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.
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
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
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.
RM 92 points.