Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dunn & Beaucastel for Family Reunion Dinner

Dunn & Beaucastel for Family Reunion Dinner

For family reunion dinner featuring sockeye salmon, ribs and beef tenderloin, Bro-in-law Bill and #1 Son Ryan pulled two classic favorites from the cellar. For this special gathering with Bill and sister Jan visiting from So-Cal OC, to accompany the ribs, Ryan selected Chateau Beaucastel CDP, while Bill selected Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet for the tenderloin. For a mini-horizontal comparison we selected the 1998 vintage release of each label. Both wines seemed to be not only ready-to-drink, but at the prime apex of their drinking windows. 

For Bro-in-law Bill and sister Jan, the Dunn offered a replay of daughter Krysta's gala wedding reception dinner when they served Dunn Napa Cab.

We visited Dunn together during our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience back in 2008. Here we are with Randy Dunn, shown left.

According to my cellar records, we hold twenty-one vintages of this label (including the Howell Mountain) dating back to 1981. We're holding on to these vintages because of their long lived aging potential.

Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Randy Dunn's wines are legendary for their long lived aging and this was another testament to that legacy. While Cellartracker shows the drinking window for this vintage to be out to 2014, I thought this was delicious and appeared to be still at its prime, showing its age but not yet showing serious effects of diminution.

While the 1998 Napa vintage was panned and overshadowed by what I feel in retrospect was the over-rated 1997, once again, as with many previous tastings, the '98 was drinking very nicely and over-achieved against the vintage reviews.

Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, earthy, floral, graphite and oak highlight the black currant and black berry aromas and flavors. Echoing comments from fellow CellarTracker tasters, a hint of sweetness with moderate, dusty tannins, more on the Bordeaux side but with a Napa sweetness.

RM 93 points.

Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape  1998

Ryan selected this CDP - Chateauneuf du Pape to accompany the bbq baby back ribs. A visit to Chateau Beaucastel, one of the premier producers in the appellation, was one of the highlights of our Southern Rhone Wine Experience back in 1998. We may have tasted this wine from barrel samples during that winery and cellar tour (shown left),

Our cellar records indicate we hold a dozen vintages of this label dating back to the 1978 vintage.

This was an instance where a comparison tasting may have taken the luster off this wine as it was overshadowed by the bigger, bolder, more expressive Dunn.

Ruby colored, almost opaque, medium bodied, nicely balanced, complex but smooth and polished, aromas and flavors of black cherry fruits accented by tones of spice, herbs, tobacco leaf, hints of black pepper and whisper of anise.

RM 92 points.