1999 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • USA
  • California
  • Napa Valley
  • Howell Mountain

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Community Tasting Note

  • chablis28 wrote: 96 points

    January 4, 2020 - To have a great experience with a particular wine you need a few major elements; proper btl age for that wine, and too often slighted - the right amount of air / decant and finally whenever possible, a prefect pairing. We had that tonight with this '99 Dunn HM! I opened this 4 hours before leaving for Capital Grill. Finding it a little closed I decanted immediately removing 1/2 a shot glass of sludge in the process. My high neck fill became a high shoulder fill:). Left it in the decanter for 2-1/2 hours and back in the btl with cork still out. Upon arrival at CG I removed the cork and took a test pour. Deep ruby with slight ambering on the edges. Nose awesome, palate lovely! We started drinking in earnest about 45 minutes later with the best restaurant steaks I've had, bar none. The Dunn was singing! Major cigar box & light cedar on the nose. The palate was fresh & lively with a cornucopia of intense Left Bank BDX flavors; dark raspberry, dark chocolate, tobacco leaf, cedar, graphite and mineral. I didn't note the Alc but someone else on CT states 13.3%. Ah, the good old days before too many CA Cabs became ports. I regret never buying Dunn on release as the HM along with Ridge MB & old Mondavi Reserves have become some of my favorite Cabs, bar none. Picked this pristine, perfectly aged btl up this past summer. What a find and what a killer pairing with steak! 96pts+

    5 people found this helpful 1,437 views


  • oldwines commented:

    1/5/20, 9:33 AM - Thanks for the detailed and helpful note...I Totally agree with you on the “classic Cali Cabs”! I also think 1999 is a vastly under-appreciated vintage. It was an old-style vintage but by that time Parker, et al were giving perfect scores to the over-ripe, over-extracted “bombs” and the vintage wasn’t ripe enough for them. Try 1999 Dominus, for example, I tasted blind with Christian Mouiex’s son Edouard, a vertical from 1984-99 and for me the 1999 was the most elegant and potentially long lived...certainly not the consensus opinion. In addition to the Ridge Monte Bello and Mondavi Reserves, I would also keep an eye out for the older Ch. Montelena Estate Cabs, with a long decant. Sometimes people think they are dead but they just didn’t give them enough air and as a result they are available or less than they should go for. Cheers!

  • chablis28 commented:

    1/5/20, 11:13 AM - Thanks & great to hear from another old school CA Cab fan. I have been thinking about some Montelena so your comments are timely. I wish I could sneak up and back fill from Ridge Monte Bello too but they're priced pretty high these days Have to count on friends for those :).

  • NathalieKodiak commented:

    1/25/20, 6:22 AM - Greetings Chablis 28 & thanks for this note. How do you feel about drinking window for this wine? Tasting notes are all over the place including Steven Tanzer who says wait until 2024. Unfortunately, I have but 1 mag in my cave.

  • oldwines commented:

    1/25/20, 6:39 AM - NathalieKodiak - if you want my opinion as Magnum this wine will be fantastic in 2024 and will last a decade+ beyond that! Don’t forget to give it a good decanting...

  • chablis28 commented:

    1/25/20, 8:07 AM - NathalieKodiak, I rarely get to drink a mag of anything but they typically extend the life of the wine. At 20yrs in, its largely dependent on how it was stored. I bought mine not long ago and have had really good luck with age worthy reds. My guess is that previous owners of a wine like Dunn HM, as a group, tend to more reliably store wine well?

    Tanzer's a great critic but unless he's tasted the wine in the last few years I tend to discount those release reviews. For me, I put more stock in what CT posters are saying about the wine if they had on the last 24 months or so. I look for where the wine id trending on recent CT reviews. Still pretty unscientific. Dunn HM, seems to be a major ager in general.

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