sauvignon (61 percent of the mix) as anywhere in the world, delivers a classic mix of black cherry, cassis, wild berry, chocolate and coffee flavors. Big without being a blockbuster, it appeals to both the senses and the mind. While delicious now, it will gain depth and bouquet for 20 years or more."
90 Points "Suave on entry... with an edge of acidity to the black raspberry, redcurrant and mocha flavors. Slightly dry tannins. There's solid density here..."
"A ripe, silken profile that makes it immediately friendly - with a pure Cabernet nose accented by tobacco, bay leaf and red fruit high tones. It's already engaging, without a hint of austerity. A second label like this leaves plenty of mainliners in the dust."
92 points "The 2007 Napanook...exhibits the Bordeaux style that proprietor Christian Moueix has fashioned from this legendary vineyard in Yountville. Its deep plum/ruby color is accompanied by sweet aromas of cedar, black currants, cherries, spice box, and earth. Lush, fleshy, elegant, and pure, it should drink nicely for 15+ years."
91 points "...[I]t’s the best release since 2003. Dry and well-structured, it offers complex flavors of black current and sweet grill oak."
94 points, Part of t "The 2006 Napanook...is transparent, its beauty easy to see. It may, in fact, be the best vintage of Napanook we’ve tasted on release--all black currents and peppercorn spice, lifted, savory, dark and intense."
89+ Points "Deep red-ruby. Raspberry, mocha, tobacco, brown spices, menthol and herbs on the lively and inviting nose. Supple on entry ... with flavors of red fruits, smoke, flowers and earth along with some slightly edgy acidity."
92 points "The 2006 Napanook...is made in a riper, more California style than usual, displaying more exuberant, up-front notes of kirsch, black currants, and plums. Deep and full-bodied with low acidity, sweet tannin, and a fleshy, succulent personality, it tastes like a classic Napa Cabernet."
90-92 Points "An elegant wine with notes of sweet cherries intertwined with coffee bean, cedar, subtle underbrush, and blacker fruits, the oak is clearly in the background of this wine, which is medium to full-bodied, with silky tannins, and should drink nicely for 10-12+ years."
Recommended Selected as a terrific value under $40
2.5 stars (Excellent "Christian Moueix intends for this wine - the just-released 10th vintage made from Napanook Vineyard grapes - to be enjoyed in the near term. High-toned chamomile, black raspberry, cedar, toasted sesame seed, slight brioche and mint chocolate aromas. Medium-bodied palate with bright huckleberry and dark plum skin on the lengthy finish; slightly firm tannins."
91 Points "The 2005 Napanook...has turned out to be a beauty. Four thousand cases of this wine were made, and it exhibits wonderful cedar, spice box, roasted herb, and sweet black cherry and cassis notes in a medium to full-bodied style with sweet tannin, impressive texture, and silky, long, lush finish. It should drink well for 10-15 years."
89-92 points "(recently pumped to tank and not yet fined) Good full ruby-red. Primary aromas of cherry, plum, raspberry, currant, tar, menthol and tobacco leaf. At once sweet and tangy, with menthol and mint notes lifting the juicy red berry flavors. This has an almost exotic spicy/floral quality and plenty of inner-palate energy. Finishes with firm, ripe tannins."
90 Points A blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec from the proprietor of Dominus, the 2004 Napanook Cabernet Sauvignon is a soft, consumer-friendly style of wine. It is seductive, has a dark plum/garnet color, plenty of tobacco leaf, black currants, cedar and spice box in a medium to full-bodied, round, generous, yet elegant, style. Drink it over the next decade. There are 3,600 cases of this wine, which was made from fruit harvested between August 23-September 26, with yields of 2.3 to 2.7 tons per acre.
3 Stars "A rich cab with brambly fruit flavors. Notes of blackberry, black plum and tobacco."
90 Points "Reserved aromas of cranberry, plum and dust with a bell pepper nuance. Flavors of red fruit, oak char and mocha show much vigor. Lean, earthy close."
89 points "Red-ruby. Sexy aromas of redcurrant, gravel, minerals and flowers; the perfume reminded me of nebbiolo! Juicy, nicely delineated flavors of raspberry, redcurrant, flowers, mint and a whiff of meat. A rather elegant, complex wine with good lift."
