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£3,525.00
£1,761.00

Average critic rating : 97.75 points

100

100

Composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot, the stunning, full-bodied 2010 Dominus boasts an exceptional perfume of hoisin sauce, licorice, underbrush, forest floor, plums, black currants and jammy cherries intertwined with hints of cedar, baking spices and oak. Full-bodied and voluptuously textured, the 2010 is on a slightly faster evolutionary track than the 2009 (somewhat of an anomaly for these two vintages). This exquisite as well as prodigious 2010 can be drunk young, but it should age effortlessly for 20-25 years. Bravo! ||Looking at the harvest dates for the 2009 through 2012 Napanook and Dominus reveals that none of these were early, very warm years, such as 2013 is promising to be in northern California. For example, in 2009 the harvest took place between October 5 and 12; 2010 between October 4 and 23; 2011 between October 15 and 24; and 2012 between October 9 and 21. Production has remained steady because the estate crop-thins as much as 50% of the harvest to ensure bunch regularity, even ripening and reasonable yields. The second wine, Napanook, tends to come in around 3,000 cases per year, and Dominus around 5,000 cases per year. I was joking with Christian Moueix when I visited the winery and I told him I am one of the geezers old enough to remember his first vintage of 1983, which was tasted at the Rombauer Cellars until he moved to what appears to be an old bank building in downtown St. Helena, after which they constructed a spectacular winery in Yountville that resembles an extension of their historic terroir. Another great vintage, the 2012s have slightly lower alcohols than the 2009s and 2010s, which surprised me given the exuberant nature of this vintage and its boisterous fruit and glycerin. I was shocked to realize that 2013 will mark over thirty vintages for Christian Moueix and Dominus, not to mention my visits each year. How time flies!||Tel. (707) 944-8954 Wine Advocate.October, 2013

98

98

The 2010 Dominus is one of the unquestioned stars of the evening. While some of the 2010s can be enjoyed young, Dominus is a powerhouse that will require a number of years to soften. It is a bit of a shame the 2010 is served early in this dinner, as it is truly magnificent. Tasted over several hours and into the next day, the 2010 only continued to grow. A wine of baritone-like depth and explosive structure, the Dominus is a long-distance runner. On this night it is dark, imposing and totally vertical in its sense of structure. The firm tannins beg for patience. Today, my impression is that Dominus will be one of the last 2010s to open up. 98+. Jun 2015, www.vinous.com, Drink: 2022-2040

99

99

A cabernet-based red that’s all about the finish. Shows phenomenal character of caramelised orange, berries and lightly toasted oak. It’s also wonderfully structured, with great tannin, fruit, and acid balance. Try after 2018. Jun 2014, www.jamessuckling.com

94

94

Bright, full ruby. High-pitched aromas of cassis, blackberry and dark chocolate, with more medicinal bitter cherry and mesquite notes emerging with aeration. Rich but youthfully tight, conveying an impression of brooding power. This very dense wine is actually creamy and wonderfully fine-grained in the middle but comes across as quite firm and bracing owing to its sharp definition and restrained sweetness. Communicates an impression of very even fruit ripeness. Finishes with terrific mineral-driven length. Built for long aging: will this eventually surpass the outstanding 2009 bottling? 94+. May 2013, www.vinous.com

Christian Moueix/Dominus: The Importance

Christian Moueix is seen by many to be the one of the most important men in wine. Named Decanter Man of the Year in 2008 and as president of Bordeaux négociant Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix (JP Moueix), Christian Moueix has overseen production of several estates in Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, including Pétrus and Château Trotanoy.

 

However, it is Moueix’s work across the Atlantic that is currently turning heads: he is the founder and owner of Dominus, the Californian cult label with the pedigree of top-class right-bank Bordeaux. To quote Robert Parker: “The Dominus wines possess a distinctive French character… The wines go from strength to strength and are meant to age for 20 to 25 years. They represent profound expressions of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon made in the style of an outstanding Bordeaux.

 

Christian Moueix/Dominus: The Insight

As might be expected from a man who played an instrumental part in the evolution of Pétrus, Moueix’s Dominus is a simply brilliant wine. The essence of Bordeaux runs through the DNA of Dominus, complementing the Napa terroir beautifully. Low yields result in dense, concentrated wines, which Robert Parker comments “smell like a hypothetical blend of a top Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and a serious Bordeaux, possibly a cross blend of a Pomerol and Pauillac.”

 

Typically complex, with intense aromatics and full-bodied, Cabernet-dominated flavours, the estate's two chief wines - the Dominus and Napanook proprietary reds - are, quite simply, the perfect blends of the best of Bordeaux and the best of California. The first vintage of Dominus was 1983 while the first of Napanook was 1996. With 100 Robert Parker points apiece, the Dominus 2010 and 2013 are the two showstoppers, but plenty more follow hot on their heels, such as the 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2008.

 

Christian Moueix/Dominus: The Background

Moueix first fell in love with Napa Valley in the 1960s while attending the University of California. On graduating he returned home to manage the family vineyards, including those of Pétrus, La Fleur-Pétrus, Trotanoy and Magdelaine. However he could not resist Napa’s siren call forever, and in 1980s he took joint possession of the historic Napanook vineyard, a 124 acre site credited with producing the fruit of the some of Napa’s greatest historic wines. By 1995, Moueix was the vineyard’s sole owner. In 1997 construction was completed on the Dominus winery, a striking combination of metal and rock designed by famous Swiss architect duo Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron. It was the architects’ first project in the US, and has been described by some as “the stealth winery” for the way that it seems to vanish into the surrounding landscape.

 

Though the estate has been in production in Yountville's Napanook in the foothills of the Mayacamas for more than twenty years, the recent vintages have been some of the most remarkable in Dominus' impressive history, with near-perfect scores awarded for its 2012 and 2013 vintages, bringing it to the fore of Napa's roster of icon wines. He called the estate Dominus and the rest is a modern winemaking success story.



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