2011 Dominus Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Savory herbs, menthol, smoke and licorice are some of the aromas that open up in the glass in the 2011 Dominus. This is a relatively immediate, expressive Dominus with plenty of near-term appeal. The style is open and succulent for the year, with lovely balance and poise. Crushed rose petals and dried herbs linger in the close. With time in the glass, the 2011 fleshes out nicely. In 2011 Dominus is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc... As always, I tasted two bottles of each wine; the first was double decanted about 18 hours in advance, the other opened shortly before the tasting. I consistently preferred the double decanted bottles, and suggest readers follow the same approach when drinking these wines young. (Antonio Galloni)
Wine & Spirits
Christian Moueix and his team at Dominus have experience with rainy vintages in Bordeaux. They also farm a site that is particularly well adapted to draining excess water. So they produced a remarkable 2011, a late vintage challenged by rain close to harvest. It’s proof that a challenge met can create something sublime—like this floral, red-raspberry-scented vintage of Dominus. It’s a tense chord of flavor incorporating green herb, tobacco, cassis and raspberry in a lasting harmony. The sophisticated structure suggests it will age with grace, while the gentleness of that structure will make it accessible along the way. A great bottle for lamb.
Wonderful aromas of tobacco, currant, berry and mineral. Ink and lead pencil. Full body, firm tannins and a fresh finish. Lovely texture and freshness. Not the amazing 2010 but excellent. Better in 2015.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright red-ruby. Riper on the nose than the Napanook bottling, offering scents of redcurrant, espresso and bitter chocolate. Sweeter in the mouth as well, showing considerably more fat and attractive floral lift to its flavors of dark berries, herbs, pepper, licorice and spices. Fine-grained and concentrated but still a bit youthfully compact, in need of at least a few years of bottle aging to absorb some of its tannins.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Dominus, which had the misfortunate to follow the virtually perfect 2010, is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc (5,000 cases produced). The late harvest began on October 15 and finished on October 24. This is an elegant Dominus with good opulence, a deep plum/garnet color, and notes of tobacco leaf, forest floor, underbrush, red and blackcurrants, plum sauce and Asian soy. Medium to full-bodied on the attack and mid-palate, it falls off slightly in the mouth (a characteristic of the 2011 vintage). It should be fully mature in another year or two, and last for 10-12 years. It is undoubtedly a success in this challenging vintage. (RP)
Smoke, dried herb, dried currant, tobacco leaf and crushed rock notes give this a strong, assertive personality that veers toward a roasted herb raciness on the finish.
From their famous Oakville estate, the attention to detail at Dominus in 2011 resulted in very successful vintage for this Napa Valley icon. The cool growing season set many California wineries into panic attacks as October rains began to threaten, but the Bordelais winemaking experience at Dominus paid off and they didn't break a sweat. Such harvests aren't uncommon at Dominus' sister winery Chateau Petrus in Pomerol. Aided by the fact that the grapes at Dominus ripen a bit earlier than other Napa Valley vineyards because of the estate's dry-farming techniques, a selective harvest of ripe and healthy grapes was made and the proof of their fine terroir is in the bottle. From the winery: "The 2011 vintage displays fresh almond, wild strawberry and cassis. The wine has delicate notes of smooth caramel. Polished tannins, dark berries, cocoa and sage accompany a long elegant finish."