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Dominus Estate 1986

Bordeaux Red Blends from Yountville, Napa Valley, California
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Winemaker Notes

The 1986 Dominus Estate has a deep ruby color and a rich nose reminiscent of ripe cherries, with elegance, finesse and excellent balance. Christian Moueix recommends decanting this wine before serving to allow it to develop its full potential.

Blend: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I did not pick this out as Dominus in the blind tasting, largely because it came across as such a young, rich, blockbuster wine. One of the richest, densest, most concentrated offerings in the entire tasting, it also proved to be one of the best-balanced, with better integration of acidity and tannin than many 1986s exhibited. The color remains a deep, dark ruby, with purple hues. Dense, concentrated, and pure, with copious quantities of cassis fruit intermingled with earth, spice, and minerals, this large-scaled, concentrated wine appears to have aged at a glacial pace since I first tasted it. Accessible because of its well-integrated, low acidity, this wine should continue to evolve and drink well for another 15-20 years.
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Dominus

Dominus Estate

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Dominus Estate, Yountville, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Yountville

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One of Napa Valley's most historic sub-appellations, Yountville spreads through some of the valley's ideal cooler sites and enjoys success with a handful of different and significant grape varieties.

Syrah competes strongly with Cabernet Sauvignon here for optimal vineyard real estate followed by Pinot noir, Pinot blanc and Sauvignon blanc.

This sub-AVA of Napa Valley is rich in the history that makes Napa Valley what it is today, and not just for red wines.

Moët & Chandon entered the California winemaking business via Yountville in 1973 with the establishment Domaine Chandon. Their goal has always been to produce top quality méthode champenoise sparkling wines.

Christian Moueix, originally responsible for managing Chateau Petrus and La Fleur-Petrus in Pomerol, arrived in Yountville in the early 1980s. He formed a partnership with Rohin Lail and Marcia Smith, inheritors of Napanook vineyard from their father John Daniel of Inglenook in Rutherford. In 1995 Moueix became sole owner of Napanook and chose the name Dominus, which today produces some of Napa’s highest scoring, age-worthy Bordeaux Blends.

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 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 lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally 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 in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

ELVDOMINUS_1986 Item# 126470