1997 Dominus "Napanook Vineyard" Napa Valley Proprietary Red
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good deep red. Very ripe aromas of plum, redcurrant, black cherry and menthol, plus distinctly grilled notes of tobacco, hot stones and roasted nuts. Sweet entry, then densely packed and shapely, with good purity of red fruit flavor thanks to the high cabernet franc content. Rather seriously structured for a second wine. Finishes with dusty, slightly drying tannins. A lot of California cabernet for the price.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1997 Napanook Proprietary Red Wine (a 7,000 case blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 17% Merlot) shows even better from bottle than it did from cask. The color is dark ruby with purple nuances. A sweet, open-knit nose offering aromas of tobacco, cedar, blackberry and cherry jam is followed by an opulently-textured, succulent, rich, fleshy, user-friendly, delicious wine. Undeniably hedonistic, it caresses the palate. Already delicious, it will age nicely for a decade.
Aromas almost of blackberry syrup, with herb, toast and earthy, even barnyardy accents open this rich yet tart cherry-chocolate wine. Smooth and unevolved, with chocolate and orange-peel notes on the austere finish. It’s the baby brother of Dominus, offering a look at the style of the estate without the price tag of the flagship offering.