Robert M. Parker, eRobertParker. 99 pts
Flirting with perfection, the 2012 Dominus is composed of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Five thousand cases were produced, a relatively modest amount from this large vineyard’s big crop. Christian Moueix told me that there was plenty of heat in 2012, but there were no excessive hot spells that can plague Napa Valley vintners during the growing season and harvest. This wine’s opaque plum/purple color is accompanied by a beautiful nose of sweet crème de cassis, a touch of background oak (only 40% new oak is used), spice box, cedarwood, black cherries and a hint of spring flowers. The complex, intense aromatics are followed by a deep, opulent, multidimensional, full-bodied wine with not a hard edge to be found. Everything is seamlessly crafted in this beauty and the vintage’s abundant richness is well-displayed. This 2012 can be drunk in its exuberant youthfulness or cellared for another 20-25 years.
The California outpost of Pomerol and St.-Emilion’s famed proprietor, Christian Moueix has been working at this iconic vineyard, Yountville’s Napanook, for over twenty years. Many decades ago this was the origin of some of the great Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignons.
The 2012 and 2013 vintages were two of the greatest for Christian Moueix at Dominus in his long and distinguished career. Think of these as more modern day versions of the 1991 and 1994, two extraordinary early vintages at Dominus. Christian Moueix considers 2013 to be the greatest vintage of his illustrious career. Production was tiny for this estate, with only 2,000 cases of the 2013 Napanook produced and 3,500 cases of Dominus. The harvest was extremely early, beginning on September 10 and finishing on September 26. Analytically, the 2013s have the highest levels of extract and tannins ever measured at this estate. Fermentations were easy, and lasted three weeks.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media. 98 pts
" The 2012 Dominus is a real head-turner. Flashy, voluptuous and intense, but with tons of underlying concentration, the 2012 is simply magnificent. A towering, vertical Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2012 Dominus is one of the most concentrated wines of the vintage, yet it also maintains considerable freshness, the signature of a late-ripening vintage with no heat spikes. Sweet red cherry, raspberry and floral notes add lift on the perfumed, expressive finish. The blend is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc."
Stephen Tanzer, Vinous Media. 92-95 pts
Bright ruby-red. The nose combines a chocolatey ripeness and a medicinal reserve, offering scents of currant, licorice, flowers, spices and herbs. Dense, voluminous and harmonious; fully ripe but classically dry. This wonderfully horizontal wine finishes with serious plush tannins and really echoes and lingers on the aftertaste. Superb potential. Much more Old World than California in style.