An Indelicate Aparatif: Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1986

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Day 2 of the celebration, which in fact must be divided into two posts: what glorious times these are. I have been saving this bottle for several months for this specific occasion. Dunn is one of the most respected producers of age worthy Cabernet in the Napa Valley, producing a bottling from grapes at the Valley floor as well as the famous Howell Mountain wine. This is the Napa version of the wine, which I picked up at K&L – I could not help but jump at the chance to try a 20 year old wine from Napa by one of the few producers able to produce a product worthy of such age.

The nose here was surprisingly boozy, and had chocolate, licorice and blackberry. Despite 22 years in the bottle this nose was expressive and tremendously deep, and later took on some wet root qualities with air. The palate was much more acidic than I expected, but has incredible intensity of flavour, with notes of blackberry, raspberry, graphite, jasmine tea, and quite hefty tannins – I’m not sure the tannins could ever get softer after 22 years, so I suppose that is the style of this wine. This is more like a cross between Napa and Bordeaux than anything strictly Californian. The finish is very mineral intense and has notes of damp soily earth. However, this is not as complex or as balanced as I was hoping and while a very good wine, is certainly not worth the price I paid. Nonetheless, I couldn’t feel down about this – after all it was only an aparatif to a much more incredible experience coming to this blog all in good time. If you do ever get an aged Dunn Cab, I recommend decanting for at least 2 hours.

Very Good+
$90 at K&L wine


  1. J. Song
    May 20, 2009

    Seems like you’ve been having some sort of celebration! Congratulations! And I’m sorry we couldn’t meet up while I was in Berkeley. (I’m glad to see at least we both have had a lot to drink, however!)

    Joon S.

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