Dominus Napanook Vineyard 2012
Blend: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.