The first producer you have listed (Dunn) is bar-none, my favorite. The remainder are in my Top-10, minus Araujo & Mondavi.
I have experience through many vintages of each of these (minus the Araujo, which I've only had once). I can tell you that it all comes down to personal preference. All of these producers make rock solid wine that will go the distance.
Dunn: I have never had a less than stellar bottle, to include "off vintages" like '98 & '03. Both the "Howell Mountain" & "Napa" Cabs are built to lay down for a LONG time. If I had to pick my favorite vintages of the "Howell Mountain," it would probably be:
- 1987 (My favorite vintage of this wine, and probably my favorite wine in general. Getting kind of tough to find, so scoop it up if you can find it for < $150)
- 1982 (Again, I don't see these come up very often, but they usually sell for around $150)
- 1985 (Easier to find, and can be had for less than $100)
- 1988 (This is exactly why I love this producer. This is an awesome wine, and can pretty easily be found for less than $60)
- 1992 (Arguably the best HM ever produced, and the price reflects. I think the '87 is better, but not by much It usually sells for $150-175, but I have seen it for as low as $120)
- 1994,'95,'96,'97 (Like many producers in California, Dunn had a hot-streak during these years. They're all awesome, but they all need time. We opened a '97 HM at an offline last month, and while spectacular, the wine needs (10) more years. Out of these, the '94 usually sells for the most, at around $120. The rest can be found for less than $100).
...I could go on!
Another wine with some serious shelf life. Paul Draper is a master of his craft, and the MB is his baby. Again, I've never had a bad bottle. My favorite vintages are probably the '85 & '91. These get kind of pricey ($175-200), but IMO, they're more than worth it compared to some of the overpriced gas-a-hol crap coming out of Napa today.
IMO, older Montelena Estate Cab (pre "Bottle Shock") is some of the best wine ever made in Napa. At another recent offline, a member brought a '91 Montelena Estate, and it's a contender for my wine of the year.
Awesome stuff. I just opened an '86 "Volcanic Hill" last week (TN's posted), and it was gorgeous. When people say "They just don't make wines like this anymore," older Diamond Creek can always be in the conversation. Out of the bunch, the "Volcanic Hill" is my favorite, and the winery claims it is the longest lived. You can't go wrong with anything from the late '70's - early '90's, and they're often available for less than $100. They also make a "vintage dependent" Cab called "Lake Vineyard," which is both pricey & rare. I have yet to try one.
I love this wine, and it's definitely the most "Bordeaux-like" of the bunch. I'm not sure a bad vintage exists of this wine, to include the '98. We tasted the '97 & '98 side-by-side last month, and both were incredible. Most vintages are readily available for around $120-150. Also, most people will tell you that the '94 is the best Dominus ever produced, and an iconic example of Cali Cab. I have yet to taste it, so I can't comment. But, I have had the '92 (next in line for a lot of people), and it was great.
I better stop here...