This evening we opened a bottle of 1994 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and it is exceptional. Still fairly strong dark fruits on the nose with some leather, cedar and tobacco. On the palate, more of the same with very mellow tannins, just a hint of acidity and great length. Essentially all secondary and very little primary remaining. What is important is that this wine, which was quintissentially Californian (big fruit, lots of harsh tannins) in its youth, has actually matured into something that beats the sh*t out of most Bordeaux from the same general era (1990-1996). It has more stuffing left and lovely balance.
As good as the Dunn is, we opened a St Innocent Freedom Hill 1994 Pinot Noir recently that was even more impressive. This had matured into something that was not especially reminiscent of US pinot noirs; to me it tasted more of a mature Vosne or Chambolle. The problem is that I can't think of any Burgundy of the early 90s that was even close in quality. So I guess the closest comparison is a slightly younger version of a DRC Eschezeaux from the 60s or 70s. High praise but I think warranted. I expected this wine to be good but not as good as it had developed to be.
I decided to post this because I was impressed by just how much development these wines had experienced.
The message may be: if you have these wines, don't be afraid to loose them for a decade or more.