Today we are delighted to be able to offer a pre-release of Dominus 2014, the new and highly subscribed Napa powerhouse. Tim Fish of the Wine Spectator calls the 2014 vintage ‘a dream vintage, with quality along the lines of 2012 and 2013.’ Antonio Galloni says, ‘Napa Valley delivered another exceptional vintage in 2014.’ James Suckling believes ‘It’s a year that proves Napa is now entrenched in a new era of classicism’, while Robert Parker states ‘I thought this was a very good to excellent vintage when tasting from barrel…’ In 2014 Dominus have produced another exceptional vintage, which has been awarded 97 points from Robert Parker who says ‘2014 is a sexy, opulent, layered, multidimensional wine with notes of red and blackcurrant, cedar wood, tobacco leaf, spice box and licorice.’ James Suckling has awarded it 98 points and Antonio Galloni 96+. With these very high scores and previous track record, today’s release price of the 2014 Dominus at £975 per case of six offers exceptional quality.
We have identified Dominus as a strong investment wine. We have previously offered several parcels of back vintages, along with the 2012 and 2013 wines on release. Dominus is undervalued when compared to its similar scoring Napa peers. Furthermore, it has limited production, in 2014 only 4,000 cases were produced, to put this into perspective, Opus One produce 25,000. Dominus is highly subscribed on release across the globe and there is little back vintage stock to be traded. As such it is not surprising that the average bottle price across the last ten trading vintages, since 2013, has risen from £90 to £175, a 94% increase in four years. We expect this trend to continue over the next five years, with Dominus coming more into line with the price of the other leading Cult wines. The 100 point 2013, for example, trades at £1,600 a case of six, a new watermark for Dominus.
Moreover, Dominus is also the Napa manifestation of one of the world’s most sought after wines, Chateau Petrus. Dominus Estate represents the synthesis of Bordeaux and Napa Valley winemaking, owned by Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus. It is located in Yountville within Napa Valley and is famed for producing Napa’s greatest French style Bordeaux blend, 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 estates including, in the early 1970s, 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 west of Yountville. This site, named Napanook, had been famed during the 1940s and 1950s for producing some of the best fruit in the Napa Valley.
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, resulting in the healthiest possible grapes. They advance a minimalist approach to ensure their wines are elegant, complex and long-lived.
Investors and collectors will benefit from securing the leading Californian Estates on release and Dominus is certainly at the very apex of cult Napa, or indeed any global cult wine. It is worth mentioning in closing however that Parker has already undertaken a bottle review for several Estates and given them elevated scores, Scarecrow 2014 jumped from 91-94 points to 100, similarly Maybach Materium from 95-97 to a perfect 100 points. The consensus is that the 2014 is tasting brilliantly from bottle and an exceptional 97 points from Parker could well be improved upon, which would drive up prices further once secondary market trading ensues.
Dominus 2014, 6×75 – £975 IB
98 points, James Suckling
Loads of dark tobacco aromas with blackcurrants and black olives. Boysenberries, too. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and lots of flavors of smoke, dried roasted chillis, black truffles, mushrooms and fruit. Bright acidity on the finish. Sexy and subtle austerity. Alluring. Very approachable now but better in 2021.
97 points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
The 2014s, where the production of Napanook was only 2,200 cases and Dominus slightly more than the 2015 at 4,000 cases, was another early harvest, although somewhat later than 2015. The 2014 Dominus, which is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot really struts its stuff. Moueix’s belief in dry farming seems to be paying off with stronger and stronger vintages, each successive year, and the 2014 is a sexy, opulent, layered, multidimensional wine with notes of red and blackcurrant, cedar wood, tobacco leaf , spice box and licorice. The color is a dense plum/ruby/purple, much like the Napanook. This is a beauty that is already drinking gorgeously – as most 2014s are – and will continue to evolve for 25 or so years.
96+ points, Antonio Galloni
The 2014 Dominus is endowed with tons of depth, power and muscle. Black cherry, plum, smoke, menthol, licorice, chocolate, dried herbs and dark spices are all pushed forward. Deep, pliant and exquisitely layered, the 2014 possesses tons of concentration and mid-palate depth. Like so many wines in this vintage, the 2014 comes across as a hybrid of 2013 and 2012. I very much like the energy and focus in this wine. This is a fabulous wine in every way. With time in the glass, the flavors gain in brightness and focus. There is certainly much to look forward to.
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