This is my first post on this forum. Here are some recent tasting notes.
1995 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet—Started out with nothing on the nose. Threw it into the decanter for two hours, and aromas of black fruit, leather and game started to emerge. More black fruit on the palate, with a firm tannic finish. I think this still needs some time for the tannins to soften. Not as approachable as a 1997 Howell Mountain consumed last year.
1996 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet—This wine is in the sweet spot right now. Classic Montelena combination of red fruit, earth, cedar, pencil lead and a touch of menthol, with sweet tannins on the finish and impeccable balance. This wine should continue to drink well for several years. For me, this wine is on a qualitative level similar to the 1992 Estate, and just below the 1991 and 1994.
2006 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet—received my futures order, so I decided to take one for the team. Not quite as ripe as the 2004, I think this wine is already starting to shut down. Decanted for 4 hours and drank over two days, this wine has the typical red fruit/earthy profile of Montelena, but is a little more spicy than the 1996 was. The remainder of mine will be sleeping for at least the next five years.
2007 Caymus Cabernet—Tasted this wine at a party blind. This was more sweet and oaky than I was accustomed to from Caymus. If you like big, sweet, fruit-driven wines, then this is for you, but for me is seems to be made in a different style than previous vintages.
2006 Pahlmeyer Merlot—similar in style to the Caymus. Big, rich, oaky, fruit-driven, with chocolate and plum flavors. This is a huge wine.
1985 Fonseca Vintage Port—My first candidate for wine of the year. Decanted for 12 hours, this wine. Dark purple in color, with a huge nose of blackberries, blueberries, chocolate, and menthol. As huge as this port is, it is also perfectly balanced, with no noticeable heat and a beautiful finish. I am not good at projecting the evolution of Port, but I would guess that this will continue to improve for many more years.