This 2002 was virtually perfect when I tasted it in early May. Even better than I predicted seven years ago, this 4,500-case blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Merlot has blossomed beautifully, revealing even greater intensity and potential than I predicted. A flawless, seamless integration of tannin, wood, alcohol and acidity is found in this dense, plum/purple-colored Dominus, along with copious notes of sweet black currants interwoven with kirsch, forest floor, unsmoked cigar tobacco, new saddle leather and forest floor. Full-bodied with velvety tannins, stunning elegance and a 45-second finish, this sensational 2002 rivals two of the all-time great wines made at Dominus, 1991 and 1994. It is hard to believe that proprietor Christian Moueix’s Dominus Estate has already celebrated its 25th anniversary and is moving toward 30 years with the 2012-2013 vintages. The 2002 will drink well for another 20 years.
A great vintage of Dominus, this wine combines staying power with tremendous elegance on release. Christian Moueix has farmed John Daniel's classic vineyard since 1983; he now works with Boris Champy to make this wine. If you can procure a case, the complex red fruit scents and satin pleasure of the texture make it well worth opening a bottle now. Plan to drink most of it between 2010 and 2014, when the earthy tannins will have fully matured, adding more complexity to that voluptuous texture. Then save a few bottles to see whether this or the '01 will age best.
"When I first looked at this soil thirty years ago with my friend Daniel Baron, I thought it was the best soil I had seen in California. I had such a special feeling for the soil and location. It had a sense of history, something very rare in California."
- Christian Moueix, Proprietor
In the late 1960’s, while attending the University of California at Davis, Christian Moueix fell in love with the Napa Valley and its wines. Son of Jean-Pierre Moueix, the famed wine merchant and producer from Libourne, France, Moueix returned home in 1970 to manage the family vineyards, including Chateaux Petrus, La Fleur-Petrus, Trotanoy in Pomerol and Magdelaine in Saint Emilion.
His love of Napa Valley lingered and, in 1981, he discovered the historic NapaNook Vineyard, a 124-acre site west of Yountville that had been the source of fruit for some of the finest Napa Valley wines of the 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1982, Mouix entered into a partnership to develop the vineyard and, in 1995, became its sole owner. He chose the name ‘Dominus’ or ‘Lord of the Estate’ in Latin to underscore his longstanding commitment to stewardship of the land.
One of the most respected wine producers in the world, Christian Moueix is on a personal quest for perfection in grapegrowing and winemaking. It is a journey that began in Bordeaux and continues today at Dominus Estate, where he has instilled his philosophy and inspired his team to share his values. To walk the vineyard with Christian is to witness a commitment to the land, a strong sense of purpose and the modest soul of a man of the vines.
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