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Dominus Estate 1985

Bordeaux Red Blends from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
  • RP91
0% ABV
  • JS98
  • RP97
  • WW100
  • RP100
  • JS100
  • V98
  • RP98
  • JS98
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Winemaker Notes

The 1985 Dominus Estate is produced solely from Bordeaux varieties grown at Napanook Vineyard, creating the most harmonious and complex wine of the "first stage" of Dominus Estate — the 1983, 1984 and 1985 vintages were blended from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes grown on the property when we took over management.

The 1985 vintage is composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot. The climatic conditions of the 1985 season were moderate, and the final weeks of ripening were cool by California standards, resulting in gradual ripening and intensely flavored fruit with a mature tannic development.

The 1985 Dominus Estate has a deep ruby color and a rich nose reminiscent of black cherries. It is a full-bodied wine with ripe tannins that are just beginning to soften. Christian Moueix recommends decanting before serving to allow the wine to develop its full potential.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1985 Dominus stands out for its smoky, ripe cassis, earthy nose, sweet, full-bodied, concentrated flavors, and opulently long, chewy finish. It was the most forward, precocious example of this wine I have yet tasted. Most recent tastings have suggested the wine needed further aging. This bottling exhibited the plush, velvety texture that proprietor Christian Moueix achieves in top Pomerol vintages.
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Dominus

Dominus

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Dominus, , California
Dominus
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.

Pauillac

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The leader on the Left Bank as far as number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.

While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the finest wines in all of Bordeaux.

Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.

Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

ELVDOMINUS_1985 Item# 132322

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