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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.
2003 will be remembered as a vintage with a very long growing season, one that continued into November for some blocks. The beautiful fall weather permitted the prolonged hang time, allowing the fruit to develop its complexity.
The 2003 vintage is plum in color, with an aromatic nose of violets, raspberries and worn leather. Flavors begin discretely with essences of cumin and dark red fruit that build up to a suppleness and elegance that is enveloping. The finish is long, fragrant and fresh, with an intensity of tobacco and truffle notes.
The 2003 blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. No Merlot was used in the blend this year.
The wine is charismatic, with a Bordeaux-like style. We recommend decanting the wine prior to serving, to allow it to develop its full potential. This is especially important when serving young Dominus wines.
Between November and May, the vineyard received over 35 inches of rain, with December alone seeing over 16 inches. During the first six months of the vintage, there were 91 days of rain, with 9 days over 1 inch. April not only brought over 5 inches of rain, but was recorded as the coldest in decades. With cool spring temperatures, bloom occurred late in May – long after the rains had passed. Summer temperatures were above average, with 7 days topping 100° F between June and September. Steady temperatures allowed the fruit to mature slowly and evenly. October was exceptional – warm and dry, so the grapes were able to linger on the vines until perfect ripeness.
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: October 3
FINAL DATE OF HARVEST: November 2
PERCENTAGE OF NEW BARRELS: 40%BOTTLING DATE: June 2005
9-LITER CASES PRODUCED: 5600
RELEASE DATE: June 2006