The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain possesses a black/blue/purple color, and a texture of unctuosity and thickness. Greatness is suggested by a wonderfully sweet mid-section, gorgeous purity, and this humongous wine's overall symmetry. It also possesses sumptuous layers of concentration, remarkably sweet tannin, low acidity, and a 40+ second finish. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2040.
Ruby-red. More floral, aromatic nose of cassis, tobacco and loam. Lush and sweet in the mouth; more silky and voluptuous than the Napa bottling. Here the tannins seem a bit sweeter and finer. These '96s seem less backward than many recent vintages of Dunn cabernet, which have a track record for developing very slowly in bottle.
The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is dark, brooding and intense to the core, with huge fruit, equally intense tannins and the stuffing to drink well for another 20 years. Next to some of the other wines in the lineup, the 1996 comes across as very ripe, but also quite tannic. My sense is that the overall balance isn't up to the level of the best wines. I would be tempted to give the 1996 another year or two in the cellar. (AG)
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