Another incredible offering from Christian Moueix’s original New World project. Known for its otherworldly balance, the 2017 Dominus Proprietary Red Blend Napa Valley is an exceptional blend of the highest quality. Layer upon layer of complexity with aromatics of red berries, herbs and mocha. Dark fruits, earthiness and a touch of lavender follow on the palate. Framed in solid tannin, structure is evident, while finishing elegantly. Drink now or allow for further complexity to develop with a few years in the cellar.
Christian Moueix, whose family owns Château Pétrus in Pomerol, fell in love with Napa Valley during the late 1960s while attending UC Davis. In 1982, he partnered with Robin Lail and Marcia Smith, daughters of legendary Inglenook owner/winemaker John Daniel, to create Dominus Estate on the site of the historic Napanook Vineyard in Yountville. This was the only portion of the old Inglenook estate retained by the Daniel family after Inglenook was sold in 1964. The first vintage was 1983 and since then, Moueix has painstakingly restored the original vineyard - first planted in 1836 by pioneer George Yount - which now totals 108 dry-farmed acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.
The 2017 Dominus is one of the truly epic, grand wines of the vintage. Rich, dense and explosive, with tremendous concentration and sheer power, the 2017 Dominus captures all the personality of this site along with the natural opulence of the year. Inky dark fruit, lavender, menthol, licorice, plum, gravel and a host of dark spice notes infuse the 2017 with seemingly endless layers of nuance. Over the last two years I have tasted several hundred Napa Valley Cabernets, both from barrel and bottle. There is no question that Dominus belongs among the elite in 2017; it is simply a breathtaking wine. Certainly readers looking for a Napa Valley Cabernet to cellar should put Dominus at the top of their lists.
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.
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.