Dominus Estate Dominus
Napa Valley, California, United States
96 Points, Cellar Selection
November 1, 2020, Virginie Boone
“A blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, this classically structured red is luxurious in aromas of dried herb, cedar and clove. The palate balances rich fruit and dense oak with underlying freshness and longevity. The tannins are grippy yet seamless, and beginning to smooth out. Best from 2027–2037.”
July 22, 2020, James Molesworth
“This delivers a focused and refined core of cassis, damson plum and raspberry puree notes, laced with precise savory, sage and black tea threads. Shows lovely detail throughout, with a late iron minerality emerging slowly. Stylish, this seems approachable now, but there's some serious embedded grip here too. A wine that should expand with cellaring. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2022 through 2040.”
January 31, 2020, Jeb Dunnuck
“The grand vin is the 2017 Dominus, which is based on 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, harvested between September 21 and October 3, and aged in 40% new French oak. Chateau Lafite-like notes of blackcurrants, lead pencil shavings, cedary tobacco, and gravelly earth all emerge from the glass, and it's full-bodied, has a terrific sense of elegance, lots of tannins, and a great finish. This tight, powerful, concentrated Dominus will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 25 years or more. 2017 doesn't get much better.”
January 2020, Antonio Galloni
“The 2017 Dominus is one of the truly epic, grand wines of the vintage. Rich, dense and explosive, with tremendous concentration and sheer power, the 2017 Dominus captures all the personality of this site along with the natural opulence of the year. Inky dark fruit, lavender, menthol, licorice, plum, gravel and a host of dark spice notes infuse the 2017 with seemingly endless layers of nuance. Over the last two years I have tasted several hundred Napa Valley Cabernets, both from barrel and bottle. There is no question that Dominus belongs among the elite in 2017; it is simply a breathtaking wine. Certainly readers looking for a Napa Valley Cabernet to cellar should put Dominus at the top of their lists.”
The Wine Advocate
October 31, 2019, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“There was about 50% of a normal crop this year for the 2017 Dominus, due to strict selection. Grapes were harvested from September 21 to October 3 and the wine was bottled in June 2019. This year the blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, aged in 40% new French oak barrels. Very deep purple-black in color, it sashays nonchalantly out of the glass with graceful notions of potpourri, forest floor, crushed rocks, Ceylon tea and licorice with a core of black currant cordial, chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries and preserved plums plus a waft of garrigue. Full-bodied, the palate has a beautifully impactful, wonderfully quiet intensity of black and blue fruits with loads of floral and spicy sparks, framed by firm yet plush tannins, finishing with long-lasting earthy notes. 2,800 cases were made.”
October 17, 2019, James Suckling
“Very intense aromas of fruit, yet complex subtlety. Blue fruit, licorice and blackberries with flowers and perfumes. Full-bodied, round and chewy with black tea, currants and hints of leather and incense. Coffee undertones. Extremely long and exciting.”
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.
Dominus 2017 is filled with incense, blonde tobacco, blue plum, and rose petal. Sculpted, refined and very well balanced, its finish is long and polished.
A very wet winter and spring, seasonal rainfall was twice the historical average. With soil water reserves full and warm temperatures in May and June, vines grew quickly amd luxuriantly. Several significant heat waves were recorded in June, July, August, and September with a record-breaking 112F on September 1st. Ripening was fast and homogenous. The severe heat wave before harvest induced significant crop loss. To maintain quality, fruit selection was critical and resulted in one of our smallest vintages to date.
Varietals: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5 % Petit Verdot
Harvest Start Date: September 21, 2017
Harvest End Date: October 3, 2017
Bottling Date: June 2019
New Oak: 40%
Cases Produced: 2800 – 9 Litre cases