Dominus is the California estate of Christian Moueix, the Bordeaux negociant whose family owns Chateau Petrus and several other important Pomerol properties. Dominus made its first vintage in 1983 and Moueix has been sole owner since 1995.
The 50 hectare Napanook property, at Yountville in the Napa Valley, is planted to the classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (80%); Cabernet Franc (10%); Merlot and Petit Verdot (5% each). Cabernet Sauvignon makes up the vast majority of the blend each year, with varying amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Merlot has not been included since 2005.
Dominus spends around 18 months in French oak, of which 40-50% is new each year. The property had previously been the source of some of the Napa Valley's most important wines of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s (notably Inglenook). Today there is no doubt that Dominus consistently makes one of the greatest Napa Valley Cabernet-based blends.
Jeff Leve’s Wine Cellar Insider says: ‘Dominus is one of the best Napa wines to use in a blind tasting against Bordeaux wines. Its fresh style, balance and lack of over-ripeness make it a unique style of wine from the valley. Based on recent (2017) tastings of the 1991 and 1994 vintages, Dominus Estate has one of the best track records for aging as well’.
As pointed out by Robert Parker in a review of the 2015: There is a particular irony, in that Dominus contains no Merlot, despite its owner being, arguably, the world’s leading exponent of the variety.
Composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot, the stunning, full-bodied 2010 Dominus boasts an exceptional perfume of hoisin sauce, licorice, underbrush, forest floor, plums, black currants and jammy cherries intertwined with hints of cedar, baking spices and oak. Full-bodied and voluptuously textured, the 2010 is on a slightly faster evolutionary track than the 2009 (somewhat of an anomaly for these two vintages). This exquisite as well as prodigious 2010 can be drunk young, but it should age effortlessly for 20-25 years. Bravo!
100 points, Wine Advocate (October 2013)
This is a solid wine with a flawless nose of dark berries, sweet tobacco, tar and warm stones. Subtle and complex. Full body with a phenomenal mouthfeel and texture that is wonderfully silky. The finish is so incredible with caramalized orange peel, berries and lightly toasted oak. Very structured. Stony.
99 points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2014)
The 2010 Dominus is one of the unquestioned stars of the evening. While some of the 2010s can be enjoyed young, Dominus is a powerhouse that will require a number of years to soften. It is a bit of a shame the 2010 is served early in this dinner, as it is truly magnificent. Tasted over several hours and into the next day, the 2010 only continued to grow. A wine of baritone-like depth and explosive structure, the Dominus is a long-distance runner. On this night it is dark, imposing and totally vertical in its sense of structure. The firm tannins beg for patience. Today, my impression is that Dominus will be one of the last 2010s to open up.
98+ points, Vinous (June 2015)