Monday, May 10, 2010

A Wine Journey: 1987 Dominus

Robert S., and Allison, members of faculty and administrative management, respectively, of a local university, and, in the case of Robert, a member in good standing of the Antonio's Tasting Group, are moving to another state in furtherance of Allison's career.  As a part of our send-off activities, a few of us got together with them for dinner at the home of Fred W., and Laurie L.

This was an occasion that merited a Wine of the Decade: a few showed up, including the 1987 Dominus, the 2001 Dominus (again), and the 1990 Dom Perignon (white, 750 ml).  This post covers the tasting of the 1987 Dominus.

Details of the Dominus Estate pedigree and winemaking philosophy and process have been covered in a previous post but a look at the label of the 1987 vintage provides new factual details.  The 1987 was the fifth vintage produced by the John Daniel Society, the name of the partnership between Christain Mouiex, Robin Lail, and Marcia Smith.  Second, the vintage has the pre-Bordeaux-style label with a non-dominant portrait of Moueix done by the Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha.

The tasting of the Dominus followed a wonderful "six-course" meal comprised of a jambalaya as a starter, followed by a gazpacho-style, apple-citrus soup, salad, planked salmon, grilled steak and a sherbert for dessert.  Many bottles of wine were consumed prior to, during, and after the dinner.  The 1987 was one of the post-dinner bottles.

The bottle was decanted by "I-need-a-light-source" HlyTerroir. Upon visual inspection, the wine had excellent color with hints of orange at the edges.  The legs were thin and evenly spaced and flowed relatively quickly back to the surface of the wine.  A perusal of the label for information on alcohol content is unrewarded but a  quick search online reveals that it is 12.9%; almost a teetotaler by the standards of today's Napa Cabernets.  That same online search also revealed that the wine is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot and that said blend spent 14 months in French oak of which 25% was new.

On the nose the wine presents cigarbox, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, mocha, espresso, spearmint, and eucalyptus.  On the palate there is a muted green note, cassis and a pleasant old cigar.  The late-arriving wood tannins are well integrated into this smooth and very-well-balanced wine.

Robert and Allison, you will be missed but you are permanently seared into our memories, and our senses, through this capstone dinner and the meritorious performance of the 1987 Dominus as a wine of the decade.

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