Red, Ready, but will improve

2010 Dominus, Napa Valley, Dominus Estate

2010 Dominus, Napa Valley, Dominus Estate

Red | Ready, but will improve | Dominus Estate | Code:  24193 | 2010 | USA > California > Napa | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 15.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

WA

100/100

WA - Composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot, the stunning, full-bodied 2010 Dominus boasts an exceptional perfume of hoisin sauce, licorice, underbrush, forest floor, plums, black currants and jammy cherries intertwined with hints of cedar, baking spices and oak. Full-bodied and voluptuously textured, the 2010 is on a slightly faster evolutionary track than the 2009 (somewhat of an anomaly for these two vintages). This exquisite as well as prodigious 2010 can be drunk young, but it should age effortlessly for 20-25 years. Bravo!
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 31/10/2013

GALLONI - A towering, utterly magnificent wine, the 2010 Dominus boasts stunning depth and power. Asphalt, licorice, menthol, plums and cassis wrap around the palate and never let up. The 2010 is endowed with serious density and structure, so it is going to require plenty of time to come together. Melted road tar, sage and intense mineral notes support rich, dense fruit that is just beginning to emerge from beneath a wall of tannin. This is a fabulous showing. The 2010 is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot.
Antonio Galloni - Vinous, November 2013

WS - Graceful and refined, offering a subtle mix of delicate Cabernet flavors, with dried currant, cherry, herb, cedar, cigar box and graphite notes, ending with smooth, integrated tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2024.
James Laube - Wine Spectator, 15th November 2013

The Producer

Dominus Estate

Dominus Estate

Dominus is now entirely owned by Christian Moueix (of Château Pétrus fame) and produces one of the finest Bordeaux style wines in California.

The fruit is sourced largely from the famed Napanook Vineyard located at Yountville in the Napa Valley. Some of the vines at Napanook are over 100 years old and it was one of the 3 vineyards from which the great vintages of Inglenook were produced. Dominus is a Bordeaux- style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

It is aged in one-third new oak barrels for 15 months. After a shaky start, Dominus is now a serious rival to Opus One and in recent years has arguably been the superior wine.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

The Region

Napa

Napa

North Coast's Napa Valley is California's most famous viticultural area (AVA), claiming some of the most expensive agricultural land in the world and producing wines of ‘cult’ status.

Its 16,000 ha of vines lie over a strip (40 miles long-5 miles wide) of diverse soils (clay, gravely, volcanic), with its northernmost end on the side of Mountain Helena and its foot in San Francisco Bay. The valley is framed by two mountains ranges Vaca (to the north) and Mayacamas (to the south), yet the main climatic influence is the cool wind and fog that is sucked in from San Pablo Bay during the afternoon, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. 

The area enjoys a variety of unique microclimates, as temperatures can vary dramatically as much as 15 degrees, from the north to the south end of the valley. These differences have led to the creation of several sub-AVAs (14 in total) including:

Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley District, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville, Wild Horse Valley and Oak Knoll District. The Calistoga AVA is still pending approval.

Both the “Napa Valley” designation and the sub-AVA name must appear on the wine label simultaneously, with the exception of wines from the Carneros AVA, which is shared between the Napa Valley and the Sonoma County.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the undisputed king of Napa grapes, occupying over 45% of the vineyard acreage, followed by (predominantly) Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cab. Franc and to a lesser extent Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto.

Recommended Producers
Frog's Leap, Dominus, David Ramey, Viader, Stag's Leap Cellars, Paras Vineyards, Heitz.

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