1998 Dunn Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #997753 90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Adhering to the tougher lines, firm structure and tannic frame that collectively typify Dunn's Howell Mountain Cabernets, this very young, deeply cast offering still manages to reveal plenty of tightly wound varietal fruit. A bit more obvious, however, are the rich loam and earth and mineral qualities that lend the wine considerable complexity. Its tannins may be a little confining just now, but there is little about the wine that is out of proportion, and, if not among the flashiest of Cabernets, it may well be one of the longest lived.  (12/ 2002)

88-90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Dunn's normal policy is to select the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from his barrels right before bottling. Hence what I tasted was a trial blend of this wine. This year produced extremely small crops characterized by extremely cool growing seasons as well as unusually late harvests. Randy Dunn dropped 40% of his crop in 1998 in order to attain ripeness. Consequently, this wine does not possess the herbaceousness or weediness found in many 1998 Howell Mountain Cabernets. The wine reveals plenty of sweet black currant fruit infused with minerals. While light, it is a successful effort. It may last only 20-25 years, rather than fifty! The 1998 displays excellent intensity along with pure black currant/cassis notes intermixed with earth, spice, and smoke.  (12/ 2000)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby. Cassis, minerals and mint on the nose. Very tight and a bit musclebound, but the flavors of darkest berries and licorice are vibrant and pristine. Juicy, firmly tannic and quite long, with miraculously little greenness for a mountain cabernet in '98. Very unevolved today. My bottle showed more thickness with extended aeration. Randy Dunn dropped nearly half of his fruit in order to get the rest ripe in '98, and has produced highly successful cabernets in the context of the vintage. 90(+?) points  (11/ 2001)

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Price: $74.99

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.