A Napa Valley Red Wine, Pure in its FruitA legend among the wines of Napa Valley, Dominus Estate was founded by a Bordeaux-native by the name of Christian Moueix from a family of wine merchants and producers. Moueix first fell in love with the Napa Valley terroir during his time spent at the University of California Davis. After completing his studies, he returned to Bordeaux for one decade to manage his family vineyards, including Chateaux Petrus, La Fleur Petrus, Trotanoy and Madelaine. His passion eventually led him back to California in 1981, when he discovered the 124-acre Napanook Vineyard in Napa Valley. After first entering into a partnership, in 1995 he became the sole owner. Today, the Napanook Vineyard produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the emblematic varietals of Left Bank Bordeaux. The vines are planted in easy-draining gravelly and clay loam soils, which make possible very concentrated, high quality fruit. The vineyard is managed with principles of sustainable agriculture and dry farming is at the core of the viticultural philosophy.
The 2008 vintage at the Dominus Estate was quite challenging but very rewarding in the end. The winter and spring saw uncommonly low levels of precipitation, followed by cold mornings towards the end of March and April, which threatened the sensitive young shoots with frost. Extreme fluctuations in temperatures disrupted pollineation, resulting in few berries per cluster. The yields were kept at a record low by reduced water reserves. The summer that followed was very warm, with temperatures above 100ºF recorded on six days. The harvest took place between September 19th and October 3rd. The Dominus Estate Napa Valley 2008 is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. Following a manual sorting of clusters in the vineyard, the grapes passed through an optical sorting system at the winery. During maceration, a series of gentle pump overs were carried out, followed by a light vertical pressing at a cool temperature for a gentle release of aromas, color and tannins. The wine matured in French oak barrels, of which 40% were new. It was fined with egg whites before bottling.The Dominus Estate Napa Valley 2008 is a very pure wine, with very distinct aromas of red berries coming through on the nose, along with deep blackberry and dark plum fragrances. The nose also offers notes of flowers and mint. On the palate, this Napa Valley red blend is full bodied, with very smooth, velvety tannins and great texture. The finish is superb, with the tannins carrying through until the very end, and flavors of ripe berry and chocolate coming through.
Wine Advocate-Parker :
Made in a more masculine style, the 2008 Dominus has all of that along with bigger body and more structure, fat, density and texture. Both are brilliant wines and they represent the finest back-to-back vintages for Dominus since 2001 and 2002 or 1990 and 1991. Both the 2007 and 2008 Dominus should drink well for 25-30 years.