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Average critic rating : 91.0 points



The other significant change is how the quality of Napanook has risen. Really a separate entity these days, the 2007 continues to show wonderful elegance, sweet finesse and ripe Napa Valley fruit. It is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. ||This estate, owned by Christian Moueix, includes the famed Napanook Vineyard that was the base of so many of the historic Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignons of the 1950s and 1960s. Interestingly, they have completely eliminated Merlot from the bottling. The 2007 Dominus is a 5,400-case blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There are 4,200 cases of the 2008 Dominus which is composed of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Lower yields resulted in a denser, more concentrated wine. The remarkable thing about these cuvees is that they smell like a hypothetical blend of a top Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and a serious Bordeaux, possibly a cross blend of a Pomerol and Pauillac. Both wines possess silky sweet tannins, which is the big difference between Dominus post-1990 and the first seven vintages, where the tannin content was relatively high. About 40% new oak is used in their upbringing.||P.S. In a couple of years, readers should be on the look-out for a new estate wine from Christian Moueix. One mile north of the Napanook Vineyard, Moueix has purchased a 36-acre, already planted parcel known as the Schmidt Ranch. I tasted some of the 2009 barrel samples and this appears to be another promising venture with a completely different personality a more obviously Napa Valley/Cabernet Sauvignon, ripe style of wine than the more elegant, complex Dominus. I’m not sure what the name will be, but it will definitely not be called the Schmidt Ranch.||Tel. (707) 944-8954; Fax (707) 944-0547 Wine Advocate.December, 2010

A cult label with the pedigree of right-bank Bordeaux, Dominus is the California outpost of Pomerol and St Emilion-famed proprietor Christian Moueix. 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.

It could be said that what has been achieved here was never in any doubt. As part of the Moueix stable, the essence of Petrus 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.

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