Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Among the promises of Domus Aurea are its eucalyptus notes, the balance and freshness of its cherries and its delicate orange zest wrapped in subtle chocolate. Nevertheless, the fact that the whole process is oriented by the same respect for tradition and the terroir, makes every vintage a unique wine. This wine is unfiltered to preserve the original flavor and integrity, which will be much appreciated if you guard it for a long time.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
I tasted two vintages of one of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignons from Chile, starting with the 2015 Domus Aurea, which was cropped from a warm and dry year they told me was similar to 2012. This always contains other varieties, but it's always at least 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and therefore is sold as a varietal wine. In 2015, the balance is 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French oak barrels, 48% of them new, for 16 to 18 months. The 2015 and 2016 vintages could not be more different, and the wines clearly show the style of the vintage. This 2015 is much more expressive and immediate, open, aromatic and extroverted, and it shows its true colors from the moment it's poured. It's nicely built, powerful but elegant and balanced, with pungent flavors and very fine tannins. This is a classical expression of Domus Aurea and Maipo, with clear notes of balsam and herbs.
Deep ruby color with spice present on both the nose and palate. Luscious and balanced with ripe plum flavors, it’s among Chile’s finest.
This grows at Ricardo and Isabel Peña’s vineyard in the foothills of Macul, a 45-acre parcel above the land that the Cousiño family once farmed, that historic site now gone to housing. This remains prime cabernet terroir, as showcased in Domus Aurea’s cool Andean style. The 2015 is quiet and mannered, with firm black-currant juiciness and eucalyptus scents that bring to mind the trees at the vineyard’s edges. The chocolate notes of oak add to the saturation of the texture, the wine needing bottle age to fully evolve toward elegance.
Ripe berry and black cherry aromas are spicy and include a note of black olive. On the palate, this reflects the heat of 2015 and thus it feels heavy and sappy, almost raisiny. To that end, flavors of prune and raisin are chocolaty, while this Cabernet feels rich and almost overripe on the finish. Drink through 2022.
The Peña family is committed to extremely low yields. The family's vineyards are divided into five blocks that follow the depth and stoniness of the soil, which are further divided into upper, middle and lower rows. The harvest is not determined by block or row but vine by vine. The winery also utilizes open-top fermentation and personalized oak aging cycles, selecting lots with the most character to be the first wines into French barrels.
The Maipo Valley is Chile’s most famous wine region. Set in the country’s Central Valley, it is warm and quite dry, often necessitating the use of irrigation. Alluvial soils predominate but are supplemented with loam and clay.
The climate in Maipo is best-suited for ripe, full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon (the region’s most widely planted grape), Merlot, Syrah and Carmenère, a Bordeaux variety that has found a successful home in Chile.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.