From: Napa, California
Blend: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot
Critical Acclaim & Taste: Napanook 2019 is vibrant with lilac, boysenberry, licorice and lively tannins. It can be enjoyed in its youth or aged for several years.
JS 96 James Suckling
An open and beautiful wine with green-olive and currant aromas and flavors. Some bark and earth, too, together with mushrooms, herbs, crushed stones and pomegranate. Medium to full body with round, creamy tannins and refined finish. Blood orange at the end. Crunchy. So drinkable now, but will age beautifully.
WW 94 Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: The 2019 Napanook is nicely structured and lasting on the palate. TASTING NOTES: This wine shines with aromas and flavors of black fruit, licorice, and a touch of oak. Pair it with a grilled, well-marbled ribeye. (Tasted: May 9, 2022, San Francisco, CA)
V 94 Vinous
A fabulous effort, the 2019 Napanook punches well above its weight. Rich, ample and explosive, the 2019 is a big, generous wine that captures all the radiance of the late summer heat. Black cherry, plum, mocha, chocolate, licorice and incense fill out the layers. As always, I tasted the 2019 from two bottles, one opened on the spot, the second double decanted a few hours prior. Aeration makes a huge difference for this wine.
RP 93 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Exuberantly fruity on the nose, the 2019 Napanook is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Despite seeing 40% new French oak, what shines on the nose are the ripe cherries, delicately brushed with wisps of tobacco, sage and bay leaf. It's medium to full-bodied, supple and silky in feel on the palate, while the finish lingers easily, adding notes of pencil shavings and mocha. To get this sort of pedigree for less than $100 is a rarity in Napa these days, making it a notable value.
WS 93 Wine Spectator
Solidly built and very direct, with a juicy, muscular core of cassis, plum and blackberry flavors lined with singed alder, menthol and sweet bay leaf. Maintains juicy energy through the toasty finish, with a late loamy echo keeping things grounded. A very well-proportioned wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now.
JD 92 Jeb Dunnuck
A normal blend 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Dominus Napanook shows a forward, charming, elegant style that builds nicely with time in the glass, offering classic currant-like fruits, some tobacco and earthy, underbrush nuances, ripe tannins, and outstanding length. It's a classic, balanced, impressive Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy over the coming 15 years or more.
Pairing: Best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, sausages, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Some non-meat options include roasted or grilled Portobello mushrooms, black bean burgers, or vegetarian sausages.
Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks
By Mark Bittman
About. 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 Châteaux Pétrus, La Fleur-Pétrus, Trotanoy in Pomerol and Magdelaine in Saint-Émilion.
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.
Located at the foothills of the Mayacamas, the vineyard was planted in 1838 and continues to evolve under the stewardship of Christian Moueix. The estate’s Bordeaux varietals benefit from the Yountville microclimate where temperatures are moderated by cool breezes from the San Pablo Bay. The resulting wines are each uniquely refined expressions of this special terroir.
Napanook is a historic vineyard that dates back to 1836 and is the oldest in the Napa Valley. The vineyard is a total of 124 acres with each parcel vinified separately. The Napanook vineyard’s volcanic, well-draining soils are specifically suited to growing cabernet sauvignon and the other Bordeaux varietals, which compose the Dominus Estate wines.
The Architecture of Dominus
Dominus’ winery is the first project realized in the United States by the design architects, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Based in Basel, Switzerland, they are well-known for their numerous European projects, including the London Tate Gallery’s new Bankside facilities.
Set back in the vineyard, the dark green basalt rock building integrates into the landscape. It is a linear construction 462 feet)long, 82 feet wide and 27 feet high. The exterior is composed of walls of gabions, which are essentially galvanized baskets containing stones. Commonly round retaining river banks or earthwalls, this application as a building’s exterior facade is unique and provides protection from the scorching heat by day and the cold at night. The baskets have no ‘mortar’ and the spaces between the rocks act as a ‘filigree,’ allowing the passage of natural light into the rooms during the day and artificial light to radiate out at night.
The wines are made from grapes grown exclusively in the Napanook vineyard, giving them a specific identity. They are estate-bottled in the spirit of the Bordeaux châteaux. To express the unique terroir, the classic Bordeaux grape varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are planted with different rootstocks that are best suited for the varying soil composition of gravel, heavy clay and loam.
The property is dry-farmed to allow natural stress and good concentration of fruit. This minimal intervention allows the terroir to fully express itself in the wine. The grape clusters are crop-thinned to allow sun and air to pass in between, helping to achieve full maturation and soften the tannins. Only 20% to 40% new French oak barrels are used in order to limit the extraction of oak notes.
This wine. Napanook is made solely from grapes grown at the historic Napanook Vineyard in Yountville, Napa Valley. The wine is blended from blocks in the vineyard that were carefully selected for their lively fruit, soft tannins and early maturing characteristics.
Winemaking. Enjoying a temperate climate, the vineyard’s volcanic, well draining soils are specifically suited to growing Cabernet Sauvignon and the other Bordeaux varietals which compose the Dominus Estate wines. The soil is gravelly and clay loam. Meticulous efforts are made throughout the seasons to produce grapes of the highest quality for
Dominus Estate wines.
During the winter season, precise cane pruning ensures ideal cluster spacing for optimal fruit ripening. Dry farming relies on a deep root system to take advantage of natural water sources from rain and underground supplies. Cluster thinning optimizes quality through yield regulation.
Rinsing the grapes 10 to 15 days before harvest removes dust and enhances the purity of the fruit. Hand-picking with small french shears instead of harvest knives minimizes bruising and vine damage. Small harvest baskets preserve the integrity of the clusters as they are transported to the winery. The sunny side of the vines is picked a few days before the shady side respecting perfect maturity.
Minimal intervention and restraint throughout the process of grape berry selection, fermentation and aging preserve the character of the fruit. The resulting wines convey the very personality of the vineyard. Dominus winemaking includes separate lot-by-lot fermentation. Cluster sorting by hand is complemented by an optical berry sorting system. Gentle pumping-over extracts aromas, color and tannins. Vertical wine press at low pressure delicately releases components from the skin. Racking barrel to barrel in 100% french oak removes sediment and assures clarification of the wine during aging.
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