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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.
Dominus Estate, Yountville, California, was established in 1983 by Christian Moueix. Situated on the famed Napanook vineyard, it was, in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the source of fruit for some of the finest Napa Valley wines. In fact, the vineyard’s history can be traced back to Napa Valley’s beginnings, when in 1838 George Yount, for whom the town of Yountville was named, first planted grapevines there. Today, this historic vineyard produces three wines: Dominus, its flagship, Napanook, and Othello.
Christian Moueix chose the name ‘Dominus’ (‘lord of the estate’ in Latin) to underscore his longstanding commitment to the land. Rooted in values of quality, stewardship, tradition and innovation, the Dominus Estate team shares a vision of producing distinctive wines that are expressive of this singular terroir.
The vineyard is entirely dry-farmed, allowing the vines to draw deeply on the land’s unique geology. The viticulture and winemaking are undertaken meticulously, with the objective of producing wines that are pure, balanced and complex. Minimal intervention and restraint throughout the process of grape berry selection, fermentation and aging preserve the character of the fruit. The resulting wines, with a tremendous potential for aging, convey the very personality of this historic vineyard.
Known for its complexity and balance, Dominus demonstrates the potential of a wine produced on exceptional terroir. Structured, seamless and perfectly integrated, Dominus is an elegant wine that improves with age.
In 1997, a winery designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron was completed. Due to strict enforcement of Napa county regulations, it is closed to the public.
To celebrate the 30th vintage of Dominus Estate, the 2013 label dons a special portrait of Christian Moueix by South African artist William Kentridge. The 2013 Dominus recalls the ‘portrait series’ of the earliest vintages (1983-1990), when noted artists depicted Christian Moueix on the labels.
In 2021, Dominus Estate received its CCOF ("California Certified Organic Farmers") certification for organic farming practices.
VIneyards: 42 hectares (103 acres)
Soil: Gravelly and clay loam
Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot
- Certified organic farming practices
- Dry-farming (no irrigation)
- Soil tillage (French plow)
- Vine growth management adapted to the climatic conditions
- Manual harvest ; sunny side of the vines picked a few days before the shady side.
- Manual and optical sorting
- Gentle pump-overs and extraction
- 18 months in French oak barrels (40% new)
The 1989 Dominus Estate is the seventh vintage produced by the John Daniel Society made solely from grapes grown on the international company’s Napanook Vineyard in Yountville, California.
The 1989 vintage is the first wine of the latest phase of Dominus Estate — nature leads us, and we listen. Since Cabernet Franc did not improve the blend, it was not used. This blend includes Petit Verdot for the first time, as well as a special selection of Merlot.
The 1989 Dominus Estate has a deep ruby color and a rich, complex nose reminiscent of cassis, violets and vanilla. The wine is velvety and full in the mouth, with an elegant and long finish of rich fruit and violets. Christian Moueix recommends decanting this wine before serving to allow it to fully develop its full potential.
The label portrait for the 1989 vintage was done by the English artist Raymond Mason. Mr. Mason was born in 1922 and currently resides in Paris. He is primarily a sculptor, but is also known for his water colors of vineyard landscapes. His large compositions are displayed in London, Birmingham, Paris, Montreal, New York and Washington.
We received 22.69 inches of rain (35.68 average) for the season. The year was moderate to warm with some concern due to warm weather at set and some scorching of fruit that ended up not being significant. The big story was rainfall during harvest. On 9/16 and 9/17, we received 1.4 inches of rain; we did not resume harvest until the 25th. Then, on 9/29 with only 40 tons left to pick, we received 0.25 inches of rain; we did not resume picking until 10/6. Our European experience helped us to wait and regain excellent concentration and intensity even under these difficult conditions.
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: September 15
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: October 7
PERCENTAGE OF NEW BARRELS: 30%
TIME IN BARREL: 15 months
BOTTLING DATE: July 1999
9-LITER CASES PRODUCED: 7500
RELEASE DATE: October 1993