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Average critic rating : 94.0 points

93

93

The second wine, the 2012 Napanook Proprietary Red Wine has a similar profile, but certainly comes across as less nuanced and slightly less concentrated and profound compared to its bigger sister. It is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. It does reflect the fact that the selection process has gotten so severe that the second wine at Dominus is really special in top vintages such as 2012 or 2013. The wine has low acidity, beautiful ripe black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, a hint of unsmoked cigar tobacco and a touch of roasted herbs in the finish. This is a beauty to drink over the next 15-20 years. Oct 2015, www.robertparker.com, Drink: 2015-2035

94

94

The 2012 Napanook is a big, intense wine, especially if given some time in the decanter. Rich red cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and spice meld together in an effortless, gracious Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins are silky and polished, which gives the 2012 much of its early appeal, but there is so much density and pure concentration that a few years in bottle will only do it good. The 2012 is a fabulous Napanook. Frankly, the 2012 is as good or better than the top wines at many estates. Napanook remains one of the great values in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. Oct 2015, www.vinous.com

95

95

This is shows wonderful aromas of tar, asphalt, wet earth and pure cherries. Full-bodied yet soft and velvety with a fine, dusty texture to the finish. Fresh and austere. Dignified. This has no cabernet franc in it this year; normally there is 3% to 5%. It’s 95% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot. Drink or hold. Apr 2015, www.jamessuckling.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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