Dominus Estate Dominus
Napa Valley, California, United States
December 26, 2023, Jeb Dunnuck
“One of the legendary Dominus, the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon is unquestionably in the same league as the 2018, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2010, and 1991, and to my mind, wine simply doesn't get any better. Sporting a dense purple hue as well as an incredible perfume of blackcurrants, crushed stone, cedar pencil, smoke tobacco, and baking spices, it s rich, full-bodied, and voluptuously textured, with ripe yet building tannins. It reminds me slightly of the 2010 (maybe the 2013), and I suspect it will have a similar evolution. Hide bottles for 7-8 years, and it will evolve gracefully for 30+ years. Hats off to the team of Christian Moueix and director Tod Mostero.”
December 2023, Antonio Galloni
“The 2021 Dominus is a powerful, tightly-coiled wine that is holding back quite a bit of reserve. There's real depth and resonance waiting to emerge as the wine matures. Floral overtones and bright acids confer energy to a core of red/bluish fruits. Readers will find a Dominus built more on linear precision rather than opulence. It is hugely impressive in this tasting, with a long chalky finish.”
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. 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.
Voluptuous and vibrant, dense evergreen forest floor, incense, profound depth, rich plum and an extremely long finish.
The vintage was characterized by a dry winter and spring, with a total of 14” of rain (July 2020 to June 2021, historical average: 31”). 2021 was the second consecutive year of a drought that started in January 2020. Temperatures were constantly warm over the growing season, moderately higher than the historical average and remained consistent throughout the ripening period. The weather conditions in 2021 favored an early hydric constraint which promoted production of small berries with high levels of phenolic compounds and deeply intense aromas.
Varietals: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc
Harvest Start Date: September 16, 2021
Harvest End Date: October 1, 2021
New Oak: 40%