The 1984 Dunn Howell Mountain was tasted in April 2011 and is a candidate for my 2011 Wine Of The Year (WOTY). It goes without saying, but this wine is rated HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
I was fortunate to have a good friend purchase this bottle and then share it with me. The bottle was in great shape. It was purchased a month before drinking from JJ Buckley, a wine retailer in Oakland, California. I was very happy with the retailer and the quality of the bottle they shipped.
The bottle fill was half way up the neck which is great for a 27 year old wine. There were no signs of leakage and the red wax seal was bright red and without significant dings or gouges.
As others have commented, getting into a vintage bottle of Dunn is a chore. I did not have to do it, but I saw the remains. The wax seal becomes brittle and comes off in many small pieces. This is not a good wine to bring to a dinner and leave it at home if dinning at a restaurant, unless of course you want to watch the sommelier struggle.
A waiters corkscrew was used in an attempt to remove the cork. The center of the cork crumbled and the edges adhered to the bottle. Small cork pieces everywhere. Cork ended up inside the bottle.
Not a big deal, strained with a fine mesh metal filter on the way into the decanter. No vinturi, just a decant into a large decanter. The wine rested a little and then was consumed from the decanter over the next hour or so.
The color was dense ruby red in the center fading outward to a moderately thick peach colored band and then a clear outer rim. The wine looked to be aged 10 years at the most. The red core was true with a little garnet in the very center of the core.
The nose was complex and transformed as the wine rested in the decanter. There was never any old musty notes. There was truly a bouquet of forest notes – pine and cedar – along with some white pepper and brown spices. By the end of the decanter, the nose had darkened and there were clear notes of macerated cherries and more cedar.
The taste was deep, invigorating, and in many ways, youthful. There was no way I could tell that this was a 27 year old wine. Perhaps 10 years, as the flavor profile was smooth and the tannins well integrated. The fruit was still bright and filled with depth. Cherry and raspberries started the experience and then handed off to the forest profile foreshadowed by the nose. The oak contributed a mellow vanilla harmony that helped the fruit notes linger into the ample finish. There are still tannins available and plenty of fruit to allow the wine to continue to age.
I would have guessed that the wine had a few more years left, but in “Dunn Years” that probably means 10 more. The wine presented like it was only half the age that it actually was.