dominus, napa valley 2017
A blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, this classically structured red is luxurious in aromas of dried herb, cedar and clove. The palate balances rich fruit and dense oak with underlying freshness and longevity. The tannins are grippy yet seamless, and beginning to smooth out. Best from 2027–2037
The grand vin is the 2017 Dominus, which is based on 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, harvested between September 21 and October 3, and aged in 40% new French oak. Chateau Lafite-like notes of blackcurrants, lead pencil shavings, cedary tobacco, and gravelly earth all emerge from the glass, and it's full-bodied, has a terrific sense of elegance, lots of tannins, and a great finish. This tight, powerful, concentrated Dominus will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 25 years or more. 2017 doesn't get much better.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
There was about 50% of a normal crop this year for the 2017 Dominus, due to strict selection. Grapes were harvested from September 21 to October 3 and the wine was bottled in June 2019. This year the blend is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, aged in 40% new French oak barrels. Very deep purple-black in color, it sashays nonchalantly out of the glass with graceful notions of potpourri, forest floor, crushed rocks, Ceylon tea and licorice with a core of black currant cordial, chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries and preserved plums plus a waft of garrigue. Full-bodied, the palate has a beautifully impactful, wonderfully quiet intensity of black and blue fruits with loads of floral and spicy sparks, framed by firm yet plush tannins, finishing with long-lasting earthy notes.
This delivers a focused and refined core of cassis, damson plum and raspberry puree notes, laced with precise savory, sage and black tea threads. Shows lovely detail throughout, with a late iron minerality emerging slowly. Stylish, this seems approachable now, but there's some serious embedded grip here too. A wine that should expand with cellaring. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2022 through 2040.