Dumbfounded by Dominus

Kirkland, WA

Tasted April 7, 2007 by Eric with 1,067 views

Introduction

Sometimes wines don't just show well, but this was a tasting which, on paper, should have been outstanding. Instead, at the end of the night most tasters were scratching their head and wondering what happened? Glassware, serving temperature, provenance in most cases, were all good. Perhaps the food/wine matches were not so harmonious, but I'm personally at a loss to explain the showing of most of these wines.

Flight 1 (2 notes)

As we arrived, we poured a pair of whites and enjoyed the following starters:
Duck liver crostino with balsamico pickled peppers
Wagyu Beef Tongue and Caramelized Onion crostini
Wild Gulf Prawns with Peperoncino and Meyer Lemon ( with skewers to serve)

White - Off-dry
2001 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
AP#16. Talc and lemon peel. A bit nondescript given the vintage.
White
1998 Sine Qua Non Backward & Forward USA, California, Napa Valley
A faint nose, slightly oxidative. Palate is better, big and oil with nuts intermingled with lemony acidity.

Flight 2 (1 note)

Seared Foie Gras with Rhubarb and Candied Ginger

White - Sweet/Dessert
2001 Château Rieussec France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
The wine of the night. Thick notes of botrytis and mandarin orange. Penetrating acidity. This is pretty closed up right now and not showing the sheer precision that it had in its youth, but hooboy what a wine!

Flight 3 (4 notes)

Tagliatelle with Trippa alla Fiorentino and Pecorino

Red
1984 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
85 points
Pickle-barrel nose. Root beer, brett, spicy, forest floor. Definitely near the end of its life. Austere. Fruit is all dried up. Faint almond notes on the finish. Nose is better than the palate.
1 person found this helpful Comments (3)
Red
1989 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
81 points
Compost, underbrush and cinnamon on the nose. The palate is rather tired, actually less interesting than the 1984 on the nose. Perhaps with a little more life but overall a less interesting wine with 1 foot in the grave.
Red
1995 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
86 points
A faint nose with some cassis and a hint of tomato paste. A bit ponderous on the palate, spicy. A somewhat bitter finish.
Red
1996 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
Mmm, quite ripe, loaded with cassis. I like the structure here. Quite a firm wine although quite ripe and slightly vegetal.

Flight 4 (4 notes)

Radicchio with Balsamic and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Red
1990 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
flawed
Corked.
Red
1991 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
90 points
A very Cab Franc nose with pickle, vegetal and stalky notes. I actually rather liked it though. Hmm, some more green notes with bell pepper, and this really seemed to bug a lot of people. Later on some charcoal and tobacco emerge. Wow, the palate is big, ripe and chewy although there is a fairly dry note on the finish. Powerfully bretty. A very disappointing showing for what is usually a world class wine.
Red
1992 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
91 points
Ripe nose, caramel, resin and pine, high-pitched. Wow, this is quite young and tannic, chewy, a really deep palate with rich depth of fruit. This shows some harshness on the young, dry finish.
Red
1994 Dominus Estate Napanook Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley
89 points
Dill and chocolate on the oaky nose. Really young and horsey, lots of harsh and somewhat bitter tannins. Chocolate, meaty, leafy, very stylistically distinct. Somewhat bitter though.

Flight 5 (3 notes)

Saddle of Lamb with Anchovy Laced Potato Gratin, Lacquers Olives, Fried Rosemary and Pepperoni

Red
2001 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
84 points
A somewhat indistinct nose. Sweet palate. Not a ton of depth.
Red
2002 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
85 points
Very intense pickle barrel, not an inspiring nose at all. A rather searing palate with tart cranberry fruit. An OK wine.
Red
2003 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
80 points
Green barrel smells. Dilute. Astringent and bitter on the finish.

Flight 6 (4 notes)

Ripe Italian Cheese - Family style

Red
1997 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
92 points
Horse and leaf on the nose, mmm I like! Dark chocolate palate, smooth with nice depth and a strong hit of brett. Nice showing.
Red
1998 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
80 points
Strong brett and some heat. Lacks depth. Sour cherry. Bitter.
Red
1999 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
flawed
Vitamin pill. Rootbeer on the dark and again bitter palate. Astringent. NR as I felt this was off.
Red
2000 Dominus Estate USA, California, Napa Valley
84 points
Lots of green. Pretty good actually although a bit hot.

Flight 7 (1 note)

Parlous Chocolate Soufflé with Crème Anglaise

Red - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Pisano EtXe Oneko Beltza Likore Uruguay, Progreso
19.5% fortified. Savagely tannic. A smoky nose interplaying with raisin, rather intriguing. This hides the alcohol very well.
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