Dominus Estate – the Napa property owned by Christian Moueix of Pétrus and La Fleur-Pétrus – has rapidly earned cult status.
The property has a long history. It was first planted in 1838 by George Yount (who gives his name to Yountville), and provided fruit for some of Napa’s finest wines – including Inglenook – in the 1940s and ’50s.
Moueix attended university in California and long wanted to lay down roots in the region. He stumbled across the historic Napanook estate near Yountville in 1981. Two years later he established Dominus Estate on 43 hectares of the property (buying it outright in 1995).
In 1997, construction of a striking metal and rock winery – designed by famous Swiss architectural duo Herzog & de Meuron – was finished. The architects’ first project in the US, it has been described as “the stealth winery” for the way in which it blends into the surrounding landscape.
The vineyards are dry-farmed, mainly planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, with some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Each variety is planted to different rootstocks according to their respective soils – gravel, heavy clay or loam. The fruit is all hand-picked, with the shaded side of each row picked a few days after the side exposed to the sun. Each parcel is vinified separately, the low yields resulting in dense, concentrated wines. The top cuvée is aged for around 15 months in French oak (20-40% new).
The property produces three wines: the flagship eponymous cuvée Dominus. Napanook is the property’s second wine (first made in 1996), while Othello – a third cuvée designed for more immediate consumption – was first released in 2012.
The essence of Bordeaux runs through the DNA of these profound expressions of Napa Cabernet, built to age for two decades or more.