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  • Weather

    17° C Clear sky
  • Time

    11:26 AM
  • Wine average?

    97 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    21
  • Region Ranking?

    19
  • Popularity ranking?

    79

News

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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History

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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Vineyards

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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Winemaking

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.

 

ANTONIO GALLONI ON TASTING THE 2013 LOTS..

“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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Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

 Antonio Galloni, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Bryant Family 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, tasted from a working base blend, is just magnificent. Seldom - maybe never - I have seen a young Bryant Cabernet that is this well put-together at this stage. The integrity of the fruit, acid and structure is outstanding. Sweet red and purplish fruit, sweet floral notes and spice are all beautifully lifted. The 2018 is flat-out stunning. That's all there is to it.

3m 18d ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Tasting wines from 1980's like Sassicaia 1985, Mouton 1985, Hill of Grace 1989, Opus One 1984 etc.

4m 20d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  4 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  22 wines 

American Beauty -tasting with Dominus, Dana Estate, Ovid, Caymus, Colgin etc.

4m 28d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  47 wines 

Domaine Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru 2017
Incredible intensity and depth in this Montrachet in 2017. Focused, complex with layers of toasted nuts, white flowers and lots of minerals. Wonderful example of this grand cru vineyard. The wine stands out as clearly the most complex and intense from Sauzet. From 50-60 year old vines; only 4 barrels made.


99 points

5m 15d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  2 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Opus One 1979 / Fully mature, brick rim but good depth of crimson too. Sweet, gentle fully mature nose. Not desperately intense but certainly eloquent enough. Quite a luscious palate entry with a bit of acidity showing now and some dryness on the finish. As though this wine is going downhill but very, very slowly. Not especially alcoholic. Fresh, refreshing. Contrary to popular folklore, Opus claim they didn’t poach fruit for this from the 1979 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Reserve because Lucian Sionneau of Mouton chose the leaner samples, leaving the fatter ones for Reserve. Only 10 day skin contact and he captured some of the press wines to mitigate this.

8m 10d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  51 wines 

1998 Château Cheval Blanc; Ruby, pink rim, floral, violets, mint, layered, again impossible to describe fully. Close to perfect balance, playfull and stil relaxed acidity. tannins soft, stunning texture, mouthwatering, just ads and ads with air, incredible length, never ending, I keep raising the score on this as it keeps unlocking more and more secrets. I wish I had cases of this one. 98


Served blind, I was sure it was Petrus, as was most of the table. Wine of the evening!

1y 1m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  28 wines 

Roussean Chambertin 1990 / Bright ruby – quite a deep colour actually. Delightfully shaded. Pungent and definitely with lots of tertiary aromas. This has crossed the Rubicon into something serious! Fireworks and explosions. Great breadth and richness. Long and kerpow. So complex and beautfully balanced, Struck match quality. Fine tannins on the finish but lots of pleasure. Tense and exciting.

1y 1m ago

 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  3 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Opus One 2018 / This is a barrel sample of the final blend, made up of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 1% Malbec. It will be bottled in 2020. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes prancing out of the glass with energetic notes of freshly crushed black cherries, boysenberries, raspberries and crushed black currants with nuances of star anise, yeast extract, lilacs and cardamom with a waft of dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate explodes with intense black fruits, even more intensified by fantastic freshness and super fine-grained tannins, with great length and depth. (95 - 98)+

1y 3m ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Masseto 2012 / Fantastic aromas of lavender, rosemary, violets and currants. Full body, a wonderful concentration of fruit yet tense and taunt energy. The new wood is exposed now but will become integrated and polished. Give it three or four years together. The pure merlot magic is there. The 2011 was a perfect wine, and this is very close indeed. Drink in 2019. 99 points

1y 3m ago

 Stephen Tanzer, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Maya 1991 / Saturated dark red. Wonderfully polished, complex aromas of black raspberry, plum, truffle, smoky oak and caramel, plus a hint of black olive (this wine actually reminded me of some of the earlier vintages of Harlan Estate). At once plush and vibrant, offering terrific retention of sweet berry fruit complicated by tobacco and smoky oak. Firm acidity (natural?) turned slightly tart with aeration but this wonderfully long, saline wine finishes with serious but well-integrated tannins and outstanding verve. While it does not have quite the give of the 2008 I tasted alongside it for my '08 horizontal, it has guts of steel and should go on for years. (13.5% alcohol)

1y 4m ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Dominus 2016 / Another possible legend in the making is the 2016 Dominus, a classic blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc brought up in 40% new French oak. Pure, pristine notes of charcoal, cold fireplace, smoke tobacco, and both blue and black fruits all flow to a full-bodied 2016 that has incredible elegance and finesse, yet also depth and density. It’s more backward and reserved than the 2015 and needs 4-5 years of cellaring. It will unquestionably live for 25-30 years. 98+

1y 4m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Dominus Estate . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Opus One 1998 / El Nino brought rain and changeable weather followed by exceptionally late Oct harvest. A vintage damned from the start. Cabernet Sauvignon 91%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Merlot 1%, Petit Verdot & Malbec 1%. Skin contact 36 days, 16 months in new French oak.


Very, very glossy crimson with some evolution already at the rim. Toasty, open nose. Sweet start to the palate. Nothing like the 1997 in nobility. Tannins and acidity crowd in at the finish. Jagged. Difficult to predict evolution. Slightly hot finish.

1y 4m ago

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