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Jeb Dunnuck – Napa’s Exuberant, Powerful 2015s – December 2017

“These 100% Cabernet Sauvignon cuvees are made by Tony Arcudi, who was formerly in the Navy before working for Michel Chapoutier in the Rhône and later for Heidi Barrett in Napa. Tony launched his own brand in 2012 and is also the consulting winemaker at Kapcsandy. His Cabernets are gorgeous.”

16 Howell Mountain Cabernet 94-96

Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard has serious potential in its perfumed, ripe, layered, and concentrated style. This vintage was even and long and allowed phenomenal phenolic ripeness, and this beauty has a remarkable purity in its aromatics, a full-bodied, concentrated palate, ripe tannin, and a great finish.

16 Pritchard Hill Cabernet 94-96

From the shallow soils of the Stagecoach Vineyard near Pritchard Hill, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill is another tiny production, yet incredibly high-quality Cabernet. It offers more blue fruits, liquid violets, and a distinct floral quality as well as full-bodied richness and depth, fine-grained tannin, no hard edges and a beautiful elegance. It’s another wine that will have 20+ years of longevity.

15 Howell Mountain Cabernet 96

The star of the show (although the 2016 might eclipse it) is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard and like the other vintage, there are just 200 cases of this 100% Howell Mountain Cabernet. Crème de cassis, caramelized black cherries, toasty oak, chocolate, and licorice notes all soar from the glass of this decadent, ripe, uber sexy 2015 that’s impossible to resist. It’s going to cruise in the cellar for two decades.

14 Howell Mountain Cabernet 93

Slightly fresher than the 2013, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard offers lots of mulberry, blackberry, and currant fruit characteristics as well as more spice, herbs, and earth with time in the glass. With full-bodied richness and an endearing elegance and purity, it doesn’t have the backend depth of the 2013 (or 2015) but will drink nicely for 10-15 years.

13 Howell Mountain Cabernet 95

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Black Sears Vineyard, from a site on Howell Mountain aged 20 months in 50% new French oak, is a brilliant example of this terroir, as well as the vintage. A full-bodied, ripe, powerful wine, with awesome notes of smoked meats, currants, licorice, and graphite, it has lots of tannins, a layered mid-palate, and beautiful balance. Winemaker Tony Arcudi commented that if you couldn’t make a good wine in 2013 you should find something else to do. He’s certainly made a sensational wine.


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