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The Story

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.

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Wine Information


The 1987 Dominus Estate is the fifth vintage produced by the John Daniel Society made solely from grapes grown at their Napanook Vineyard in Yountville, California.

The blend of the 1987 Dominus Estate is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot. Winter rainfall for the 1987 season was 50% of average. The very warm early summer and moderate late summer resulted in fruit with fully developed varietal character and excellent acid balance.

Note: with almost the identical blend as 1986, we have a completely different wine–proof that classical winemaking, i.e., single vineyard, non intervening winemaking, and no acidification allows the vintage to express itself through the wine.

The 1987 Dominus Estate has a deep ruby color and a rich nose reminiscent of cassis and vanilla, with a silky texture, excellent balance and a long elegant finish. Christian Moueix recommends decanting this wine before serving to allow it to develop its full potential.

The label portrait for the 1987 vintage was done by the Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha.


Vintage Summary:

Seasonal rainfall was quite low at 18.85 inches (normal 35.68 inches); 10 inches in February and March, which is almost identical to the rainfall pattern of 1985. A very warm early summer was followed by a moderate late summer. There were 16 days over 100 degrees and 26 days over 95 degrees.






RELEASE DATE: October 1999

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

12 tasting notes

Tasting note




Long and Spicy


Blackcurrant, Plum, Mint, Cedar and Herbs


Intense, Complex, Refined and Round




Complex, Concentrated, Well-structured, Medium-bodied, Firm, Rich and Ripe

Written Notes

The rainfall this year was half the average. A very warm early summer turned into a moderately warm ending enhancing the grapes to obtain their crisp acidity. Winemaking was classically non-interventionist. Blend of 88 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 percent Cabernet Franc and 3 percent Merlot. The wine spent 14 months in French oak, of which 25 percent were new. A medium-intense garnet colour with tawny tints. Very concentrated, ripe blackcurrant nose with plums, cedar and spicy aromas. Medium-bodied palate reveals moderately high refreshing acidity, firm tannins and herbaceous dark fruity aromas of cassis and plums mixed with hints of mint. Long and admirably balanced finish with spicy oak character. Drinking well now but will easily keep another decade.
  • 93p

There was such leafiness to this wine that it tasted more Bordeaux than California, but then this was for long the accusation Californians made about Christian Moueix of LIbourne's Napa Valley wine. This was beautifully silky and fresh with, admittedly, a character those hooked on extended hang time might dismiss as 'green' but the balance and persistence were both impressive. This wine was a lot older than anything tasted in this recent vertical of Dominus but it had hung on gracefully.

  • 91p

"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."

  • 97p
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Yountville, Napa Valley


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