2005 Dominus Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot (note that rarely is any Merlot utilized at the historic Napanook Estate in Yountville). The alcohol, by California standards, is a relatively modest 14.1%. Blending the best of French savoir faire with the brilliant fruit purity and ripeness of Napa Valley, Moueix has turned in another tour de force that seems far superior today than it did when it was first released. This is one of the vintage's greatest wines. Dense purple and youthful, with a glorious nose of earth, blackcurrants, sweet black cherries and incense, the oak is pushed way in the background, as it is in all of the Moueix wines, and the result is a wine of terroir, of great originality and authenticity. This full-bodied classic from Dominus can be drunk now, but really won't hit its prime for another 4-5 years and last at least another two decades or more.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(a blend of 93% cabernet sauvignon, 4% cabernet franc and 3% petit verdot) Good full red-ruby. Highly complex nose melds black raspberry, minerals, milk chocolate, tobacco, licorice and brown spices. Wonderfully silky, sweet and broad; quite primary for a young Dominus vintage but with subtle earth tones adding nuance. This has plenty of high-quality tannins but the wine's buffering flesh gives it an impression of sweetness. One senses near-perfect ripeness here in the way the wine saturates the palate with flavor. Very suave and fine-grained wine that will almost certainly rank among the best half-dozen vintages of Dominus made to day. Incidentally, long-time winemaker Boris Champy has returned to his native France to make wine, and Ted Mostero, previously in charge of winemaking at Almaviva in Chile, is now in charge here. 94(+?)
A quick glance at this wine may leave the impression that it is a bit too tough and tannic and not quite as rich in fruit as it could be, but a second and third look finds it unfolding and revealing ever more richness and depth. As it opens, it shows elements of dark cherries, loam, sweet cream and touch of pencil-box spice, and its layered flavors are rife with curranty fruit that powers past its considerable tannins. As in vintages past, this latest opus from Dominus is a wine meant for keeping, and eight to ten years of cellaring seems a minimum wait.
*Cellar Selection* More balanced than the overripe 2004, the ’05 Dominus is marked by dryness and firm tannins. It’s an obvious cellar candidate. Those tannins, along with unresolved acidity, give the wine a tough, almost rustic grittiness now. But there’s an enormous core of black currants, crushed blackberries, anise and cedar that’s deep and balanced. Should develop bottle complexity over many years, perhaps as long as 15.
I appreciate the subtle complexity here. Aromas of dried herbs, currant bush, and sweet tobacco. Full bodied, with a lovely balance of fruit and spices. Very long and refined. This is open and pretty right now, no need to wait.
Wine & Spirits
This vintage produced a more feminine style than is typical of Dominus. It's bright, sweet and floral, with scents of candied violets over chocolate-rich tannins. There is a grit and detail to those tannins, but it is masked for now in youthful fruit. There's also a zest to the wine that implies it has the energy to live long into maturity.
Starts out rich, supple and polished before gaining tannic traction, letting the earthy clay, loamy currant and dried herb and sage notes show in a complex, focused fashion. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Winemaker's Notes: "Dominus 2005 is dark red, almost deep crimson in color. The nose is dense and compact, filled with dark berries, blond tobacco, black cherries and cacao. The entry is both powerful and supple, spherical in quality. Perfectly ripe, the enveloped tannins are firm, rounded and elegant. Black fruit and licorice linger throughout the evolution in mouth, well-balanced and harmonious. A superb vintage."