Boston Wine Expo 2003
Dominus Vertical: 1996 & 1997



An interesting comment about red wines meant for aging is that they do not progress evenly from their in-bottle state through to their perfect drinking time. Instead, they may taste wonderfully open for a few months, then close down again for months to years. Knowing when they will open back up and be perfect for tasting is an art form that even the winemakers do not fully understand.


The glasses for the tasting

1996


This wine has been very closed since the beginning, and the wine critics were not friendly with its potential. Now that it's been given a few years, it consistently beats the 1994 at tastings. "We still have a lot to learn," pointed out Edouard. Learning in California in 1996 was a treat, though. "We really are spoiled to be there," he said, saying that while 1996 was a summer of sun in California, there was hardly any sun at all in Bordeaux.

They used less new oak for this vintage, as there were enough natural tannins in the fruit. One thing they learned in this year was that when teh vines got too hot, they shut down maturation. In contract, the cool Californian nights allowed the vines to start up and grow again. "These conditions are almost ideal," Edouard explained. The result is a wine which is still a baby in a way, a jammy, thick rich wine which "rolls on your tongue rather than flowing on your tongue."

Edouard told us how someone was tasting vats at another winery, and commented, "I didn't know you got grapes from NapaNook." Sure enough, the vats were from the NapaNook vineyard. The taster had picked out the distinctive chocolate and tobacco leaf flavor.


Edouard Moueix Samples his Wine

1997


This winter had lots of rain, and then turned very dry. This appeared to be perfect for the vines - "The soil gave little by little water to the vine all yare long." There was huge production on the vine, and they had to crop the grapes heavily. Cropping is where they pull extra grapes off the vine, so that the remaining ones can ripen fully.

Edouard told us a story of his father working at Petrus in 1973. The grapes were the size of prunes and his father knew he had to get rid of some of the extra grapes in order for the wine to be of good quality. At the time, it was blasphemy to consider ripping perfectly healthy grapes from the vine, so he had to sneak out at night and bring the bins back in with him, so he would not be seen by his neighbors. In church that sunday, the priest chose to scold "those who drop the fruit on teh vine that God gave us" and Edouard's father slunk down in his pew, knowing that he was guilty.

The 1997 vintage needs another 5 years of aging, but has a good structure, with cigar smoke and ripe fruit flavors, plus a spicy thread. Edouard called it "impressive and elegant, even though I know that impressive and elegant don't usually go together." In talking about the finish, he added, "people call it mintiness. I don't agree with that. It's the Californian forest smell - the one you first smell when you drive into northern California, and it doesn't leave you until you hop on that plane back East."

Edouard stopped here to talk a bit about how Dominus has changed over the years. "We've been there only for 20 years, which is short in the life of a vineyard. Our style has radically changed, but it's because we better understand our vineyard ... the evoluation and life of the vine. Th style of the consumer has changed, too. They go for fruity wines rather than complex wines. We keep the same identity but go for more fruit."

Main Page for Boston Expo 2003
First Stop - Fratelli Castino Gavi
Next, the Verdicchio
The Lugana of Fratelli Fraccoroli
The Verdicchios of Verdoni
Dominus Vertical: 1994 & 1995
Dominus Vertical: 1996 & 1997
Dominus Vertical: 1998 & 1999
Ending with Prosecco



All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.