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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)
In 2004, we had the shortest growing season in recent history. We saw an early budbreak followed by a warm spring and summer, and an early harvest.
The 2004 vintage is deep red in color, with an intense nose of vanilla, black currants and cedar. The elegant integration of the tannins and fruit is noticed immediately. Flavors of warm mulled spices on the mid-palate complement the balanced and complex structure. The long, aromatic finish exhibits notes of leather and cardamom.
The 2004 blend is comprised of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Petit Verdot. No Merlot was used in the blend this year.
The wine is charming and fragrant, and will age gracefully. 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.
The winter was normal with moderate rainfall. The vineyard received over 11 inches of rain during 26 days in December, and 8 ½ inches of rain in February. Little rain fell during the spring. A heat wave in March prompted an early budbreak – we saw 11 days over 80° F. April was also warmer than average. All of this warm weather resulted in a short growing season and an early harvest – the earliest on record for Dominus. September was a hot month, with 13 days over 90°F and 3 days over 100°F. We maintained the integrity of the canopy to protect the grapes from the heat during their final stage of maturation.
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: August 31
FINAL DATE OF HARVEST: September 26
PERCENTAGE OF NEW BARRELS: 40%
BOTTLING DATE: August 2006
9-LITER CASES PRODUCED: 5600
RELEASE DATE: June 2007