External Reviews for Dominus
It is a medium-bodied, tightly-knit offering displaying more complex aromatics that the score might suggest. Notes of cedar, saddle leather, tapenade, dried herbs, coffee, and sweet cherries and plums are present in the impressive aromatics. In the mouth, it is compact and medium-bodied. Austere/astringent tannin in the finish held my score down. Some improvement will occur with aging, but I do not see the generosity or wealth of fruit concentration necessary to balance out the tannic structure. Anticipated maturity: now-2012.
The impeccably made 2001 Dominus boasts a dense plum/purple color in addition to a fragrant, promising perfume of cocoa, cedar, coffee, roasted herbs, and copious quantities of black fruits. There are 7,000 cases of this 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot blend. Rich and medium to full-bodied, with sweet but noticeable tannin, a layered mid-palate, and a long finish with obvious tannin, it will require 3-4 years of cellaring. It should last for two decades.
It has been 20 years since Christian Moueix began his Dominus project ion Napa Valley. This 1999 ranks among the top Cabernet-based wines of the vintage. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grown in the Napanook Vineyard, the source of Napa's historic Inglenook Cabernets.
Good ruby-red. Superripe aromas of plum, cherry, licorice, mocha, smoke and minerals. At once sweet and gripping, with very intense, nuanced flavors of cherry, plum, currant, tobacco, minerals and currant leaf. Despite the very high pH of 4.01, this shows no shortage of energy in the mouth. A muscular, firmly tannic, serious wine for aging. (A second sample that had been decanted for four hours prior to my visit was sweeter and more seamless, but still showed solid tannic spine.)
Dominus is a large vineyard, and they have the ability to make a strict selection. The 2002 Dominus gets my nod as the greatest example of this cuvee since the 1991 and 1994. There are 4,500 cases of this 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Merlot blend fashioned from minuscule yields ranging from 1.8 to 2.8 tons of fruit per acre. Christian Moueix told me that the phenolic material was higher analytically in 2002, as were the acids, which surprised everyone. The deep, saturated purple-colored 2002 boasts an extraordinary perfume of roasted coffee intermixed with black currants, cherries, cocoa, cedar, cigar smoke, and new saddle leather. A classic, full-bodied palate possesses great structure, tremendous depth, loads of tannin, and a multilayered, concentrated yet elegant finish. It is difficult to predict when this beauty will plateau in terms of maturity. My best guess is it needs 3-5 years of bottle age, and should last for 25 years.
A wine of great intensity, depth and complexity. Beautifully crafted, ripe, rich and creamy, showing off pretty vanilla and mocha-scented oak before a deep core of currant, blackberry, black cherry and minerally flavors fold in. Firm tannins add structure on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2004 through 2014.
As good as the 2001 Napanook is, this wine is more intense. The fruit is lusher, the oak newer, the control more complete, but the kicker is the tannins. They're powerful and dusty, and conceal the flamboyance, for now. This is a monster of a wine that desperately needs time before exploding. Hold until 2010 and beyond.
Food Pairings for Dominus
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