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DOMINUS 2014 LEADS US FINE WINE TRADE
The 2014 vintage of Californian winery Dominus has been the most traded US wine on Liv-ex so far this year.
As the fine wine market has broadened away from Bordeaux, leading US labels have gained increasing traction in the secondary market – especially those from California.
Dominus, Opus One, Screaming Eagle and Harlan in particular lead the pack, combining high scores and scarcity.
The 2014 Dominus has been trading strongly so far this year. Described as “haunting” by its UK agent Corney & Barrow, just 4,300 cases were produced.
Rated 97-points by Robert Parker, it has declined slightly in price since release but at under £2,000 a case it represents an excellent buying opportunity for those seeking to get on the Dominus/Californian ladder – if one can find any of course.
The next top-traded wine was also from the 2014 vintage, this time from Opus One – which was launched around the same time as Dominus in October last year.
Screaming Eagle’s very highly rated 2015 (100 pts WA) and 2014 vintages come next and then Caymus’ 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon.
All of the top 10 wines hail from the 2013-2015 vintages, a string of excellent harvests in California.
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.
98 points James Suckling
Loads of dark tobacco aromas with blackcurrants and black olives. Boysenberries, too. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and lots of flavors of smoke, dried roasted chillis, black truffles, mushrooms and fruit. Bright acidity on the finish. Sexy and subtle austerity. Alluring. Very approachable now but better in 2021.
97 points Jeb Dunnuck
Coming from their valley floor site in Yountville, the 2014 Dominus is a rich, concentrated red, especially in 2014. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot, it sports a deep ruby/plum color as well as a ripe nose of blackcurrants, unsmoked tobacco, lead pencil, licorice and smoked earth. With a ripe, full-bodied, concentrated style, sweet tannin, and a great finish, it has some similarities to the 1990 and will evolve for three decades or more. There’s 4,300 cases of this beauty. (12/2017)
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014s, where the production of Napanook was only 2,200 cases and Dominus slightly more than the 2015 at 4,000 cases, was another early harvest, although somewhat later than 2015. The 2014 Dominus, which is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot really struts its stuff. Moueix’s belief in dry farming seems to be paying off with stronger and stronger vintages, each successive year, and the 2014 is a sexy, opulent, layered, multidimensional wine with notes of red and blackcurrant, cedar wood, tobacco leaf , spice box and licorice. The color is a dense plum/ruby/purple, much like the Napanook. This is a beauty that is already drinking gorgeously – as most 2014s are – and will continue to evolve for 25 or so years. (RP) (10/2016)
96 points Vinous
The 2014 Dominus is endowed with tons of depth, power and muscle. Black cherry, plum, smoke, menthol, licorice, chocolate, dried herbs and dark spices are all pushed forward. Deep, pliant and exquisitely layered, the 2014 possesses tons of concentration and mid-palate depth. Like so many wines in this vintage, the 2014 comes across as a hybrid of 2013 and 2012. I very much like the energy and focus in this wine. This is a fabulous wine in every way. With time in the glass, the flavors gain in brightness and focus. There is certainly much to look forward to. (AG) 96+ (12/2016)