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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 1985 Dominus Estate is produced solely from Bordeaux varieties grown at Napanook Vineyard, creating the most harmonious and complex wine of the “first stage” of Dominus Estate — the 1983, 1984 and 1985 vintages were blended from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes grown on the property when we took over management.
The 1985 vintage is composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. The climatic conditions of the 1985 season were moderate, and the final weeks of ripening were cool by California standards, resulting in gradual ripening and intensely flavored fruit with a mature tannic development.
The 1985 Dominus Estate has a deep ruby color and a rich nose reminiscent of black cherries. It is a full-bodied wine with ripe tannins that are just beginning to soften. Christian Moueix recommends decanting before serving to allow the wine to develop its full potential.
The label artist for 1985 is Gerard Barthelemy, a French artist born in Paris in 1938. Mr. Barthelemy received the Prix de Rome in 1966 and has had extensive exhibits in France. The present portrait was done with the ancient walnut stain technique.
Winter rainfall was slightly below normal (27.95 inches vs. 35.68 inches), but 10 inches of rain in February and March provided good moisture for the growing season. The season began with a mild April and May, followed by a hot June and July. August was mild and most of September was cool. We received 1/2″ of rain on September 8 & 9 and temperatures were in the high 70′s and low 80′s until it reached 84 on 9/20, 90 on 9/21 and 95 on 9/22.
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: September14
FINAL DATE OF HARVEST: September 25
PERCENTAGE OF NEW BARRELS: 20%
BOTTLING DATE: July 1987
9-LITER CASES PRODUCED: 4000
RELEASE DATE: November 1989