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.”
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."
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