97 pts Wine Advocate Issue #247 Feb 2020
2016 was one of the most unusual vintages in Chile in recent times, as it was much colder than usual and rained a lot. The 2016 Domus Aurea, one of the most classical among the Cabernets from Maipo, contains 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot that were harvested early-ish, before the big rains. After a cold soak that lasted around 12 days, the grapes started fermenting spontaneously in stainless steel. Part of the wine underwent malolactic in tanks and part in barrel. The élevage was in French oak barrels, 53% of them new, and lasted 16 to 18 months. This is radically different from the 2015 I tasted next to it: 2015 was warm and dry, while 2016 cold and wet, and the wines show it. I love this 2016, a subtler wine that is more introverted, shy and serious but with a level of complexity and depth, refinement and nuance I have not seen in any previous vintages. It’s the most elegant Domus to date, with a level of precision that is not easy to achieve. While it keeps the classical Domus style and the Maipo character, it’s a lot subtler, fresh and balanced. Curiously enough, this is the only year the blend has had more than 8% Cabernet Franc, and winemaker Jean-Pascal Lacaze thinks Cabernet Franc (which was better than ever in 2016) has contributed enormously to the nuance and elegance here. Bravo! Well done!