Columbia Valley, Washington
WINEMAKER – Randy Dunn
Randy Dunn is one of the world’s most celebrated makers of extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignons. Dunn established his reputation at Caymus Winery from 1975 to 1985, where his Cabernet Sauvignons became the benchmark for the industry. In addition, his artistry shaped other premium wineries that now enjoy an acclaimed place in the sun (Pahlmeyer, Livingston, La Jota and others). Since 1979, Dunn has produced roughly 5,000 cases a year of his Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignons. Randy is known not only for his famous wines, but for his philosophy on how to make wine. He does it his way – leaving the floor of the Napa Valley “to corn and melon farmers,” he tends his vines in the red stony soil of Howell Mountain. There are no road signs; no retail sales. And don’t look for him in a winery tour. No time for that, as Randy spends his quiet hours making his wonderful heirloom wines.
Washington is a diverse growing region that offers a wide variety of fruit expression as showcased in this multi-layered wine. Walla Walla’s Summit View Vineyard gives the wine its beautiful color and intense mid-palate. Dionysus Vineyard Cabernet, northwest of Pasco, offers wonderful aromatics. Weinbau Vineyard, on the Wahluke Slope, is a warm site that yields dark fruit characteristics with plenty of structure and backbone. Finally, grapes from three top Horse Heaven Hills vineyards accentuate the varietal character and contribute to the wine’s silky texture.
Handpicked grapes were sorted, lightly crushed and fermented in small stainless steel tanks. Once fermentation was underway, the cap was pumped over aggressively to extract color and structure. As fermentation neared completion, pump overs were handled more gently to further extract color and delicate flavors without imparting harsh tannins. When ready for barrel, the wine aged 22 months in all French oak barrels, 90% new.
95+ points – Jeb Dunnuck