California, Napa Valley USA
California is divided in several regions; North Coast, Napa county, Sonoma county, Mendocino county, Lake county. North Central Coast, Monterey county, Santa Clara county, Livermore county. South Central Coast, San Luis Obispo county, Santa Barbara county. San Joaquin Valley, known for jug wine, a little bit the old Languedoc style of wine, which were low cost easy drinking wines, of course today Languedoc wines have become very sophisticated and crafted.
Californian wines dominates American wine consumption, equaling 65% of all sales in the USA. There are more then ,60,000 wine labels alone are registered in California. In 1970 there were 240 wineries, in 2010 2,347 wineries. There are more then 214,888 hectares of vine planted in California of which 18,274 hectares in Napa. in 1970 Napa had 27 wineries, in 2010 it counted 400 wineries. The first grape planted in Napa was in 1838.
Top grape planted in Napa.
1. Cabernet Sauvignon 7,372 hectares
2. Merlot 2,522 hectares
3. Chardonnay 2,709 hectares
Less than 10% of wines comes from Napa valley and Sonoma. The bulk of Californian wines comes from San Joaquin valley where mostly jug wines are produced. This region counts for 58% of the wine grapes planted.
Viticultural zones A.V.A in Napa, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley District, Diamond Mountain, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, Oakville, Rutherford, St Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stag Leap District, Wild Horse Valley, Yountville.
Dominus Estate 2001, Napa Valley
Dominus grew out of love for Napa valley by Christian Moueix, when he came to California in 1960 attending the University of California. Christian returned in the 70's to manage the estates the family was holding and still do, and not just any estate, the infamous Chateau Petrus, La Fleur Petrus, Trotanoy (also called the little brother of Petrus, one of my favourite wines) and Magdelaine(now gone and merged into Belair Monange 1er Grand Cru Classe B Saint Emilion). In 1981 he discovered the Napanook vineyard, he started in partnership but in 1995 he became sole owner of the estate named Dominus or Lord of the estate to underscore his long standing commitment to the land and region. 41 hectares of vines counts the estate, grapes planted are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot. A gravely and clay loam soil provides with clear and precise identity of the wines, climate is warm dry summers, tempered by cool breezes from the San Pablo Bay, cold wet winters, with mid-valley location it provides with moderate temperatures.
Price: €199 £155 $220
Grapes: 81%Cabernet-Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 5%Cabernet Franc 10% Petit Verdot
Drinking window: 2011-2036
Visual: Warm dark ruby red colour, shining class and craftsmanship, legs are smooth but heavy, a good brilliance and excellent transparency. A wine with great composure and posture. Stands out from the crowd without a shred of a doubt.
Nose: Dark and red fruits explode on the nose, blackcurrant, black berries, dark cherries, followed with smooth chocolate and spices, with layers of coffee floating amongst, giving you plenty and complexity. A swirl of elements that come and go, giving you the indication of purity and style, a wine that leads the way to the top. Opulent and intense making no mistake of the class in the glass.
Palate: A burst of black fruits followed by spices, the tannins are getting rounder but still well present indicating that this wine is going the distance, the roundness and balance between aromas and acidity is just great and directing to a finish just perfect. a lingering to dream of. With touches of chocolate and spices keeping your senses tantalizing.
Conclusion: Although that this wine isn't coming cheap it is an absolute blast and a sure hitter to the top of the pile in what is called "amongst the best wines in the world". It is one in a lifetime moment if you can afford it and make sure you don't drink it all alone, this need to be shared as the experience and the moments are just priceless.
Score: I rate this wine 19.8/20 98/100 (rated as an exceptional wine)
18-18.9 very good wine
17-17.9 good wine
16-16.9 fair wine
15-15.9 drinkable wine
14-14.9 acceptable wine