Dominus Estate Dominus
Napa Valley, California, United States
97 Points, #1 Wine of the Year
October 31, 2021, James Molesworth
“This is tightly packed, with sleek, pure, driven notes of cassis, plum reduction and blackberry puree allied to an iron spine, while subtle alder, juniper, sweet bay leaf and tobacco notes peek in throughout. Very fine-grained, but impressively sturdy in feel, with a long, lingering note of iron piercing the finish. For the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2024 through 2040.”
May 29, 2021, James Suckling
“This is incredible on the nose, offering hot stones, blackcurrants, iodine and wet earth. Full-bodied with a tight center palate, then it opens with a tannin structure that is weightless and spreads across the palate. Totally integrated on the palate. This is a magic-carpet wine. Really incredible. One of the reference points for the vintage. Drinkable now and please try a bottle, but it’s one for the cellar.”
The Wine Advocate
February 26, 2021, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Dominus slowly emerges from the glass with profound notes of blackcurrant cordial, ripe black plums, boysenberries and Black Forest cake with hints of violets, star anise, cracked black pepper, raspberry leaves and pencil lead, plus a touch of garrigue. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers impactful black fruit layers, creating a beguiling sense of richness that is beautifully countered by invigorating freshness and great poise, framed by super ripe, plush tannins and beautiful tension, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note and, finally, lots of mineral sparks. For all that it is at the moment, one cannot help but feel that this 2018 is holding something back. Give it a good five years in bottle, at least, and then get set for what I suspect will be a mind-blowing transformation over the next 30 years+.”
January 28, 2021, Jeb Dunnuck
“The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon checks in as 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot brought up in 40% new French oak. With an essence of Cabernet-like character in its darker currants, green tobacco, cedar, graphite, and floral aromas and flavors, this gorgeous wine is full-bodied and has bright yet integrated acidity, polished tannins, and a great, great finish. It’s just gorgeously put together and a magical, flawless wine. It's going to take a decade to hit maturity but will evolve for 40-50 years in cold cellars. It is as good as it gets in classic, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon!”
January 2021, Antonio Galloni
“The 2018 Dominus is wild and exotic from the first taste. Lifted aromatics make a strong opening impression. There is something exuberant about the 2018 that is hard to describe. The 2018 is not a huge Dominus, nor is it massively structured, but the intensity of the flavors is remarkable just the same. Dark raspberry, spice, leather and cedar are some of the many notes that open over time.”
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.
Perfectly balanced, Dominus 2018 maintains focus on the palate with aromas of sweet blue fruit, jasmine, cardamom, layers of plum and caramel. The wine finishes very long with lift and acceleration.
At Dominus Estate, the 2018 season started late and harvest from October 1-15 was 12 days later than our historical average. Seasonal rainfall was light (22” versus 31” annual average) and the beginning of summer remained consistently warm. In late summer, temperatures dropped below norms with morning fog in August and September. The fruit ripened slowly in the absence of heat spikes and harvest began with Cabernet Franc on October 1. A storm system which brought 1.2” of rain on October 2 and 3 interrupted picking. Hot and very dry weather returned on October 5 and harvest continued with Cabernet Sauvignon on October 9, followed by Petit Verdot. We picked 94% of our fruit between October 9 – 15. The grapes were full and ripe and the resulting wines are deep, complex and well-articulated.
Varietals: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot
Bottling Date: June 2021
New Oak: 40%
Cases Produced: 4000 – 9 Litre cases