Napanook is made solely from grapes grown at the historic Napanook Vineyard in Yountville, Napa Valley. Napanook is blended from blocks in the vineyard that were carefully selected for their lively fruit, soft tannins and early maturing characteristics.
The 2005 vintage is dark crimson in color, with a fragrant, rich nose full of blackberries and dark forest fruits. The aroma slowly reveals subtle notes of smoky sandalwood, chocolate, and sweet almonds. The entry on the palate is round, but firm; precise and enveloping. Well-balanced tannins open throughout the evolution, and linger on the finish with cherries, cedar and cacao.
2005 marks the 10th vintage of Napanook, probably the best to date.
Napanook 2005 is comprised of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot.
In the late 1960s, while attending the University of California at Davis, Christian Moueix fell in love with the Napa Valley and its wines. Son of Jean-Pierre Moueix, the famed wine merchant and producer from Libourne, France, Moueix returned home in 1970 to manage the family vineyards, including Chateaux Petrus, La Fleur-Petrus, Trotanoy in Pomerol and Magdelaine in Saint Emilion.
His love of Napa Valley lingered and in 1981, he discovered the historic Napanook vineyard, a 124-acre site west of Yountville that had been the source of fruit for some of the finest Napa Valley wines of the 1940s and 1950s. In 1982, Moueix entered into a partnership to develop the vineyard and, in 1995, became its sole owner. He chose the name 'Dominus' or 'Lord of the Estate' in Latin to underscore his longstanding commitment to stewardship of the land.
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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.