Dominus Estate Napanook
Napa Valley, California, United States
October 31, 2021, James Molesworth
“Tightly packed, with red and black currant and cherry reduction notes compressed with sanguine, iron and singed cedar streaks. The long, finely tuned finish has a mouthwatering echo. Approachable, but no rush. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2032.”
May 29, 2021, James Suckling
“Gorgeous aromas of plums and currants with some wet earth, mushroom, bark and incense undertones. Woody. Medium-to full-bodied with such beautiful depth and length. So subtle and long. Fabulous harmony. One of the best I have ever tasted. Drink or hold.”
The Wine Advocate
February 26, 2021, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Napanook leaps from the glass with vivacious scents of fresh blueberries, black cherries, crushed blackcurrants and redcurrant jelly with hints of pencil shavings, red roses and dusty soil plus a waft of bay leaves. Medium-bodied, the palate is very tightly wound, allowing glimpses at loads of mineral and savory nuances among the taut black and red fruit notes, supported by fine-grained tannins and bold freshness, finishing with a compelling herbal lift.”
January 28, 2021, Jeb Dunnuck
“The 2018 Napanook showed incredibly well, with fabulous crème de cassis, spring flowers, graphite, and green tobacco aromas and flavors. With terrific ripeness, medium to full body, and ripe, yet polished tannins, this beauty should be snatched up by savvy readers. It should evolve for 15 years or more. The blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot, aged in 20% new French oak.”
January 2021, Antonio Galloni
“The 2018 Napanook is such a pretty, inviting wine. In 2018, Napanook is especially aromatic and savory in style. Dried herbs, earthiness, tobacco, cedar and licorice all open effortlessly. The 2018 is a deceptive wine. It appears a bit light at first, but then opens nicely in time, showing remarkable purity and tons of grace. Medium in body and open-knit, the 2018 will drink well right out of the gate.”
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.
The 2018 Napanook is a wine with tension and compelling aromas of petrichor, iron, earth and dark tobacco punctuated with notes of marjoram and candied orange peel. The finish is firm, vibrant with finely grippy tannins.
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: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot
Harvest Start Date: October 1, 2018
Harvest End Date: October 15, 2018
Bottling Date: June 2021
New Oak: 20%
Cases Produced: 3300 – 9 Litre cases