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May 08, 2014

Dominus 2005 and Napanook 2009

Dominusestate.000 (1)

Dominus Estate represents the synthesis of Bordeaux and Napa Valley winemaking; owned by Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus. It is located in Yountville, Napa Valley and is famed for producing Napa Valley’s greatest French style Bordeaux Blends, Dominus and its second wine Napanook. We are delighted to be able to offer cases of the 95+ scoring Dominus 2005 at the superb price of £565 per half case and 12 bottle cases of the 93 scoring 2009 Napanook for £360, which Moueix claims is one of his favourite wines from the Estate of the last decade, including Dominus!

Christian the son of the late eminent winemaker and pioneer Jean-Pierre Moueix, whose company J.P Mouiex owns Petrus, La Fleur-Petrus and Trotanoy, first fell in love with Napa wines in the late 1960s when he was attending the University of California at Davis. After completing his studies Christian returned to work with his father. Under Christian’s tenure J.P. Mouiex introduced a number of revolutionary techniques at their Estate including, in the early 70s, crop thinning. However, Napa Valley and its wines lingered in his mind and in 1981 he was introduced on the recommendation of Robert Mondavi to a 124 acre site in the west of Yountville. This site, named Napanook, had been famed during the 1940s and 50s for producing some of the best fruit in Napa Valley.

In 1982, at which time Christian was completely in charge of Petrus’ production, he entered into a partnership with Inglenook’s owners. He choose the name ‘Dominus’ which in latin means ‘lord of the estate’, to emphasise his august commitment to the land’s stewardship; by 1995 he become its sole proprietor. In 1996 Christian charged the world famous Swiss architects Jaques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron to construct a $5 million, 50,000 sq ft winery from stone-filled gabions to offer ample protection against the heat of the day and the cold nights. In 1996 the vineyard’s eponymously named second wine Napanook was first released.

Under Christian’s tenure Dominus Estate has greatly benefited from the world’s leading winemakers and consultants, including Philippe Melka, previously of Haut Brion and Cheval Blanc. The wines adapt the French technical approach to Californian conditions, focusing on grape growing, dry-farming which relies on a deep root system to take advantage of natural water, to produce the healthiest possible grapes. They advance a minimalist approach to ensure the wines are elegant, complex and long-lived.

The wines are aged in 100% French oak for 18 months, 40% new for Dominus and 20% new for Napanook, helping to showcase the purity of fruit and integrate the wonderful flavour profiles of blonde tobacco, plum and mocha while also adding cedar, toast and smoke. Dominus and Napanook combine the best of the two regions’ techniques and styles, straddling the two greatest Bordeaux blend regions of the world. The Estate produces less than 7,000 cases each year, split between Dominus 4,000 and Napanook 2,500.

We have isolated Dominus 2005 as undervalued against its own similar or equivalent vintages at £90 a bottle; 2010 Dominus is already priced at more than £200 a bottle and the 1991 to which Parker compares the 2005 in terms of quality, trades above £230 a bottle. Dominus offers extraordinary value considering the wines quality and compared to the other leading Napa estates; many inferior, less prestigious estates command double and treble the price for their wines. Moreover, the 2005 offers collectors the chance to buy a world leading wine that is about to enter its drinking window, although it will improve for another 20 years. The nose is beginning to sing; displaying sweet black cherry, cassis, liquorice, smoked meat, mocha and TRUFFLES. Dominus 2005 is intensely aromatic with a very long finish and incredibly supple tannins.

We have selected Napanook 2009 as it is their greatest ever effort and at £30 a bottle offers incredible value. The wine can be approached now but will improve in bottle for ten years. As their greatest ever vintage the 2009 offers all of the quality of Dominus at a fraction of the price, in fact the wines is better than most of Dominus made in throughout the 90s; it is not to be missed!

Dominus 2005 £565 – 6×75 IB or £692.76 incl duty and VAT
Robert Parker, 95+ points
The 2005 Dominus continues to strut its stuff, tasting like a Napa hybrid blend of a St.-Emilion and Pomerol. Its dark ruby/purple-tinged color is followed by notions of cedarwood, spice box, roasted herbs, sweet black cherry and cassis fruit, licorice, and truffles. Full-bodied with excellent fruit intensity, complex aromatics, supple tannins, and a long finish, this 7,000-case blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot should drink well for two decades or more. 

Napanook 2009 £360 - 12×75 IB or £461.52 incl duty and VAT
Robert Parker, 93 points
The 2009 Napanook, which Moueix claims to be one of his favorite wines of the last decade, is among the finest they have made. A blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, it exhibits a dark plum/purple color along with a big, sweet bouquet of licorice, incense, roasted herbs, loamy soil, kirsch, black currants and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied with silky tannins and a round, opulent mouthfeel, this beauty can be drunk now and over the next 12-15 years. 

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