Dominus Estate Napanook
Napa Valley, California, United States
November 20, 2018, James Suckling
“This is a flamboyant red that offers hazelnuts, dark berries and a hint of chocolate. Full-bodied with round and soft tannins. So fresh. So rich, enticing and layered. A blend of 84 per cent cabernet sauvignon, nine per cent petit verdot and seven per cent cabernet franc. Delicious now. Drink or hold. April 2019 release.”
The Wine Advocate
October 29, 2018, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“Very deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Napanook Proprietary Red Wine is composed of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc aged in 20% new oak. A beautiful perfume of violets, aniseed, truffles and lavender is just starting to emerge over a core of warm cassis, blackberry preserves and ripe plum plus hints of cedar chest, chocolate box, rare beef and cardamom. The palate is medium to full-bodied and firmly textured with very ripe tannins, gradually revealing layers of black and blue fruits plus loads of earthy sparks, finishing with amazing freshness and depth. 3,500 cases produced.”
Napanook is made solely from grapes grown at the historic Napanook Vineyard in Yountville, Napa Valley. The wine is blended from blocks in the vineyard that were carefully selected for their lively fruit, soft tannins and early maturing characteristics.
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. 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.
Varietals: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc
Harvest Start Date: September 15, 2016
Harvest End Date: September 29, 2016
Bottling Date: July 2018
New Oak: 20%
Cases Produced: 3500 – 9 Litre cases
Suggested Retail Price: $79.99