Dominus Estate Napanook
Napa Valley, California, United States
December 26, 2023, Jeb Dunnuck
“The 2021 Napanook is one heck of a Napanook, offering complex notes of currants, cassis, graphite, leafy tobacco, lead pencil, and chocolate. Incredible on the palate, it s full-bodied and round, with supple, vibrant, incredible tannins. This is easily the finest vintage I've tasted of this cuvée and it s the equivalent of many a Grand Vin from other producers.”
December 2023, Antonio Galloni
“The 2021 Napanook, tasted from barrel, is fabulous. Rich, deep and super-expressive, the 2021 captures all the best the vintage has to offer. A whole range of floral and savory overtones lend nuance. This vibrant, intensely mineral Cabernet Sauvignon is an absolute delight to taste today, and an especially fine edition of Napanook, endowed with big fruit and equally potent tannins.”
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.
Deep, sanguine, tobacco, blood orange, nuanced complexity and a 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: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Harvest Start Date: September 16, 2021
Harvest End Date: October 1, 2021
New Oak: 20%