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Dominus is created by French winemaker Christian Moueix, who crafted the wines of Chateau Petrus (a bottle of which recently sold at auction as one of the most expensive wines ever sold). The Dominus estate owns the historic Napanook Vineyard that was the base of so many of the historic Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignons of the 1950s and 1960s. It is considered one of the finest reds of Napa Valley.
Christian Moueix’s approach to creating wines of stature and longevity in Napa’s fertile and warm climate wasn’t always as popular as it is today. It started with his search for the perfect piece of land where he could realize his dream of creating a Napa Valley Cabernet to rival the First Growths of Bordeaux. This didn’t happen overnight, in fact the entire vineyard that feeds Dominus was reorganized and replanted over the last three decades to take better advantage of the varieties, expositions and spacing that would best express this esteemed terroir. The introduction of Tod Mostero as vineyard manager and winemaker was another big step in the right direction.
The 1983 Dominus Estate is the first vintage produced by the John Daniel Society made solely from grapes grown at their Napanook Vineyard in Yountville, California. When the 1983 growing season produced wines with slow-aging tannins, the partners broke with tradition and offered the 1984 vintage as their first release. After a year of additional bottle age, the 1983 Dominus Estate was released in February, 1989.
The wine is composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. The 1983 growing season was quite warm, with a very hot September, resulting in extraordinary concentration of aroma, flavor and tannin.
The 1983 Dominus Estate has a dark ruby color, a complex nose and rich notions of cassis. The wine is full bodied with a deep tannic structure that will assure it many more years of life. Christian Moueix recommends decanting this wine before serving to allow it to develop its full potential.
The label artist for 1983 was Sam Szafran, born in Paris in 1934, and known for his work with pastels.
The Napa Valley experienced an extremely rainy winter (69.7 inches vs. 35.68 inches average), followed by a moderately hot summer and a very hot September. Ten days in September were over 97 degrees, resulting in rapid maturation; sugars went from 21.3 on 9/10 to 22.8 on 9/14.
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: September 13
FINAL DATE OF HARVEST: September 19
PERCENTAGE OF NEW BARRELS: 20%
BOTTLING DATE: December 1985
9-LITER CASES PRODUCED: 2100
RELEASE DATE: February 1989