The 2009 Dominus saw about 40% new oak compared to the 20% for Napanook. A seamless classic, it offers a symphony of red and black currants, Asian plum sauce, lavender, and underbrush. Sweet Christmas fruitcake characteristics emerge from this magnificent Dominus that finished at 14.5% natural alcohol (slightly higher than usual). The seamless integration of acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol, the brilliant length and overall compelling complexity and richness make it one of the great classics from this historic estate. It should drink well for 20-25 years.
The 2009 Dominus has closed down quite a bit since I last tasted it. Today, all of the glorious fruit of the vintage is hiding behind a serious wall of tannin. The 2009 still possesses gorgeous inner perfume and plenty of sweetness, but little of the sexiness that will emerge over time. From time to time, the utter genius of the 2009 shows a glimpse of its potential. There is little doubt the 2009 will be a jewel once it awakens from what might very well be a long slumber. This is another wine that begs for patience. The 2009 is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.
In the late 1960s, while attending the university of California, Christian Moueix fell in love with the Napa valley and its wines. Although he returned to Bordeaux to manage the family vineyards, including Petrus, La Fleur-Petrus and Trotanoy, his love of the Napa valley lingered and in 1981, he discovered the historic Napanook vineyard that had been the source of fruit for some of the finest Napa valley wines of the 1940s and 1950s. In 1982, Moueix entered into a partnership to develop the vineyard and, in 1995, became its sole owner. He chose the name ‘Dominus’ to underscore his longstanding commitment to stewardship of the land. This dedication has borne spectacular results. The wines themselves are a beguiling combination of old world knowledge and new world potential, elevating good vintages to great heights and great vintages to mesmerising levels. Invariably these are some of the most complex, compelling and complete wines produced in Napa.
This small town north of San Francisco has grown up to be one of California’s most famous wine regions. It is home to opulent Cabernets and sweetly-spiced Zinfandels, grown across many sub-regions including Stags Leap, Rutherford, Oakville and others. Cooling ocean fogs roll in from the Pacific at night and burn off in the summer sunshine, keeping the region cooler than you would expect for its latitude, and help produce some of the best Californian wines. Napa wines have the concentration and structure to age magnificently.