Yesterday, September 1, 2011, was the 2nd Annual Cabernet Day, a day where Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc lovers celebrate Cabernet at gatherings and virtually around the world. For the second year, I was sent a sample of the 2009 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (last year I tasted the 2008 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley and the 2008 Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley). I had tasted the 2009 on July 12, 2011, when I visited Caymus Vineyards on a trip to Napa.
In the process of preparing for the tasting, I learned that the 2009 Cabernet is not a single-vineyard wine, but rather a blend of grapes from eight sub-appellations of Napa Valley. As states winemaker Chuck Wagner,
I would generalize that Napa Valley wines are comprised of two styles − the mountain (brawn) and the valley (supple). This is a significant fact about Caymus cabernets. They are a blend of both mountain and valley fruit − creating dimension and richness in character.
I also learned that Mr. Wagner prefers younger wines, wines which are 12 years or younger, which might explain his winemaking philosophy and process. Caymus Cabernet is made to be enjoyed young or cellared for 10+ years.
I opened the bottle at room temperature and enjoyed a sample. My initial thought was, “Velvet cassis.” It was so smooth and creamy on the tongue, and it took me back to my summer abroad in France, when I first tried crème de cassis liqueur and a white wine cocktail, my first Kir. I tweeted this comment on Twitter and Caymus’ social media director replied, “The winemaker recommends it be tasted at 60° F.” And there it was, my “ah-ha moment” of the evening. I poured a little more into my glass first (of course, I wasn’t going to stop tasting!), then placed the remainder of the bottle in my refrigerator. About 45 minutes to an hour later, I poured a little more into my glass and tasted. Wow, I was simply amazed how the chilling of the wine brought out new dimensions in taste for me, such as chocolate. At that point, I had to amend my nickname to “Velvet chocolate cassis.”
This wine will be etched in my memory as the wine that took me back France, if but only for an evening. However, I do have some of this beautiful wine left, so perhaps another Proustian moment awaits me tonight.
2009 Caymus Cabernet Sauvigon, Napa Valley
$68.00/750 ml bottle directly from the winery; $60.00-$70.00 at various online retailers
For more information about Caymus:
8700 Conn Creek Road
Rutherford, CA 94573
Phone: 707-963-4204/ Fax: 707-963-5958