“There used to be more identifiable differences between Napa Valley cabernets; now they all pretty much taste the same,” offered the irascible Randy Dunn of Dunn Vineyards by way of an opening salvo at a recent roundtable discussion at Beringer.
Sean Capiaux of O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery challenged Dunn to name some of these Cabs—a question that prompted Robin Lail of Lail Vineyards to remark, “I’ve got to be going now,” though she leaned forward to hear all the same. Alas, Dunn declined to mention any specifics—at least not at this lunch.
Randy Dunn (center). Photo © John Kernick.
Dunn, Capiaux and Lail were three of the extraordinary winemakers and vintners invited to join me and Laurie Hook, the head winemaker at Beringer, for a conversation about Napa Valley wines today. The topic was intriguing enough to lure Dunn down from his winery high on Howell Mountain. A self-described loner who looked like a cowboy-turned-uncomfortable-townsman, Dunn doesn’t leave his mountain too often. Or, as he put it, “You couldn’t pay me to live down here on the valley floor.”