Dominus Estate Napanook
Napa Valley, California, United States
February 2023, Antonio Galloni
“A fabulous effort, the 2019 Napanook punches well above its weight. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2019 is a big, generous wine that captures all the radiance of the late summer heat. Black cherry, plum, mocha, chocolate, licorice and incense fill out the layers. As always, I tasted the 2019 from two bottles, one opened on the spot, the second double decanted a few hours prior. Aeration makes a huge difference for this wine.”
August 3, 2022, James Molesworth
“Solidly built and very direct, with a juicy, muscular core of cassis, plum and blackberry flavors lined with singed alder, menthol and sweet bay leaf. Maintains juicy energy through the toasty finish, with a late loamy echo keeping things grounded. A very well-proportioned wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2034.”
The Wine Advocate
May 31, 2022, Joe Czerwinski
“Exuberantly fruity on the nose, the 2019 Napanook is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Despite seeing 40% new French oak, what shines on the nose are the ripe cherries, delicately brushed with wisps of tobacco, sage and bay leaf. It's medium to full-bodied, supple and silky in feel on the palate, while the finish lingers easily, adding notes of pencil shavings and mocha. To get this sort of pedigree for less than $100 is a rarity in Napa these days, making it a notable value.”
March 2022, James Suckling
“An open and beautiful wine with green-olive and currant aromas and flavors. Some bark and earth, too, together with mushrooms, herbs, crushed stones and pomegranate. Medium to full body with round, creamy tannins and refined finish. Blood orange at the end. Crunchy. So drinkable now, but will age beautifully.”
The Wine Independent
March 2022, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“The 2019 Napanook is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 8% Petit Verdot, harvested from September 29 to October 10. It was aged in 40% new oak. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it springs from the glass with Morello cherries, black raspberries, and black currant pastilles scents, followed by hints of cinnamon toast, chocolate box, pencil shavings, and menthol, plus a waft of lilacs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely coated with vibrant, energetic black and red fruits, framed by beautifully plush tannins and tons of freshness, finishing long with a spicy lift. It is scrumptious right now in this fruity flush of youth, albeit with a good six hours+ in a decanter. Otherwise, leave it a good 3-5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 18+ years. 2450 cases were made, to be released in April 2022.”
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.
Napanook 2019 is vibrant with lilac, boysenberry, licorice and lively tannins. It can be enjoyed in its youth or aged for several years.
Varietals: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot
New Oak: 20%