Vintage : 2009
Region : Yountville, Napa Valley
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The 2009 Dominus is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.
Deep garnet colored, it rolls easily, sensuously out of the glass with evolving fruit notes of baked blackcurrants, plum preserves, mulberries and fruitcake
plus underlying suggestions of charcuterie, camphor, chocolate-covered cherries and candied violets with just a touch of cast iron pan.
Medium to full-bodied, the palate is an exercise in balance, with loads of emerging black fruit and earthy layers and
a solid line of finely grained tannins, finishing very long with a perfumed lift.
The 2009 Dominus saw about 40% new oak compared to the 20% for Napanook. A seamless classic, it offers a symphony of red and black currants, Asian plum sauce, lavender, and underbrush. Sweet Christmas fruitcake characteristics emerge from this magnificent Dominus that finished at 14.5% natural alcohol (slightly higher than usual). The seamless integration of acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol, the brilliant length and overall compelling complexity and richness make it one of the great classics from this historic estate. It should drink well for 20-25 years. Looking at the harvest dates for the 2009 through 2012 Napanook and Dominus reveals that none of these were early, very warm years, such as 2013 is promising to be in northern California. For example, in 2009 the harvest took place between October 5 and 12; 2010 between October 4 and 23; 2011 between October 15 and 24; and 2012 between October 9 and 21. Production has remained steady because the estate crop-thins as much as 50% of the harvest to ensure bunch regularity, even ripening and reasonable yields. The second wine, Napanook, tends to come in around 3,000 cases per year, and Dominus around 5,000 cases per year. I was joking with Christian Moueix when I visited the winery and I told him I am one of the geezers old enough to remember his first vintage of 1983, which was tasted at the Rombauer Cellars until he moved to what appears to be an old bank building in downtown St. Helena, after which they constructed a spectacular winery in Yountville that resembles an extension of their historic terroir. Another great vintage, the 2012s have slightly lower alcohols than the 2009s and 2010s, which surprised me given the exuberant nature of this vintage and its boisterous fruit and glycerin. I was shocked to realize that 2013 will mark over thirty vintages for Christian Moueix and Dominus, not to mention my visits each year. How time flies!