Randy Dunn was the winemaker at CAYMUS from 1975 to 1982 and helped establish that winery's reputation as a producer of premium red wines. In the late 1970s he reestablished a vineyard on HOWELL MOUNTAIN and began to make his own CABERNET SAUVIGNON wines. His first release was a 1979 VINTAGE, and in 1982 he left Caymus to devote his energies to Dunn Vineyards. The Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from 10 acres (five belonging to Randy Dunn and five to his neighbor) on its namesake mountain. In 1982 Dunn added a NAPA VALLEY Cabernet Sauvignon made from grapes purchased from John Caldwell's vineyard. Today, Dunn Vineyards annually produces about 5,000 cases of highly esteemed red wine. Dunn bought a nearby 47-acre parcel (the old Park-Muscadine vineyard) in 1991. He currently sells the ZINFANDEL and PETITE SIRAH grapes from the 15 acres that are planted there, but plans to eventually convert the land into a Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.
Dunn Vineyard 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
The first vintage of Howell Mountain...my notes began: 'That is what I'm talking about.' Ripe nose of plums, cassis, and black olives...full of complexity and nuances.
Dunn Vineyard 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
Got no nose - where's the fruit? Despite that fact, I definitely dug the palate...fullest flavored finish of them all - soy, sawdust and cedar - would be a fun ringer in an '82 Bordeaux tasting.
Dunn Vineyard 1984 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
Slight pinch of must from the cork...big yet integrated...nice spice, good balance.
Dunn Vineyard 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
A more pungent, sappy style - very aromatic...wild cherry leaps off the palate - silky smooth.
Dunn Vineyard 1986 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
This was served out of magnum, and took the title of the most tannic away from the 1990 - definitely the magnum factor ...still round...great black fruit aromas and flavors.
Dunn Vineyard 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
Classic cedar...lighter feel in the nose though...black olives in the mix...still a touch of spice and heat - impressive body balance and purity.
Dunn Vineyard 1990 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
Very meaty...round and rich...nice but soft...you can see the trend of the wines perhaps showing more softly than they would, had we stuck to the normal procedure of decanting and serving 30-60 minutes before tasting.
Dunn Vineyard 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
The most tannic of the evening so far - until the 1990...a perfect marriage of cedar and cassis but on the shy side...the hottest wine as far as alcohol - not too much but definitely noticeable.