Dominus Estate 1996
As with all Dominus wines, we recommend decanting this wine prior to serving, to allow it to develop its full potential.
The 1996 Dominus, a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot, tips the scales at 14.2% alcohol. Although this offering lacks the power, intensity, and compelling characteristics of the 1991 and 1994, it is not far off the pace of those two monumental wines. A super nose of roasted coffee, chocolate, dried herbs, black fruits and kirsch is both intense and persuasive. The wine displays terrific richness, medium to full body, low acidity, a succulent, opulent texture, and superb purity. This beautifully made 1996 is one of the few wines that has successfully tamed the vintage's elevated tannin level. It should be relatively drinkable upon its release, yet evolve nicely for two decades. Impressive!
Really impressed how balanced and refined the wine is. The texture is so silky and beautiful, and the fruit pure, even more satisfying. Perfect to drink now.
Full, saturated red-ruby. Dusty black cherry, plum, game, woodsmoke, herbs and a suggestion of leafy cabernet franc on the nose. Thick and lush in the mouth, with the extravagant sweetness of the best '96s. This has good structure and grip, but there plenty of deep fruit to buffer the substantial tannins. This wine and the '97 were both vinified by David Ramey before he moved on to Rudd Estate.
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His love of Napa Valley lingered and in 1981, he discovered the historic Napanook vineyard, a... View More
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration...
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.