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Average critic rating : 91.5 points



The 2011 Dominus, which had the misfortunate to follow the virtually perfect 2010, is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc (5,000 cases produced). The late harvest began on October 15 and finished on October 24. This is an elegant Dominus with good opulence, a deep plum/garnet color, and notes of tobacco leaf, forest floor, underbrush, red and blackcurrants, plum sauce and Asian soy. Medium to full-bodied on the attack and mid-palate, it falls off slightly in the mouth (a characteristic of the 2011 vintage). It should be fully mature in another year or two, and last for 10-12 years. It is undoubtedly a success in this challenging vintage.||The California outpost of Pomerol and St.-Emilion’s famed proprietor, Christian Moueix has been working at this iconic vineyard, Yountville’s Napanook, for over twenty years. Many decades ago this was the origin of some of the great Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignons. ||The 2012 and 2013 vintages were two of the greatest for Christian Moueix at Dominus in his long and distinguished career. Think of these as more modern day versions of the 1991 and 1994, two extraordinary early vintages at Dominus. Christian Moueix considers 2013 to be the greatest vintage of his illustrious career. Production was tiny for this estate, with only 2,000 cases of the 2013 Napanook produced and 3,500 cases of Dominus. The harvest was extremely early, beginning on September 10 and finishing on September 26. Analytically, the 2013s have the highest levels of extract and tannins ever measured at this estate. Fermentations were easy, and lasted three weeks., 2014



Savory herbs, menthol, smoke and licorice are some of the aromas that open up in the glass in the 2011 Dominus. This is a relatively immediate, expressive Dominus with plenty of near-term appeal. The style is open and succulent for the year, with lovely balance and poise. Crushed rose petals and dried herbs linger in the close. With time in the glass, the 2011 fleshes out nicely. In 2011 Dominus is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Nov 2013,, Drink: 2017-2031



Wonderful aromas of tobacco, currant, berry and mineral. Ink and lead pencil. Full body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. Lovely texture and freshness. Not the amazing 2010 but excellent. Better in 2015. May 2014,



(86% cabernet sauvignon, 9% petit verdot and 5% cabernet franc): Bright red-ruby. Riper on the nose than the Napanook bottling, offering scents of redcurrant, espresso and bitter chocolate. Sweeter in the mouth as well, showing considerably more fat and attractive floral lift to its flavors of dark berries, herbs, pepper, licorice and spices. Fine-grained and concentrated but still a bit youthfully compact, in need of at least a few years of bottle aging to absorb some of its tannins. 90+. May 2014,

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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