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Dominus' winery is the first project realized in the United States by the design architects, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Based in Basel, Switzerland, they are well-known for their numerous European projects, including in London the Tate Gallery's new Bankside facilities. The architects were also amongst the three finalists for the Museum of Modern Art's new museum in New York.

1997 is the first vintage of Dominus to be produced at its own winery. Its previous thirteen vintages were crushed and aged at a nearby facility. Set back in the vineyard, the dark green basalt rock building integrates into the landscape. It is a linear construction 140 meters (462 feet) long, 25 meters (82 feet) wide and 8 meters (27 feet high). The exterior is composed of walls of gabions, which are essentially galvanized baskets containing stones. Commonly round retaining river banks or earthwalls, this application as a building’s exterior facade is unique and provides protection from the scorching heat by day and the cold at night. The baskets have no 'mortar' and the spaces between the rocks act as a 'filigree,' allowing the passage of natural light into the rooms during the day and artificial light to radiate out at night. 

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The site has had a long history since the first vines were cultivated here in 1838. In 1946, the legendary Niebaum family descendant John Daniel purchased the Napanook property as part of the Inglenook Estate. When Daniels sold Inglenook in 1964 he kept this site. In 1982, the world famous Château Pétrus owner Christian Mouiex fell in love with Napa Valley during his studies at UC Davis. In 1983 he became the joint venture partner of the Napanook estate, along with John Daniels’ daughters Robin Lail and Marcia Smith. In 1995, Christian Mouiex became the sole proprietor of the estate.

Dominus Estate Dominus is the proprietary red wineproduced in the heart of Napa Valley by Christian Moueix and his team. Since 1983, our goal has been to express the unique terroir found at the historic Napanook Vineyard. Dominus has become known since its first release for its complexity and earthy character, which pay tribute to the Napanook terroir. Christian Moueix truly believes that producing a wine begins in the vineyard. For that reason, each vintage is unique with different varietal blends reflecting the vineyard and climate conditions of that particular year. Respecting the terroir, Christian Moueix began his career in Pomerol, where merlot is the dominant varietal grown

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Located in the narrow valley drive separating the upper and lower valley of Napa, the vineyard on the foothills of Mayacamas Mountains receives the cool evening air that rises through the valley, while also benefitting from the equally cool breeze that escapes from the upper valley in the early morning. This helps the grapes to keep their freshness and acidity levels high. The estate is farmed without any irrigation, which is highly risky and a very uncommon practice in Napa. With this practice Christian Mouiex is looking to have the rootstock dig deep into the ground, thus increasing the stress on the vines and generating more concentrated and mineral-rich grapes. There is a great focus on caring for the vines individually. The vineyard has 27 individual blocks that are operated separately. Two weeks before harvest the grapes on the vines are washed, in order to remove all dirt and dust. During the harvest the row of vines are harvested in two phases – firstly the side where the grapes are exposed to sunlight, while the shaded area follows soon after. The first sorting of grapes is carried out in the vineyard. It is the practices of the vineyard, with its 27 blocks of various varietals, that creates the complexity that is evident in the final wine.

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The winemaking is considered to be a tool that helps the land to express its purest qualities. Fermentation takes place using inoculated yeasts, after the cold-maceration. After the fermentation the must is pressed with extra care to avoid any austere compounds. The ageing barrels are steamed and soaked before being used to get rid of the smoky and toasty aromas caused by barrel toasting.

Grape varieties: 53-89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7-22% Cabernet Franc, 1-7% Petit Verdot, 0-25% Merlot Harvest method: hand picked Ageing: 12-18 months in 15-40% new French oak barrels



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Inside information

By 1991, the wine had become well established and a classic Bordeaux-style label replaced the artist series. Napanook is on the west side of the Napa Valley facing the town of Yountville. At the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains, it is located between the valley floor and the hillside. Historical records show that in 1836 George Yount, who gave his name to Yountville, planted the first vines of the valley on the location of Napanook vineyard, before selling the land in 1850 to Charles Hopper. Since then, Napanook has had several owners. Christian Moueix fell in love with the valley and its wines while studying at U.C. Davis in 1968 and 1969. After many years of searching the ideal vineyard location, in 1982 he entered into a joint venture with Robin Lail and Marcia Smith, John Daniel's two daughters. This was the birth of Dominus, and its first vintage was harvested in 1983. Since then, Christian Moueix has worked to restore the unique character of the original vineyard. He became full owner in 1995.



“I was fortunate this year to stop by Dominus before the blends had been assembled, so I had the opportunity to taste the 2013s variety by variety with Christian Moueix and Winemaker Tod Mostero. The harvest took place between September 9 and 26, quite early by Dominus standards. Like many Napa Valley winemakers, Mostero identifies the lack of late-season heat spikes as one of the signatures of the year. Mouiex is one of the most outspoken critics of irrigation in Napa Valley, a position that by definition places extreme importance on the age of vineyards. That is evident in two Cabernet Francs in this tasting. The first, from vines planted in 1994, is terrific, while the second, from vines planted in 2010 is much more bombastic and less finessed. Both Petit Verdots are insanely beautiful. Of course Petit Verdot is a blender, but one has to wonder what happens with the leftover juice after the blends for Dominus and Napanook are created.


