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Dominus Napanook Vineyard (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • JS95
  • RP92
  • CG90
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2012 Napanook is a clear expression of an exceptional vintage. Pure aromas of fresh strawberry, caramel and minty sage fill the nose. Vigorous and rich with firm, yet integrated tannins, the wine offers earthy complexity, dark cocoa and roasted almonds on a long lingering finish.

Blend: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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JS 95
James Suckling
This is shows wonderful aromas of tar, asphalt, wet earth and pure cherries. Full-bodied, yet soft and velvety with a fine dusty texture to the finish. Fresh and austere. Dignified. This has no cabernet franc in it this year. Normally there is 3% to 5%.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Napanook (a 3,000-case blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot) is one of the strongest second wines Moueix has produced to date. Made in a sexy, open-knit, opulent style very much in keeping with the vintage’s signature, it offers up luscious notes of bay leaf, lavender, red and blackcurrants, plum sauce, licorice and Christmas fruitcake. This is a gorgeous, opulent, medium to full-bodied 2012 that is already revealing considerable complexity. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.
CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide
By Dominus. Easily among the better, if not the best, Napanook bottlings that we can recall, the 2012 is a solid, sturdy, classically structured Cabernet that, although claimed by Dominus to be designed for drinking while young, strikes us as being anything but. It is deep, it is tough and it is unabashedly tannic, yet it is also deep in distinctly curranty fruit, and, if in no ways a lavish wine, it is a composed and complex one that will age famously. Five years seems the minimal wait, but it will grow and gain in interest for two or three times as long.
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Dominus

Dominus Estate

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Dominus Estate, 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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

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.

SOU389406_2012 Item# 145715