Dominus Napa Valley Red 2002
|Region||California, Napa Valley|
Dominus is a large vineyard, and they have the ability to make a strict selection. The 2002 Dominus gets my nod as the greatest example of this cuvee since the 1991 and 1994. There are 4,500 cases of this 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Merlot blend fashioned from minuscule yields ranging from 1.8 to 2.8 tons of fruit per acre. Christian Moueix told me that the phenolic material was higher analytically in 2002, as were the acids, which surprised everyone. The deep, saturated purple-colored 2002 boasts an extraordinary perfume of roasted coffee intermixed with black currants, cherries, cocoa, cedar, cigar smoke, and new saddle leather. A classic, full-bodied palate possesses great structure, tremendous depth, loads of tannin, and a multilayered, concentrated yet elegant finish. It is difficult to predict when this beauty will plateau in terms of maturity. My best guess is it needs 3-5 years of bottle age, and should last for 25 years.
On the border between cool and warm Napa, Dominus really needs a good vintage to shine. It was stellar in 2001, less so this year. The wine is elegant, displaying finesse, balance and taste, yet it's not a blockbuster. Still, so poised is it that you find yourself reaching for a second, or third, glass. Drink now.
Fresh aromas of ripe currant, wild berry, floral scents and spice carry over nicely to the palate, where the flavors turn supple and firm, with just the right touch of tannins. Not a great Dominus, and this was the best of three bottles. Drink now through 2010. 5,000 cases made.