The release of the 2020 vintage of Dominus prompted us to look at the history and style of this rising Napa superstar.
Dominus, The Petrus Connection:
Dominus is a wine that combines the best of two worlds, old and new. It has the elegance and finesse of Bordeaux, and the power and richness of Napa Valley. The project of Christian Moueix of Petrus fame, it was begun in1983 by Christian Moueix, after he fell in love with the Napanook vineyard, a historic site in Yountville that dates back to 1836.
The potential of this land was crystal clear, and so Moueix and decided to buy it and create his own estate. It has gone from strength to strength and is now among the elite wines of Napa. New releases are eagerly awaited and often massively over-subscribed.
Dominus: Napa Style With French Elan:
Harking back to Moueix’s roots in Bordeaux, Dominus is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and sometimes Merlot. French oak barrels are used, with about 40% being new depending on the vintage. It comes from an excellent terroir which has gravelly loam soils, a cool microclimate, and old vines that are dry-farmed.
The result of these exceptional raw materials and peerless winemaking means a Napa that elegantly combines the openness and generosity that is normally associated with Napa, with pure and complex fruit, a surprisingly firm structure, dazzling acidity for balance, silky tannins, and a long, sophisticated finish. It really does represent the best of old and new worlds in perfect harmony.
Multiple 100 Point Scores:
The immense quality here as lead to widespread critical acclaim. Dominus has been rated 100 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate for four vintages: 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Lisa Perrotti-Brown has awarded perfect scores to six vintages. Furthermore, it has also been ranked among the top 10 wines of the year by Wine Spectator for four vintages: 1994, 2001, 2008, and 2012.
Fair pricing, especially in the context of what wines of a similar calibre from Napa can command, means that it has achieved something of a cult status. This is the sort of wine that you simply cannot own too much of.
The Great vintages of Dominus:
2013 Dominus – In one of the finest ever Napa vintages Dominus excelled. It achieved 100 points scores from Robert Parker, Antonio Galloni and Lisa Perrotti-Brown. 2013 is arguably the vintage that propelled Dominus into the stratosphere.
2002 Dominus – Perhaps the first truly great Dominus vintage. Robert Parker rated this at 99 points back in 2012 and predicted great things. That prediction was spot on as Lisa Perrotti-Brown sampled it in 2023 and gave 100 points to this magnificent Dominus.
2015 Dominus – With 100 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown and Jeb Dunnuck from bottle and 99-100 from Robert Parker from barrel, this is a superstar. Dunnuck says “2015 Dominus is a flawless, perfect wine as well as a legend in the making”. He goes on, “Reminding me of the 2015 Château Margaux with its incredible mix of elegance and power”, underlining the Bordeaux influence.
These are just three picks. One of the remarkable things about Dominus is the incredible consistency. This was made clear in a recent vertical tasting by Lisa Perrotti-Brown. Dominus barely puts a foot wrong, making a vertical of this, a very special thing to own.
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