& Wine (s) on Rick's WineSite ™
2570 Napanook Road
Yountville, CA 94599
|Featured Wine (s):
Napa Valley Red Wine,
Napanook Napa Valley Red Wine.
Moueix at left.
Journal entries: Date, Wine,
Vintage, Rating, Price, Comments
October 30, 2008 - Dominus Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 - RP 96 RM 95
Robert Parker review:
The 2005 Dominus (a cuvee of 92%
Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Petit
Verdot) has come of age, and is one of the strongest efforts they’ve
made. It is possibly the best Dominus since the 2001, and perhaps
even the 1997 or 1991. A beautiful, sweet nose of roasted coffee
interwoven with kirsch, black currant, cedar, and spice box emerges
from this deep ruby/purple-colored wine. The wine has fabulous
intensity, a layered, opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, well-integrated
acidity, and a stunningly long finish. The layering of this
wine as it builds incrementally on the palate is something to
behold. An outstanding, sexy, ageworthy Dominus, it will benefit
from 2-3 years of cellaring, and last for at least 25 or 30 years.
When I am tasting at Dominus, they always present a wine opened the
day before and decanted, and one just opened, and the extended
aeration version always seems to be the better example of the wine,
so plenty of decanting seems to be in order.;
I was pleasantly surprised this wine was so approachable so young,
and so delightful upon opening. BYOB didnt allow long
decanting/ breathing time yet it was open, fruit filled, firm, long,
and yes it did evolve over the evening to reveal layers of dark
fruit and subtle hints of other exotic nuances.
Tasted BYOB at the
Tower Club in McLean w/ L, the K's and the C's.
July 28, 2008 - Dominus Estate
Napa Valley 2003 - Full bodied, firm,
eucalyptus, cedar, black fruit, black cherry, leather, anise and smoke,
with polished tannin finish. Tasted w/ Ambassador SMM & KD at Capitol
Grill in DC.
Dec 8, 2005 - An evening and Dominus Vertical Tasting
with Edouard Moueix at Binny's Lakeview Catacombs tasting room.
Tasting Notes -
The Dominus 1996 resulted
from a perfect year
revealing eucalyptus, mint, cedar, cassis, and soft tannins - much like
a soft 1991. Nicely balanced fruit, structure, and acidity. RM rating 92
The Dominus 1997 will need long
a time and is not yet approachable, hence is not being tasted tonight.
The Dominus 1998 vintage has
that compensates for less richness in the fruit - ready to drink
early - lighter, lackinq
roundness and structure of the bigger vintages. It is characterized more
as 'pretty', more
earthy, slightly minty. It reveals less of the intense deep rich purple color
and possesses an almost slight brownish edge. RM rating 88.
The Dominus 1999 is more
like the 1997 & the 2002 - fuller, more dense, still tight. It is
more suited to the 'American style
or palate.. More fruit & naturally extracted. Dry winter & spring -
tiny berries - ratio of juice to skin - more 50:50 vs normal 1/3 - 2/3.
The 99 is firm, a bit smoky with a hint of mocha! RM rating
The Dominus 2000 possesses more currant
fruit and is slightly more
polished than others. The 2000 uneven winter thru
harvest ... like the 98 but more
structure & fruit - slightly earthy,
slight subtle cedar & eucalyptus. .. very soft long tannins.
After an even year - had high heat
in last week resulting in a loss of 40% of juice in two days.
The Dominus 2001 is tighter, firm,
lighter, has a smoky currant ala 91 & 94. It is round and even with
big soft even tannins - The 2001 is
characteristic of the 91 & 94 vintages - malolactic acid -
ala French for milk - 'soft' acid. RM rating 93.
The Dominus 2002 vintage is forward fruit -
full rich and dense currant and plum, polished and smooth! RM rating 93
Other Dominus tastings:
Feb 22, 2003 - 1999
Dominus typically resembled a young Bordeaux needing much more time
to reveal its fruit. See
pictures of the evening and more comments
Sept 21, 2002 -
Chicago Napa Wine Night
- 02 - Dominus Estate 1986 RM 91 WS 88 RMP 93 ($70 in '88)
Four blockbusters that delivered! The Dunn opened with a punch of earthy
mineral currant cherry with tightly wound tannins. Consensus favorite.