The four Cabernet Sauvignons are all distinctive. Block 7 A/B boasts exotic aromatics and a feminine, sleek personality. Block 24N is much more explosive, but it is Block 6N, where the oldest vines on the property are planted, that is the most impressive. Here the sensation of tannin is totally covered by the pure depth and resonance of the fruit. There is a lot to look forward to at Dominus.”

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Dominus Estate 1987 - "One of the best cabernet blends I had for some time. A fabulous bottle. Blackberry, plums, tannins still very present, will easily live for another five years." 97 points

12d 4h ago

 Zhenzhen Fu, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Tasted some of the greates Napa Valley wines. Surprisingly the best one for me was Bevan Cellars Sugarloaf Mountain 2012 / Thick, opaque, ruby colour with enormous viscosity. Huge nose! Powerful, spicy and surprisingly vegetal with nutmeg and Asian spicy aromas. The full-bodied palate surprises again with moderately high acidity. Big chewy tannins are forming solid backbone to intense dark fruitiness. Spices, licorice, nutmeg and cacao with bitter chocolate flavours are all well pronounced in mineral finish. Big wine with no flabbiness thanks to delightful minerality. Drinking well now but will keep still for decades. 97 points

20d 1h ago

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  9 wines 

Bond Quella 2006 "What a wine. Laser like precision, an unreal elegance and lightness for Californian Cabernet. I enjoyed this wine tremendously. Will be remembered for a long time."

3m 17d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Last evening was a real " Voyage autour du monde" along with the top 24 wines that wine countries can offer, and there was only four of us enjoying them...Unfortunately, quite a lot of bottles remained half empty, but not the Petrus 2003, Cheval Blanc 1947, Screaming Eagle 1999, Pingus 1995, Haut-Brion Blanc 1995, Lafleur 1996 etc.

4m 26d ago

 Fernando Pessoa, Pro (Spain)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  11 wines 

On April 22 Antonio Galloni and Vinous hosted 2010 Napa Valley: An Epic Vintage at the NoMad Rooftop, one of the most striking locations in New York City.

9m 18d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  40 wines 

“Penfolds Grange 1976 - 100 points.
Deep ruby and a 2mm of garnet rim. Tobacco, pepper, syrah as from the very best of Rhone, a complexity you only dream about, it's so intence and huge in complexity, you just can't take it apart and describe it, it's too much, the brain shut's down, and just enjoy, immensely! Acidity is increadible, fresh and lively, exceptional balance, great tannin structure, like falling crisp snow, one of the most complex wines I have had, increadible long finish, my best syrah/shiraz, only startting to show signs of maturation, aftertaste for minutes and minutes, keep at least another 20 years if you're lucky.”

1y 8m ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  11 wines 

“Shafer Hillside Select 2011 -95 points / Good looking normal size bottle in a perfect condition. Colour is ruby red, and looking bright and deep. On the nose it is wide, refined, fresh and pure. The taste is fresh, full, vigor, perfumed, firm, full-bodied, with balanced and complex structure. On the palate it is layered and has dried-fruit, pepper, smoky, tobacco, blackcurrant, leather, herbs, earthy and meaty flavours. The finish is long, extensive, lingering, pure and spicy. This wine is intelligent, transparent and sexy. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting.”

1y 9m ago

 Wallace Shawn / Wine Investing Consult, Wine Dealer (Luxembourg)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  24 wines 

“Some 2012 Napa cabs - Bryant Family and Colgin were stars of the night:
Bryant Family 2012, Bottle in a excellent condition and has by the neck level. Colour is ruby red, bright and full. On the nose it is intense, fresh, seductive and rich. The taste is focused, refined, with silky tannins. Full-bodied, with balanced good texture and concentrated structure. On the palate it is layered and has dried-fruit, raspberry, truffles, tropical fruits, blackcurrant, spice, smoky and cigar-box flavours. The finish is long, extensive, flavorful and pure. This wine is intelligent, sophisticated and fine. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting. 95 points”

1y 9m ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  16 wines 

“G Major 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 98 points / It is blended from selected fruit off the 575 ovx vineyard and is named after a classic jazz guitar chord. Like its namesake, it is composed of four of the five classic Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Merlot. G Major 7 is highly nuanced and provides a profound sense of elegance and complexity, changing with every swirl and sip. The nose reflects subtle floral notes, which develop into deep, crushed berry and earth flavors on the palate. Its tannins are refined and seamlessly integrated. The aging potential is 25 plus years.”

1y 10m ago

 Jason Lee / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  12 wines 

“This is the finest Château Hosanna that proprietor Christian Moueix has yet made, produced from a 15-acre parcel that usually yields about 1,500 cases. The 2009, a prodigious blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, offers up an exquisite aromatic concoction of blackberries, plums, Asian soy, forest floor, truffles and graphite. Along with its stunning concentration, remarkably thick, juicy mid-palate and unbelievable complexity, its viscosity and opulence take this wine to new heights. This extraordinary wine is one of the superstars of 2009 and one to enjoy over the next three decades."
RP ”

1y 11m ago

 Jason Lee / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  34 wines 

“A great wine month: Dominus 2012 was one of the best together with La Mission 2010 vintage.”

2y 2m ago

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  3 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“Perfect Mouton-Rothschild 1986: 100 points/ "This is the only challenger to the 1945. Incredibly youthful with a wild nose of cherries, spices, tobacco. On the palate more spice, dark plum, smoke, silky texture, but the tannins are still quite forbidding. Open up after about an hour to become more charming."”

2y 2m ago

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