Dominari2002 Merlot, Gaudeamus Vineyard
(Atlas Peak ~ Napa Valley)
This is the second Merlot released from this tiny Atlas Peak producer. It has tar and mineral notes in the nose – two positive descriptors that I think are emblematic of the vineyard that sits about halfway up the mountain at the 1,700-foot level. There are also black fruit aromas, which translate to the palate as well.
The wine, made by co-owner Marie Schutz, is Right Bank Bordeaux in style in that it has high acid and is in balance. It’s meant to be consumed with a variety of foods, rather than being simply a sipper. This Merlot is not big, but there is some sweet fruit, and substantial tannins, which add up to a package that will age for about 10 years. I suggest holding onto it for two years to allow it settle in.
Schutz, who also consults for several Napa Valley wineries, sourced the fruit for this wine from her own Gaudeamus Vineyard. The parcel has an eastern exposure and the soils are clay, loam, and pumice, which is noteworthy because it’s not as rocky as other areas of Atlas Peak.
The wine was fermented for two years in French barrels that were half new and half 2 years old. The listed alcohol is 14.5 percent and there were only 250 cases produced.
Reviewed March 12, 2007 by Alan Goldfarb.
Other reviewed wines from Dominari
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Atlas Peak ~ Napa Valley)Alan Goldfarb 9/12/2006
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.