In 1999, two top Portuguese wine companies created a joint venture to showcase the full potential of Portugal’s Douro region and to produce the best dry red wines that they could make. Jose Maria da Fonseca and Cristiano van Zeller (one of Portugal’s “Douro Boys,” a small group of acclaimed winemakers in the Douro region) formed Domini. For this review, I tasted the Domini 2007 release, which is the currently available vintage.
Domini grows its grapes on a 28-acre vineyard in the Douro Superior region of northern Portugal. This is a Denominação de Origem Controlada (D.O.C.) wine, the highest designation of quality for Portuguese wines.
Domini’s vineyard has mature vines with an average age of 20 years and well-drained soil made up mostly of schist, which is a rocky, mineral-rich soil. This combination of drainage and soil type makes the vines of Domini work exceptionally hard, which develops grapes with exceptional flavor profiles.
Domini is a blend of three famous Portuguese grapes: Touriga Franca (42 percent), Touriga Nacional (39 percent), and Tinta Roriz (19 percent). Touriga Franca is a very expressive grape that can contribute depth of flavor and floral aromas. Unfortunately, this grape doesn’t lend much color or tannins to wine, so it needs to be paired with other grapes in blends. Touriga Nacional is almost Touriga Franca’s opposite. It produces dark, inky wines with notes of bergamot and violets, and by itself, it can produce wines with high alcohol content. Tinta Roriz, perhaps better known by its Spanish name, Tempranillo, is easy-to-grow but inconsistent. At its best, Tinta Roriz produces dry wines that will age gracefully for years with notes of berries, plums, and tobacco. Blended together, these three grapes have created a wine in Domini that is greater than the sum of its parts. Rich, medium-bodied and elegant, Domini is a wine to be treasured.
This dark red wine has a bouquet redolent with notes of dark berries, freshly brewed coffee, and vanilla beans, while on the palate, soft tannins and hints of cassis, dried plum, and tonka bean appear. This is an impressive wine and one worth seeking out. Serve this with a roasted leg of lamb or grilled steaks, and your guests will swoon in delight because this wine is that good. Costing less than $15 at most wine shops, this is a great value, and you would be hard-pressed to find a better wine at this price point. Keep an eye out for Domini 2007 red table wine, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best red wine Portugal has to offer.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Domini for review. No other compensation from Domini was received.