To register, click the button below:


ALL reservations/ticket sales are FINAL





Date: Tuesday, November 17th


Time: 6 PM


Price: Members: $100
            Guests:     $130

REPLACE Remove comment if apps are being served           (includes appetizers)


Venue: Faculty Club, Univ. of Toronto,

         41 Willcocks Street
         Toronto, Ontario
         M5S 1C7  - 


Mailed Reservations
          - Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015
Online Payments
         - Monday, Nov. 16, 2015


Printer Friendly Notice

Adobe Reader required to view notice



Add event to your Outlook calendar







Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Vertical

Tuesday, NOvember 17th 2015


Guest Speaker: Peter Wearing of The Small Winemakers Collection


Notes on the Wines

How the Wines Were Ranked



Dunn Vineyards may not be a household name for Canadian wine lovers but “Dunn remains one of California's superstar Cabernet Sauvignon producers” (R. Parker Jr.).  The winery started in 1972 after founder Randy Dunn graduated in 1975 from UC Davis in enology and learned to produce wine for an impressive line-up of wineries: Caymus, Livingston, La Jota, Pahlmeyer and Palmaz wineries before starting his own venture.  He purchased his original property on Howell Mountain near St. Helena while still winemaker at Caymus from 1975 to 1985. Dunn Vineyard’s first commercial vintage was released in 1981 which makes Dunn one of the oldest continuously producing wineries in the Angwin area.  You won’t find Dunn Vineyards on the tourist maps; it’s a private winery and unfortunately, they aren’t set up for public tours. We are fortunate to present a vertical tasting of Dunn Napa Valley - Napa Valley Cabernets.  

Dunn specializes in one grape and one grape only – Cabernet Sauvignon – producing wine under two different labels: Napa Valley and Howell Mountain and it does this extremely well. Total production is only about 5,000 cases so their wines aren’t easy to come by.  Randy, a bit of a renegade and now in his late 60’s, has turned much of the winery operations over to his two children, but he has always had a mind of his own. No fan of high-alcohol wines, he is so opposed to making wine above 14 percent alcohol that he openly resorts to a controversial method known as reverse osmosis, which removes some of his wine's alcohol.  

“Their Napa Cabernet tends to have softer tannins . . . .Dunn keeps the alcohol percentage lower than most area vintners, typically in the high 13 range which is done by several processes including de-alcoholization if need be, a process that can be conducted by reverse osmosis. Randy’s focus is on terroir driven wines; his philosophy is that you need to be able to taste where the wines are from. When you have wines high in alcohol you lose the distinguishing characteristics that allow you to distinguish the “home terroir”. In addition, his wines are not trophy wines meant to catch the high scores or wines that will put you under the table due to the alcohol as they are made to be enjoyed with food. As Randy told us, they are not “cocktail wines”!”

Our guest speaker will be Peter Wearing of The Small Winemakers Collection which imports Dunn into Canada. He’ll be visiting Dunn before our tasting so we can look forward to getting a first-hand impression of the Dunn family and winery.  Peter has joined us a few times in the past and we are thrilled to welcome him back.

Please join us for our last event of our tasting calendar for perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a vertical tasting of wines from a very exclusive Californian winery as we close out our 40th birthday and the 2015 year. Seating is limited.  Light appetizers will be served with our wines after the formal tasting portion.  Please refrain from wearing scented products; dress is casual business attire.



The Wines


It possesses Dunn's wonderfully pure, rich, blackcurrant flavors, as well as length, intensity, and full body. Yet the tannin levels in this tight wine are formidable. Do not touch a bottle for at least 5-6 years.  Having closely followed Dunn's Cabernet Sauvignons since the debut 1979 vintage, it is remarkable how consistent these wines have been. . . . The wines are always impressive for their strength, massive body, and highly extracted blackcurrant fruit. Dunn, who believes in filtering but not fining, tends to use the former technique as a way of bringing a measure of refinement to the brute strength and power his wines possess.  Wine Advocate #96, Dec. 1994. Robert M. Parker, Jr. Drink: 2008 – 2020. 89-91/100


Sweet black currant, floral, blueberry, and cassis characteristics emerge from the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa. With medium body, and not the power and depth apparent in other Napa bottlings, it is a more elegant, restrained effort that will be ready to drink in 3-5 years. It should last for 15+ years.  Wine Advocate #157, Feb. 2005. Robert M. Parker, Jr. Drink: 2008 – 2020. 89-91/100


. . . possesses deep, dark, primordial, blackberry and cassis fruit intermixed with notes of flowers and minerals. It is impressively built, rich, and intense with the gorgeous fruit purity evident in all the Dunn Cabernets. Drink: 2007-2020+. Wine Advocate #157, Feb. 2005. Robert M. Parker, Jr. 90-92/100


. . . these 2004s are more opulent and up-front than previous renditions. Yet, they lack neither concentration nor richness. Those of us who have been cellaring Dunn’s wines for twenty years, waiting for them to reach maturity should be thrilled by this new development. Look for the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa to drink well for 15 years. It is a brilliant achievement. Wine Advocate #174, Dec. 2007. Robert M. Parker, Jr. 2007 – 2022 91/100   


The 2005 . . . is gorgeous. It is a soft, caressing wine laced with expressive dark fruit, blackberries, spices, leather and flowers, all of which come together beautifully in the glass. This is a surprisingly soft, open young wine with lovely inner perfume and a mid-weight structure that makes it approachable, even today. It is a great starting point for readers who are new to the Dunn wines.  Drink: 2011-2025. Wine Advocate #198, Dec. 2011. Antonio Galloni 92/100


. . . quite a bit richer than the 2005 tasted alongside it. The 2006 shows gorgeous depth as it opens up in the glass. Dark fruit, licorice, smoke and tar are some of the notes that flesh out in this broad-shouldered Cabernet Sauvignon. A creamy, textured finish rounds things out in style. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2026.   Wine Advocate #198   Antonio Galloni  94/100


. . . one of the very finest young wines I have ever tasted from Randy Dunn. Layers of dark red fruit, blackberries, flowers, mint and licorice emerge from this seamless, large-scaled wine. This is a rich, opulent 2007 that never abandons its traditional sense of structure. All of the aromas and flavors build beautifully towards the immensely rewarding, intense, seductive finish. This is a dazzling showing from Randy Dunn. The 2007 is atypically open today. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2027. Wine Advocate #198 Dec 2011 Antonio Galloni  95/100


The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is simply extraordinary. Layers of dark fruit, flowers, licorice, spices and mint are beautifully woven together. With time in the glass the wine’s striking inner perfume takes center stage. Tar, smoke, flowers, red berries and licorice are some of the nuances that reappear on the finish, while gorgeous aromatics are laced throughout. I could go on. Let me make it simple: this is a flat-out great bottle of wine from Randy Dunn. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2033. Wine Advocate #198 Dec 2011 Antonio Galloni  96/100


Top of page



How The Wines Were Ranked

Please check back after the tasting for the results.