Dominus is the California estate of Christian Moueix, the Bordeaux negociant whose family owns Chateau Petrus and several other important Pomerol properties. Dominus made its first vintage in 1983 and Moueix has been sole owner since 1995.
The 50 hectare Napanook property, at Yountville in the Napa Valley, is planted to the classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (80%); Cabernet Franc (10%); Merlot and Petit Verdot (5% each). Cabernet Sauvignon makes up the vast majority of the blend each year, with varying amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Merlot has not been included since 2005.
Dominus spends around 18 months in French oak, of which 40-50% is new each year. The property had previously been the source of some of the Napa Valley's most important wines of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s (notably Inglenook). Today there is no doubt that Dominus consistently makes one of the greatest Napa Valley Cabernet-based blends.
Jeff Leve’s Wine Cellar Insider says: ‘Dominus is one of the best Napa wines to use in a blind tasting against Bordeaux wines. Its fresh style, balance and lack of over-ripeness make it a unique style of wine from the valley. Based on recent (2017) tastings of the 1991 and 1994 vintages, Dominus Estate has one of the best track records for aging as well’.
As pointed out by Robert Parker in a review of the 2015: There is a particular irony, in that Dominus contains no Merlot, despite its owner being, arguably, the world’s leading exponent of the variety.
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. 2,800 cases were made.
97+ points, Wine Advocate (November 2019)