A real showy wine with intoxicating perfume on the nose. Plush mouth feel, delicate and finessed with good concentration of red fruits and currant. Has a lower intensity finish, with well resolved tannins, and there's decent acidity holding this together. In a good place right now. Very well balanced wine, bridging the gap between old and new Napa very nicely. 93 points.
This is a perfect wine.
External Reviews for Dominus Estate
The 1997 Dominus, a blend of 86.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 4.5% Merlot, is showing fabulously well. With 14.1% alcohol and a pH that would make many New World oenologists shudder (about 3.95), this wine is a fleshy, silky-textured, opulent wine with a gorgeous nose of roasted herbs, coffee, jammy black cherry and plum-like fruit. Asian spice, licorice, and blackberry and cherry notes with tobacco spice all add to this complex, very gorgeously symmetrical Dominus. The wine is medium to full-bodied, very concentrated, and silky-textured. It is gorgeous to drink now, but should age easily for 10ndash;15 years.
Of course, generous and accessible are relative terms, here meaning that if you open this wine on release you will taste the elevated, powerful and dynamic presence of the wine; that the deep fruit flavors are perceptible, big and plummy yet restrained and structured by substantial tannins tight and smooth as graphite; that even though the wine needs plenty of time to develop, and probably will only begin to show its best around ten years from the vintage, it already has the glamour and flash of a great Napa red. This wine doesnrsquo;t require the faith of previous vintages; its lines are already defined, to be further embellished by time.
Napanook, one of the Napa Valleyrsquo;s most storied vineyards, is nestled into the hillside west of Yountville; in 2000, Christian Moueix and his team coaxed a classic Napa wine from those vines, a Dominus layered in plush currant fruit. The fruit modulates from red to forest green to black, layered in an elegant, clean arc of flavor. While generous, itrsquo;s also staunch and taut. As in rsquo;98 the vines at Napanook produced great wine in what others might consider a lesser Napa vintage.
On the third day opened, the wine begins to yield. Black raspberry and currant fruit presides where tannin reigned. Itrsquo;s transformed into a beautiful, shimmering thing, a wine completely distinct from most Napa Valley Cabernets, one grown to age and to express the Yountville hillside vines rising up from the stone winery at the foot of the hill. What for some was a difficult Cabernet vintage in Napa, rsquo;98 caused winemaker Bruno Champy to adjust any number of factors mdash; from thinning after a difficult bloom, to tannin management through maceration and less pumping over, to lees new oak and less time in barrel and finally eliminating 50 percent of the lot. The struggle doesnrsquo;t show in the wine, or perhaps it shows in the greatness of the wine. Cellar it.
Youthfully floral and tight, this vintage of Dominus is a big wine that holds all of its weight behind a powerful structure. And itrsquo;s the power of that structure that is front and center mdash; red apple-skin acidity and walnut-skin tannin mdash; needing a rib eye with plenty of fat to bring the fruit out of its cage. Stay with it and the winersquo;s earthiness begins to meld with the blueberry and chocolate richness. But itrsquo;s all completely primary. Put this away for ten years, and drink the Napanook while it matures.
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: nowndash;2012.
A great vintage of Dominus, this wine combines staying power with tremendous elegance on release. Christian Moueix has farmed John Danielrsquo;s classic vineyard since 1983; he now works with Boris Champy to make this wine. If you can procure a case, the complex red fruit scents and satin pleasure of the texture make it well worth opening a bottle now. Plan to drink most of it between 2010 and 2014, when the earthy tannins will have fully matured, adding more complexity to that voluptuous texture. Then save a few bottles to see whether this or the rsquo;01 will age best.
Food Pairings for Dominus Estate
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