93 points “Christian Moueix’s Napanook vineyard has pedigree, and so does the wine. Moueix’s 20th—anniversary vintage, this emphasizes distinction and restraint, the deep black fruit scent and milder tobacco sweetness balancing the savor of fine tannins. It takes several days for the tannins to release the dark cherry flavors more completely. For the collector’s cellar.”
90 Points "The second wine (3,100 cases), the 2003 Napanook, is a blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot and Malbec. It offers a dark plum/garnet color as well as an evolved but intriguing nose of cedar, spice box, high quality cigar smoke, sweet currants, incense, red cherries, plums, and black currants. Complex with excellent concentration, beautiful balance, and sweet tannin, it can be drunk now or cellared for another 10-15 years."
92 Points "The 2002 Napanook (2,400 cases from a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec) is more structured and tannic than the 2003, but also deeper colored with additional notes of plum liqueur, black currants, underbrush, cedar, and licorice. Full-bodied, rich, and powerful, this impressive effort requires 1-3 years of cellaring, and will drink well over the following 12-15 years."
Recommended "The winemaking genius of Christian Moueix is clearly evident in this classic Bordeaux-style blend that, in this case, highlights the minty, piney cabernet sauvignon."
91 Points "Very dry, and young in its fresh tannins and acids framing ripe, grapey currant flavors, mocha, vanilla and sweet dill. Obviously very fine and balanced, with a powerful finish. Beautiful now, but should develop through this decade."
90 Points "Slightly medicinal aromas of redcurrant, cedar, cigar box and mint. Juicy and nicely delineated in the mouth, with redcurrant, tobacco, mineral and floral flavors. Offers good freshness and length. The flavors are claret-like, dry and adult, but the tannins are nicely ripe. Includes a trace of malbec (1%) for the first time. An excellent vintage for this bottling."
88 Points "The 2001 Napanook exhibits a chocolaty, black cherry, and currant-scented nose with hints of dried herbs, cocoa, cedar, and spice in the background. Incredibly Bordeaux-like, it possesses soft, sweet tannin, medium body, and undeniable elegance. Enjoy it now and over the next 7-8 years."
88 Points "Slightly medicinal aromas or redcurrant, cedar, cigar box and mint. Juicy and nicely delineated in the mouth, with redcurrant, tobacco, mineral and floral flavors. Offers good freshness and length. The flavors are claret-like, dry and adult, but the tannins are nicely ripe. Includes a trace of malbec (1%) for the first time. An excellent vintage for this bottling."
86 Points "The 2000 Napanook possess a dark plum/garnet color in addition to an elegant, spicy, cedary bouquet revealing hints of chocolate, dried herbs, and red as well as black currants. Medium bodied, soft and easy-going, it is best consumed over the next 4-6 years."
Producer Worth Check A producer "of balanced, restrained Napa cabernets"
"The best work of contemporary architecture in Napa is off-limits to the public: Dominus Estate in Yountville, an austere box that tucks all the winery operations behind walls formed by wire cages filled with basalt rocks. It's by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, who later designed San Francisco's M.H. de Young Memorial Museum and were the 2001 recipients of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the field's highest honor. If you want a peek, turn west off Highway 29 onto Madison Street, take a sharp right and you're outside the estate - looking through its elegant screened metal fence. What you'll see is underwhelming, a long gray rectangle that projects no image at all. It's a container made of containers. The feeling that unfolds inside is something else, a hypnotic exercise in efficient restraint and low-key contradictions. The structure is heavy as can be, yet light and air seep in from outside. And while there's nothing organic about the shape, it has an earthiness that feels far more natural than the opulently landscaped showplaces elsewhere in the valley."
"I can't think of anyone other than Christian Moueix who could claim to produce one of the greatest wines in France and one of the best in the U.S. For more than three decades, Moueix has been the winemaker for Bordeaux's renowned Château Pétrus, which is owned by his brother Jean-François. Since 1983, Moueix also has been the winemaker for Dominus Estate in California's Napa Valley and, since 1995, the estate's sole owner.
Moueix brings to Napa savoir faire, impeccable attention to detail, and classic Bordeaux winemaking techniques. He has consistently produced wines that smell, taste, and age like great Bordeaux. That is a remarkable achievement, because Pétrus is virtually 100% merlot, while Dominus is largely 80% or more cabernet sauvignon."
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