While it doesn’t have a huge marketing presence the name Dunn is sure to get the attention of Napa Valley Cabernet lovers. Randy Dunn made his first eponymous Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon in 1979. Dunn cabernets today aren’t all that different from earlier vintages. They eschew the trendy giant style that garners high scores from critics. This doesn’t mean Dunn wines are thin by any means. The fruit from Howell mountain makes a wine that is tannic for sure, but once you get beyond that (or let the tannins settle with a bit of aging) the fruit is extraordinarily elegant and complex. Today, Mike Dunn makes the wine at Dunn and fosters his father’s vision for this Napa icon. At the same time Mike has started his own label, Retro. This brand lets Mike explore styles beyond the house style of Dunn with his delicious petite sirah.
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Mike Dunn, Wine Maker, Dunn and Retro
2011 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
An alluring nose of fresh red fruit and floral notes. On the palate this wine shows brilliant finesse. Silky tannins integrate with pretty fruit and great acidity. Drink this wine while you wait for the bigger vintages of 2012 and 2013 to age.
2012 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
A bit of a shy nose showing darker fruit aromas and forward minerality. Grippy tannins reveal layered flavors of blackberry, black currant, licorice, and a distinct earthiness. A long complex finish speaks volumes about this wine. A true classic. This wine will age brilliantly for decades.
2013 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
If 2012 was a classic, I’m not sure what words you can use to classify this tour de force of Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon. Deep in color. Complex aromas of rich dark berries, floral notes, and graphite. Flavors of ripe, luxurious dark fruit intermingle with bright acidity and bold tannins. Great minerality and a hint of animal funkiness complete this brilliant bottling.
2012 Retro, Elevation, Old Vine Petite Sirah, Howell Mountain
Aromas of plum, dark berries, sweet baking spices and leather. On the palate this wine has great texture showing flavors of blackberry, blueberry, cocoa and cola notes. Bold acidity and tannins will let this wine age nicely for years to come, but it drinks great now.