Dominus Estate Dominus
Napa Valley, California, United States
98 Points, #26 Top 100 American Wines of 2018
November 20, 2018, James Suckling
“The opulence of fresh flowers and dark fruit is so impressive. There’s so much going on, from flowers to currants. The palate is full and powerful, but what impresses most are the ripe tannins and the amazing poise at the finish. Tightens down at the end. A blend of 84 per cent cabernet sauvignon, eight per cent petit verdot and eight per cent cabernet franc. Drink in 2021.”
The Wine Advocate
October 29, 2018, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“A blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc aged in 40% new oak, the 2016 Proprietary Red Wine is deep purple-black in color and quite reticent at this youthful stage to begin, offering up subtle notions of potpourri, Indian spices, cigar box and iron ore over a core of crushed blackberries and black cherries with intermittent wafts of black and red currants, new leather and smoked meats. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a densely packed mid-palate and oodles of freshness framed by very ripe, finely grained tannins and laced with compelling earthy accents. It offers incredible vibrancy with tons of black and red fruit sparkle in the mid-palate leading to a provocative mineral element on the very long finish. If I could give more than 100 for this one, I would. To be released in May 2019.”
Dominus Estate is the Napa Valley property of Bordeaux producer Christian Moueix. The wine is bottled from the historic Napanook Vineyard. Located at the foothills of the Mayacamas, the vineyard was planted in 1838 and continues to evolve under the stewardship of Christian Moueix. The estate’s Bordeaux varietals benefit from the Yountville microclimate where temperatures are moderated by cool breezes from the San Pablo Bay. The resulting wine is a uniquely refined expression of this special terroir.
Enjoying a temperate climate, the vineyard’s volcanic, well draining soils are specifically suited to growing Cabernet Sauvignon and the other Bordeaux varietals which compose the Dominus Estate wines. The soil is gravelly and clay loam. Meticulous efforts are made throughout the seasons to produce grapes of the highest quality for Dominus Estate wines.
During the winter season, precise cane pruning ensures ideal cluster spacing for optimal fruit ripening. Dry farming relies on a deep root system to take advantage of natural water sources from rain and underground supplies. Cluster thinning optimizes quality through yield regulation.
Rinsing the grapes 10 to 15 days before harvest removes dust and enhances the purity of the fruit. Hand-picking with small french shears instead of harvest knives minimizes bruising and vine damage. Small harvest baskets preserve the integrity of the clusters as they are transported to the winery. The sunny side of the vines is picked a few days before the shady side respecting perfect maturity.
Minimal intervention and restraint throughout the process of grape berry selection, fermentation and aging preserve the character of the fruit. The resulting wines convey the very personality of the vineyard. Dominus winemaking includes separate lot-by-lot fermentation. Cluster sorting by hand is complemented by an optical berry sorting system. Gentle pumping-over extracts aromas, color and tannins. Vertical wine press at low pressure delicately releases components from the skin. Racking barrel to barrel in 100% french oak removes sediment and assures clarification of the wine during aging.
Rainy days were spread out evenly over the course of a warmer than average winter (November to March: 31.2 inches total, 11.2 inches in March). With soil water reserves full, vines grew quickly with dense canopies. Bloom and veraison unfolded in warm and dry conditions and one heat spike of 103°F was recorded on July 26th. Ripening slowed down in August because of cooler temperatures and late morning fog. Fruit zone de-leafing and higher temperatures in September helped fruit to ripen consistently.
Decanting the wine prior to serving is recommended to allow it to develop its full potential. This is especially important when serving young Dominus wines.
Varietals: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc
Harvest Start Date: September 16, 2016
Harvest End Date: September 30, 2016
New Oak: 40%
Cases Produced: 5500 – 9 Litre cases