Friday, December 1, 2023 - 07:30 PM

This Event has been read: 36 times.

"Wine improves with age- I like it more the older I get." Anonymous

The older I get the better the wines tastings seem to get as I have accelerated my theme of “Drink the Good Stuff First” and with the amount of KILLER bottles here at Wine Watch I will have to live another 20 years to drink them all.  Hopefully we do not sell them first as my main goal is to drink the best and most sought-after wines at our wine tasting events at the Wine Bar.


Join me for an experiment with one of Napa Valleys greatest producers that will take us back to the 1987 vintage.  We will have 11 vintages of Dunn Howell Mountain along with a special meal to accompany the tasting wines.  The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $425 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.   



Friday, December 1st, 2023
7:30 PM

2007 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
2006 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
2004 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
2003 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
2001 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
2000 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
1998 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
1990 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
1994 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
1986 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
1987 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa

Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Harpke Farms Micro Greens, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Drizzle
Duck and Smoked Mozzarella Ravioli with Sundried Tomato Browned Butter and Fresh Basil
Turkey Meat Loaf with Cabernet Reduction and Sauteed Wild Mushrooms
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Rum Caramel Sauce and Fresh Berries

The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $425+ tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.  Please let us know when you make your reservations if you have any food allergies and chefs Toni and Dani will be happy to accommodate you.

In many summer days the Napa Valley is filled with a dense blanket of morning fog that floats north from San Francisco Bay.  On an early morning drive up Howell Mountain - which is east of St. Helena and forms the eastern ridge of the Napa Valley - one breaks through this fog at the 1400 foot level, where crystal blue sky and sunshine burst into view.  One must climb another 800 feet to reach Dunn Vineyards, site of an old stagecoach stop in a long by-gone era.  Nothing comes easy on Howell Mountain; the vines struggle to survive on this rugged outpost and are quite scrawny compared to those grown on the lush Napa Valley floor.  As a result the Zinfandels and Cabernets grown on the mountain are not the types of wine one would characterize as elegant or delicate.  The yield per acre is much smaller than elsewhere in the Napa Valley; but what the vineyards lack in tonnage, they make up for in intensity and concentration.

Randy Dunn and his wife began looking for a piece of property "way out from nowhere" back in the seventies.  They moved into a rustic old home with a spacious wine cellar below the house and a six-acre vineyard attached.  The wine cellar would serve as quarters for Randy to produce his wines.  Dunn Vineyards is a family affair with wife Lori and the kids all pitching in to help when necessary.  The winery is not one of those big glamorous estates nor the country retreat of some wealthy executive who switched careers in mid-life to make wine.  Rather, it is one of those mountaintop primitives (quite similar to some of California's other great estates like Ridge, Chalone & Mt. Eden).   Dunn says a typical day at the winery resembles more an episode of "Little House on the Prairie" than the popular image of the idyllic life of the vineyardist and winemaker in shows like "Falcon Crest".  Although the lifestyle Randy and his family lead may be rather simple, the wines he makes are quite complex.  Randy Dunn has California's best track record for Cabernet, for in addition to his own wines, Randy has consulted for a number of other successful Cabernet producers like La Jota and Livingston.  However, Dunn's star was fixed in the firmament at Caymus Vineyards, for he was the winemaker there from 1975 to 1985.  Many critics - including us - presently rate Caymus as California's number one producer of Cabernet Sauvignon; and the Caymus "Special Selection" Cabernets always score impressively when matched against the very best wines of every vintage.

Randy Dunn made his first Dunn Cabernet from the 1979 vintage; about 800 cases of that wine were produced.  (When the winery's vineyards have fully matured, production will peak at 4000 cases.)  However, it was not until the 1982 vintage that Dunn's wines really caught the fancy of critics and connoisseurs.  That was also the first year that Dunn released two Cabernets - one from his "Howell Mountain" vineyard (it was blended with grapes from two other Howell Mountain vineyards as well) and one from purchased grapes in the Napa Valley.  Both Cabernets received rave reviews, and Dunn Vineyards became an overnight sensation.  Winelovers scoured retail shelves looking for the 1982 Dunn "Howell Mountain" bottling, a wine that is now generally regarded as the "wine of the vintage."  The 1983 "Howell Mountain" was another big winner (though not as good as the 1982).  Both of Dunn's 1984's are stunning accomplishments and are at the very top of the best Cabernet vintage in ten years.  The "Napa" bottling (primarily from grapes grown in Groth's vineyards) impresses with its solid core of bright fruit, but this "Howell Mountain" is an extraordinary achievement.  We tasted it in the company of some of the best wines of the '84 vintage (Spottswoode, Ridge "Montebello", Dominus, etc.) and picked it first in a tasting conducted by THE WINE NEWS in April of 1988.  With some airing the nose reveals gobs of raspberry and blackberry fruit tones that meld with lots of vanillan oak.  On the palate this wine is big, rich, very concentrated, and very tannic (should you choose to consume it early, we recommend a half day of breathing).  Although this wine is quite intense and tight - reflecting its mountain heritage - it also has the ripe fruit we associate with the leading wines from the Napa Valley floor.  After twenty years making wine Randy Dunn is still at the top of his game making extraordinary wine and one of the best Cabernets we have ever tasted from California.  

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