1994 Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #300551 94 points Connoisseurs Guide

 California purists may argue that the emerging smells of old leather in this wine are more the stuff of Bordeaux than they are of the local product, but if it is good enough for the top wines from the Medoc, then it is good enough for us. Indeed, "good enough" is too small praise for this deep, rich, still fruity, solidly structured bottling. Ten years of staying power is easily within its reach, and those who would keep it longer than that will not be taking an inordinate gamble.  (10/2007)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1994s might be ready to drink within 10-15 years. It is hard to believe these wines spend 30 months in oak casks before bottling as they are incredibly unevolved and backward when released. The 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa reveals an opaque purple color, followed by a sweet, rich, black currant and creme de cassis-scented nose with no evidence of oak. This fruit bomb displays considerable breadth and expansiveness on the palate, in essence revealing only two dimensions - fruit and tannin. It is slightly softer and more precocious than the 1995 and 1996, so perhaps it will only need 10, rather than 15 years of cellaring. This immensely impressive Cabernet is a candidate for 20-30 years of cellaring. One of the issues about which Randy Dunn is sensitive is the fact that his wines are so remarkably consistent that it is often difficult to tell vintages apart. I think the vintage character will become more apparent when the wines are 15-20 years of age. Even the most professional palate will be inundated with a furious blast of tannin and concentrated cassis and blackberry fruit when these wines are young. With that in mind, the notes for the wines reviewed in this segment do sound similar, but I feel 1994 may turn out to be Dunn's finest of the three most recent vintages. (RP)  (12/1997)

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Price: $129.99
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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 M├ędoc 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.
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.
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.