A pair of terrific cabs from Howell Mountain

  • 2006 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (12/24/2014)
    Almost exactly two years since my last bottle and this continues to be a fabulous wine. The nose is so expressive and enticing, and the plush blue and black fruits on the palate fully cover the tannins. Good structure here, underneath the fruit. There’s no doubt this wine has many years of fine drinking ahead and, in fact, still tastes young at age 8. I could drink this all night. (94 pts.)

  • 2003 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (12/24/2014)
    My first Dunn and, I have to say, I’m surprised how approachable it is. I was expecting big mountain tannins but this was actually in a nice spot for drinking tonight. That said, the nose lags behind the palate a bit, so I suspect the wine might evolve further with more time in the cellar. For now, though, the palate shows off lovely dark fruit with an accentuating streak of spice. Full bodied, but smooth and it never feels heavy. I like this and would be curious to see where it goes in another 3-5 years. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

I’ve never tasted the O’Shaughnessy, it sounds really nice. Thanks for the data point on the Dunn, it’s one of my CA favorites. I might need to line one up.

When we were in Napa in 2009. We enjoyed tasting the O’ Shaughnessy but it was overshadowed by Lokoya which along with Verite are the KJ stars IMHO.

I’m surprised the Dunn was that open at it’s young age. When did you open it and how long of a decant?

The 88 we had a couple weeks ago had an hour decant and time in the glass and it still improved over the course of the evening. We estimated 10 more years to maturity or a double decant for the next bottle.

Somebody brought a 2001 to an off-line and while it was pretty good, it was way too young. Collecting the bottles after the offline the next morning, there was enough in the bottle for a glass. I put a cork in it and drank it that night. Completely different wine. Big nose, clean fruit with Howell Mountain spiciness and a long finish. WOTN the next day.

As I said, I was pretty surprised, too, Randy. I wonder if that’s simply a case with the '03? That wine had about an hour of air before it was served and the bottle was consumed over probably an hour and a half (it followed the O’Shaughnessy and was served with dinner).

Had the O’shaughnessy the other night…pushing the limit in terms of ripeness, extraction, and scale for my palate these days but I really enjoyed it. Special vintage for Howell Mountain, but hard to find anymore…would be curious to try the 2010.


Carrie and I were just discussing the 03 vintage. Panned by the pros but we find them to be stellar now. 03 Araujo is one of our favorites and its drinking window is now. May well be the case for the Dunn. The earthquake eliminated our 02, 03, 04 and 05’s of both Dunn and Araujo so I can’t try one for comparison. Damn. Best excuse I’ve had to get into the stash too. [cry.gif]

Interesting, Randy. I’ve tried several '03s over the last two years and have been particularly impressed with Spottswoode, Hartwell, Larkmead (both the standard cab and the Firebelle), and Neiman, in addition to that Dunn. I haven’t had one yet, but my dad is a huge fan of the '03 Seavey cab; it’s one of his all time favorites. Seems some good wines were definitely made that year…maybe they just took a while to show?