The historic Napanook Vineyard, a 124-acre site west of Yountville, was planted in 1838. This vineyard was the source of fruit for some of the finest Napa Valley wines. Estate-bottled in the spirit of the Bordeaux châteaux, Dominus Estate is dry-farmed to allow natural stress and good concentration of fruit. Grape clusters are crop-thinned to allow sun and air to pass in between, helping to achieve full maturation and soften the tannins. Only 20% to 40% new French oak barrels are used in order to limit the extraction of oak notes. To express the unique terroir, the classic Bordeaux grape varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are planted with different root stocks best suited for the varying soil composition of gravel, heavy clay and loam.
Varietal Composition: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot
There was about 50% of a normal crop this year for the 2017 Dominus, due to strict selection. Grapes were harvested from September 21 to October 3 and the wine was bottled in June 2019. This year the blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, aged in 40% new French oak barrels. Very deep purple-black in color, it sashays nonchalantly out of the glass with graceful notions of potpourri, forest floor, crushed rocks, Ceylon tea and licorice with a core of black currant cordial, chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries and preserved plums plus a waft of garrigue. Full-bodied, the palate has a beautifully impactful, wonderfully quiet intensity of black and blue fruits with loads of floral and spicy sparks, framed by firm yet plush tannins, finishing with long-lasting earthy notes.
Very intense aromas of fruit, yet complex subtlety. Blue fruit, licorice and blackberries with flowers and perfumes. Full-bodied, round and chewy with black tea, currants and hints of leather and incense. Coffee undertones. Extremely long and exciting. Available April 2020. Drink in 2022.
The grand vin is the 2017 Dominus, which is based on 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, harvested between September 21 and October 3, and aged in 40% new French oak. Chateau Lafite-like notes of blackcurrants, lead pencil shavings, cedary tobacco, and gravelly earth all emerge from the glass, and it's full-bodied, has a terrific sense of elegance, lots of tannins, and a great finish. This tight, powerful, concentrated Dominus will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 25 years or more. 2017 doesn't get much better.
This delivers a focused and refined core of cassis, damson plum and raspberry puree notes, laced with precise savory, sage and black tea threads. Shows lovely detail throughout, with a late iron minerality emerging slowly. Stylish, this seems approachable now, but there's some serious embedded grip here too. A wine that should expand with cellaring. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2022 through 2040.