Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1994
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The 1994 appeared opaque in the glass with a blackish ruby core fading to a garnet rim. Tears showed slight staining and a medium viscosity. The nose offered indications of some development with layer upon layer of slightly stewed blackberry and dry raisins & figs covering hints of soy, tea, saddle leather and boot polish aromas. Suggestions of dry red soil, powdered spices and coffee & cocoa bordered the complex nose. The wine tasted dry, with restrained primary characteristics of blueberry and blackcurrants, Chartreuse liqueur and fresh peppercorns, and secondary characters of cedar and sweet cigar smoke. Tannins were tough and suggest time to resolve themselves, and it seems that the enormity of the structure will enable the wine to improve with a further decade or so of cellaring. Fairly high acidity gives the wine youthful vibrancy and helps lift the aromatics. The finish was complex long and firm. Cellar for further 5 + years to help soften tough tannins.
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "A wine that takes over all the senses, Dunn's 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. New leather, smoke and spices are some of the many notes that develop in the glass, adding complexity and character. This is an especially powerful, brooding vintage for the Howell Mountain. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. The 1994 is rich, broad, ample and incredibly expressive today. What a wine."
The Wine Advocate - "The 1994s might be ready to drink within 10-15 years. It is hard to believe these wines spend 30 months in oak casks before bottling as they are incredibly unevolved and backward when released. Look out for the behemoth 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain. This black/purple-colored wine adds a few more nuances (minerals, licorice, and floral scents) to the lavish display of creme de cassis. Full-bodied, with a blockbuster level of extract and density, this is an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon for readers with patience, good genes for longevity, or the foresight to purchase it for their children."
Wine Spectator - "Dark-hued, with wild, racy, gamy, meaty and savory aromas, this is a still a dense, potent, deeply concentrated and firmly tannic youngster, with loads of mineral, sage, currant and blackberry flavors. The tannins are still intense, so decanting is advised.--California Cabernet '74/'84/'94 retrospective. Drink now through 2010."
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High atop Howell Mountain, nestled among 150-year-old fir trees, is Dunn Vineyards. Since 1979 the Dunn's have been producing Cabernet Sauvignon. Their total production is now at 4500 cases, split between the Howell Mountain and Napa Valley appellations. View all Dunn Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.