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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.
August and September were neither too hot, nor too cool, and this allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and fully, with well-balanced acid and mature tannins. Although the latter part of the season is normally thought of as the most crucial to the vintage, it is the rain of late May that remains the most significant event in the vineyard for the 1990 season.
The relatively low yields, coupled with the moderate temperatures of late summer, translated into concentrated, yet elegant wines. For the first time in the history of Dominus, all four varietal components – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot – were included in the final blend.
The 1990 Dominus has a deep ruby color. In the nose, aromas of roasted coffee beans and vanilla overlay the ripe blackberry fruit. These aromas are echoed in the mouth, and sweet, round tannins are apparent in the wine’s lingering finish.
Please decant this wine before serving, to allow it to reach its full potential.
The 1990 growing season at Napanook Vineyard appeared to be headed toward drought as the month of May began. We had seen the first rainless December in this century and only 18 inches of rain had fallen since the previous July. This was not enough to sustain even the low crops of this renowned dry-farmed vineyard. Typically in the Napa Valley, if the rain has not come by mid-April, it will not come at all. However, in 1990, between the dates of May 20th and 30th, close to 4 inches of rain fell. At the time there was widespread concern about the effect that the rainfall would have on the vines that were in bloom and the potential for mildew, but in fact this spring storm saved the vintage. It provided the moisture that the vineyard needed to sustain it through the long growing season, and had the added benefit of naturally thinning the crop and thus increasing intensity.
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: September 11
FINAL DATE OF HARVEST: September 29
PERCENTAGE OF NEW BARRELS: 30%
9-LITER CASES PRODUCED: 6200
RELEASE DATE: October 1994