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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)
2007 Vintage Summary:
The 2007 vintage began dry with some very cold days and single-digit nighttime temperatures in early January, and continued dry, with about 60% of normal precipitation through the spring. Temperatures were warmer than normal in April and May with resulting earlier budding, bloom and set. The summer growing season continued on the mild to cool side. There was a brief period of heat that spiked to 103° F on August 29th, but the temperatures cooled after several days. Clusters, as well as individual berries on the clusters were notably small and nicely concentrated in all varieties due to the dry season.
BEGINNING DATE OF HARVEST: September 11
FINAL DATE OF HARVEST: October 5
PERCENTAGE OF NEW BARRELS: 40%
TIME IN BARREL: 18 months
BOTTLING DATE: June 2009
9-LITER CASES PRODUCED: 5000
RELEASE DATE: June 2010
Dominus - Dominus Estate
Dominus is the proprietary red wineproduced in the heart of Napa Valley by Christian Moueix and his team. Since 1983, our goal has been to express the unique terroir found at the historic Napanook Vineyard. Dominus has become known since its first release for its complexity and earthy character, which pay tribute to the Napanook terroir. Christian Moueix truly believes that producing a wine begins in the vineyard. For that reason, each vintage is unique with different varietal blends reflecting the vineyard and climate conditions of that particular year.
Respecting the terroir, Christian Moueix began his career in Pomerol, where merlot is the dominant varietal grown. At Dominus Estate, the essential grape varietal is cabernet sauvignon, the best suited for the Napanook vineyard terroir. Cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot are also used in the final blends, reinforcing the consistent style of the wines although varying during the blend each year to reflect the climate during the growing season. The Dominus wines are made from grapes grown solely on the Napanook vineyard, allowing them to have a specific identity. They are "estate bottled" in the spirit of the Bordeaux chateaux. The ranch is dry-farmed, the ideal manner to allow the terroir to express itself.
In the early years of Dominus (1983-1990), recognizing that the wine was in its infancy and did not yet have its own identity, a series of artists' portraits of Christian Moueix was commissioned for the labels. By 1991, the wine had become well established and a classic Bordeaux-style label replaced the artist series.
Napanook is on the west side of the Napa Valley facing the town of Yountville. At the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains, it is located between the valley floor and the hillside. Historical records show that in 1836 George Yount, who gave his name to Yountville, planted the first vines of the valley on the location of Napanook vineyard, before selling the land in 1850 to Charles Hopper.
Since then, Napanook has had several owners. Christian Moueix fell in love with the valley and its wines while studying at U.C. Davis in 1968 and 1969. After many years of searching the ideal vineyard location, in 1982 he entered into a joint venture with Robin Lail and Marcia Smith, John Daniel's two daughters. This was the birth of Dominus, and its first vintage was harvested in 1983. Since then, Christian Moueix has worked to restore the unique character of the original vineyard. He became full owner in 1995.
Grape varieties: 53-89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7-22% Cabernet Franc, 1-7% Petit Verdot, 0-25% Merlot
Average age of vines:
Harvest method: hand picked
Ageing: 12-18 months in 15-40% new French oak barrels
2570 Napanook Road
Yountville, CA 94599
Tel. + 1 707 944-8954
Fax + 1 707 944-0547