The fruit unfolded even more thruout the night ending with the biggest
finish. Red Rock Terrace was the next consensus favorite with full
body, rigid backbone, mineral, herb, cherry and hint of licorice.
Gravelly Meadow was slightly more subtle with a touch more fruit. These
two traded places thru-out the night. Dominus took three hours to open
but when it did, it exploded with floral fruit.
|~1992 - Dominus
Estate Napa Valley 1988 - WS87 $45, Dec 15, 1992 WS
review, " Earthy, gamy aromas and flavors dominate this
medium-weight, silky-textured wine that hints at leather and
tobacco on the finish. Has character, but needs time for the
currant flavor to emerge. Drink from 1996." Dominus Estate
Napa Valley 1986 - WS88 $44, Dec 15,
1996 WS review, "Starts out earthy and leathery, in a rugged
style, but works its way into more complex mineral, currant and
cedar flavors and finishes with a cedary, earthy note and a good
dose of currant flavor. Ready now.--1986 California Cabernet
horizontal. (JL)" These are bordeaux style wines from
Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus fame that need to be treated
like a bordeaux in terms of aging rather than the Napa style
wines that provide instant or earlier gratification. I tasted
this wine from my case several times over the years waiting for
it to open and be approachable. It was finally ready in 2002 at
Napa Wine Night - 02.
Other notes about the
history and heritage of Dominus, a family wine business
since 1937 - 3rd generation based in St Emilion, Bordeaux - held as many
as 21 vineyards, currently have 11 including the famed Petrus,
Chateau Magdelaine, and Trontanroy. Also distribute internationally
about 60-70 labels - all from the right bank of Bordeaux. The company
has 169 employees.
Christian attended UC
Davis in 1968-69 and joined the business in 1970. He was introduced to
Robert Daniels the owner of the Napanook Vineyard in Napa by Robert
Mondavi. The property was one of the oldest in Napa Valley dating back
to George Yount who commanded the fort built in Youtville named for him.
He planted the vineyard for troops on the Napanook site that was
4 large oaks on the corners, that stand to this day. John Daniels bought
from the site from Inglenook who eventually sold out to Coppola.The
Fort was there to defend against Chief Caymus, the famous indian chief
in the Napa Valley.
Robert Mondavi was famous for promoting
Napa to the rest of the world and wanted to gain the respect of the
world's best producers. He recruited Baron Phillip Rothschild of Mouton
Rothschild to join him in his Opus One venture. He recruited Christian
Moueix of the famed Chateau Petrus to take up in Napa Valley and
introduced him to the
While the first vintaqe
of Dominus was in 1983, they consider the 1991 to be the first 'true' vintaqe.
Moueix emphasizes that it takes years to learn the vineyard and the
terroir and that it will take at least twenty more years to start to
understand this one as well. He continuously emphasizes that they are farmers not
winemakers! He implies that the vines are from some special possibly
famous lineage perhaps from outside the US.
Dominus is a 50:50
joint venture until Moueix bought out Robin Lail and her sister in 1996
to take sole control of the
124 acre property.
Much of the fruit was sold under contracts and in bulk while the best is
kept for the prime blend and brand. Different blocks produces different
fruit for the Napanook blend. The property is known for classic fruit
that is characteristic of the Mayacamas Moutain range - forest smells, minty
chocolate, intense fruit, a hint of eucalyptus - reflections of the terrior of
the Mayacaymas. Strive for balance!
Fruit structure acidity.
There was no Dominus
for the 1993 vintage, just like there was no 1991 Bordeaux wines
produced, as in 2002. "It only takes one bad vintage to undermine a
brand and reputation that took a lifetime to build''.
Bordeaux, there is more water
hence they plant vines closer to compete for the nutrients. They prune - leaving 1 shoot
to carry fruit the next year and 1 'return' (shoot) for next year! In Napa - leave 4 shoots
- richer soil & more sun - allows for and can support more fruit per
vine. The Napa vineyard contains some 'dead' soils -
volcanic rock- clay . Dominus sells off what grows on the clay
Wine expression of
fruit - should NOT reflect oak or vanilla! French wines less
Dominus wines need to
be decanted to
provide oxygen - give it 6 hours. Most Dominus will express themselves after
a couple hours.
In Bordeaux they have 60 people
in vineyards for 60 days manicurinq the vines.