July 14, 2020 - blind
we had three 87 Cali's this was the best one for me but all very close (Dominus, Beringer). Some etherical notes but a lot of tertiary notes that could be Bordeaux either. Eucalyptus, blueberries. 95
March 5, 2020 - La Paulée Zachy's Auction - Thursday (Le Bernardin Privé): Not as enjoyable as a bottle I was able to sit with 3-4 months ago. This glass was broodingly stubborn on the nose. Palate was chewy and dense with sweet fruit. Still needs time to integrate. Upside with aeration or a few more years in the cellar.
March 5, 2020 - Zachys La Paulee Auction; 3/5/2020-3/6/2020 (Le Bernardin Prive - New York NY): Small glass, brief note. Big and bold with rich fruit, but tannins still a bit too pronounced.
February 19, 2020 - 13,4% alcohol.
Deep, somewhat translucent and very dark ruby to black cherry color; surprisingly youthful for its age. Powerful, savory and rather straightforward nose with intense aromas of fresh blackcurrants, some meaty tones, a little bit of bouillon, light sweet notes of cherry marmalade and a hint of graphite. The nose doesn't feel young anymore, but it isn't fully tertiary either. The wine is full-bodied, muscular and quite robust on the palate with intense, dry flavors of ripe blackcurrants, some tertiary notes of beef jerky and leather, light bloody tones, a little bit of meaty umami, a sweet hint of juicy dark plum and a woody touch of pencil shavings. The overall feel is very structured with the high acidity and quite assertive, grippy tannins. The finish is ripe, robust and rather tannic with intense flavors of juicy blackcurrants, meaty umami, some peppery tones, a little bit of sour cherry bitterness, light sweet notes of dried red fruits, a hint of savory oak spice and a touch of meat stew.
A very powerful, impressively structured and enjoyably old school Napa Cabernet with lots of muscle to keep all that intense fruit in check. Overall the wine is quite evolved and getting rather tertiary, although there's still lots of fruit still left to the wine. Most likely the wine is peaking now; even though the structure could use some further aging, I doubt the fruit will benefit from any further cellaring. Compared to the regular 1987 Dunn Napa Cabernet that was tasted alongside, this feels somewhat bigger and more structured with more concentrated fruit - but surprisingly more developed as well. While the regular Napa Cab was surprisingly youthful for its age, showing capability to age even further, this Howell Mountain Cab is pretty much at its peak. Although I preferred the slightly more delicate and harmonious style of the regular Dunn Napa Cab, this is quite stunning a wine as well. Highly recommended.
January 5, 2020 - boy started off shaky...thought it went bad. brick color...sour, acidic...decanted for 2 hours and color deepened. faint cherries, blueberries, integrated saddle leather and tobacco...great!
January 4, 2020 - I was not expecting too much when the cork crumbled even using an ah-so cork puller. But wow was I surprised on the first sniff and sip after I splashed it back and forth 6 times ( my version of decant-arrested). Though there is a definitive orange rim to the wine it is still very much fresh and alive. On the nose initially forest floor, earth, tobacco and hint of leather. Then evolved to ripe red fruit after 2 hours. But the palate on this is just wonderful. Blueberries, dust and plums then ripe plums and menthol and eucalyptus. I chose this wine to watch AFC playoffs but it turned to be Super Bowl worthy! The wine kept evolving all night getting richer and deeper. Matched with both chocolate mousse and a New Zealand ultra creamy milk chocolate and was very pleased. The finish is at least 45 seconds long and just makes you want another sip as soon as it dissipates. My initial score was 94 but as the wine evolved I had to raise it, first 95 then 96
December 21, 2019 - Wine Flock Champagne Gala (Park Ridge CC): Generously shared (along with the 83) by JLGNML. The 83 was a touch more intense and precise, but there isn't much white space between these two amazing wines. Fully mature and in a peak window now.
December 21, 2019 - Big nose, bright fruit, swelling flavor on the palate. Plenty of years ahead for this wine.
September 23, 2019 - Decant and slowly drink
Still has some ripe fruit and life. The tertiary flavors of mushroom, cedar and earth makes this older wine complex and enjoyable.
The fruit faded after the first hour and the other flavors predominated.
This isn’t a wine that needs a long decant ( which differs from my last review ).
The fruit went from moderately fresh to stewed and some barnyard flavors emerge. The finish is herby, sage and oregano.
An enjoyable evolution from pop to finish
July 16, 2019 - Fabulous. Great way to turn 50. Had been saving for a special occasion. Well worth the wait.