La Dominique is a Grand Cru Classe growth of Saint-Émillion, leading the way in many fields of modernisation and innovation amongst the chateaux of Bordeaux.
Owner Clement Fayat has spent decades on improving everything from vinification facilities, to drainage, to the cellars, to a bright red (and controversially visible from a distance) vat house completed in 2013.
Benefitting (similarly to their famous neighbours, Ch. Cheval Blanc) from a proximity to Pomerol, La Dominique produces Merlot-led wines that combine vigour and elegance.
The 2020 Château La Dominique is a normal blend of 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. It's certainly in line with the 2018 and 2019, and if anything, can be thought of as a hypothetical mix of the two vintages, offering more precision and focus than the 2018 and more voluptuousness than the ethereal 2019. Gorgeous cassis and black raspberry fruits along with notes of bouquet garni, graphite, and chocolate define the bouquet, and it has some classic salty mineral nuances imparted by limestone, yet still brings an almost Pomerol-like mid-palate and density. With integrated tannins, wonderful freshness, and a great finish, I'd be thrilled to have bottles in the cellar.
(95-97) points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)
Very tight and focused red from here with blackberry, iodine and stone aromas and flavors. It’s medium-to full-bodied with ripe tannins that are fine-grained and show length. Pretty.
(94-95) points, JamesSuckling.com (April 2021)
Full bottle 1,260 g. Cask sample taken 6 April. 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged for 14 months in new oak (50% new) plus a little in amphora and 'vegetal polymer egg' and in a 'wine globe'.
Dark, lustrous, blackish crimson. Sinewy, leathery nose. Sweet fruit on palate entry seems very unlike the nose but is very flattering. And then pretty dry tannins kick in. A wine with three, apparently unrelated, stages for the moment but with any luck all those elements will eventually knit together. 14.5%
16+ points, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021)
The 2020 La Dominique presents a nose of red and black fruit, subtle hints of fireside ash, and even a faint hint of Christmas cake in the background, all well defined and focused. The medium-bodied palate offers a sapid entry, crisp acidity and flavors of blackberry plus touches of tobacco and smoke, maintaining fine delineation all the way through to the finish. This is a step up from recent vintages, a testament to the changes that have been implemented at the estate. La Dominique is back!
(93-95) points, Vinous (May 2021)
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.