Opus One 2012 released this week at £895 per case of six bottles, heralding from the exceptional 2012 vintage. As we scraped together as many cases as we could to fulfil demand we also came across a parcel of incredibly priced Dominus 2004, which got us thinking. Opus One produces 25,000 cases a year; in 2004 Dominus made 5,500. 2012 is a truly magnificent year, yet 2004 is very good in its own right, a cool spring giving way to an unusually hot summer and an early harvest. It is not a surprise therefore, 2004 Dominus has been awarded 97 points by Robert Parker, yet what is surprising is the price!
The average UK market price for this vintage is £650, as such our offer today represents a 10% reduction, giving it the lowest Price over Points Ratio (POP) of any Dominus vintage. However, what really stands out is that Dominus 2004 is now within its drinking window and is extremely cheap in terms of top Californian wines. Furthermore, it does not require a decade’s storage charges before aging, and is half the price of the equally scoring 1994. That said, the quality of the 2004 means it will continue improving for five to ten years. The vintage comparison below tells the story for itself:
Dominus Estate represents the synthesis of Bordeaux and Napa Valley winemaking; owned by Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus. It is located in Yountville, Napa Valley and is famed for producing Napa Valley’s greatest French style Bordeaux blend, Dominus. Its close ties to Petrus would make one think it would be more expensive than Opus One and many of the other big Napa names, however the value proposition is superb.
Christian the son of the late eminent winemaker and pioneer Jean-Pierre Moueix, whose company J.P Mouiex owns Petrus, La Fleur-Petrus and Trotanoy, first fell in love with Napa wines in the late 1960s when he was attending the University of California at Davis. After completing his studies Christian returned to work with his father. Under Christian’s tenure J.P. Mouiex introduced a number of revolutionary techniques at their estates including, in the early 70s, crop thinning. However, Napa Valley and its wines lingered in his mind and in 1981 he was introduced on the recommendation of Robert Mondavi to a 124 acre site west of Yountville. This site, named Napanook, had been famed during the 1940s and 50s for producing some of the best fruit in the Napa Valley.
Under Christian’s tenure Dominus Estate has greatly benefited from the world’s leading winemakers and consultants, including Philippe Melka, previously of Haut Brion and Cheval Blanc. The wines adapt the French technical approach to Californian conditions, focusing on grape growing, dry-farming which relies on a deep root system to take advantage of natural water, resulting in the healthiest possible grapes. They advance a minimalist approach to ensure their wines are elegant, complex and long-lived.
Dominus 2004, 6×75- £595 IB or £728.76 including duty and VAT
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate – 97 Points
Like so many 2004s, the 2004 Dominus is a full-bodied wine showing brilliantly at age ten, with loads of complex cedar, kirsch, Christmas fruitcake, black currants and spice box. It has a creamy, opulent texture, but remains light on its feet. This sexy wine is showing exceptionally well and is best drunk over the next 10-15 years. Not one of the longest-lived wines from Dominus, but it is certainly at a wonderful point in its evolution right now.
This beautiful historic vineyard in Yountville produced 5,500 cases of Dominus from a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. Increasingly, it is rare to find any Merlot being used in Dominus. Proprietor Christian Moueix said that the 2004 harvest stood out because of the extraordinary heat during the first several weeks of September. The harvest was one of the earliest ever – starting at the end of August and finishing before the end of September.
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