Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
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Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon
More than a classic example of Caymus Cabernet, this wine exemplifies the uniquely singular Caymus “house character.” Our intentions over the decades have been to make subtle changes in order to improve wine quality – in the vineyard and in the winery. One may ask why change a good thing? In short, my answer is that Napa Valley, while born with great climate and soils for grapes (especially Cab), is a hotbed of competition, and this has generated improvements. Can you imagine, in one small valley, hundreds of winemakers all struggling to make their mark? From what I have seen “Napa” is the most competitive wine community in the entire world – and continued change is just part of the fabric here.
We Wagners are farmers first. Winemaking is very, very important but interestingly, our basic improvements have taken place in the vineyard. I could go on and on about this…the rules that can turn quality. Soil, aspect, vine health, measured vine growth, crop thinning three passes, fruit protection during heat spikes, crop uniformity, harvesting ripe fruit only…these are just a few of the areas in which we have made quality progress. And yes this vine growing gets just as competitive as the winemaking.
Now, there is something we do differently than most other Cabernet producers here - we have instituted a valley wide approach - using many sub-appellations of our valley from one end to the other to “build” our top wine. As example, the primary vineyard appellations of this 2008 vintage are:
Rutherford 32% Atlas Peak 15% Oak Knoll 14% St Helena 9% Yountville 6%
The last 24% of the appellations are located from less known areas of the Napa Valley – finding these sites has revealed unknowns within the valley that continues to surprise us with great wine quality.
Our winemaking is part of a personal evolution and has become a team approach. Although I set the standard and direct the style, I am joined by my two sons, Charlie and Joe – along with two Caymus staff winemakers, Luis Rodriguez and Harvest Duhig. We taste all of our fermentation lots blind and score them as though we are each a wine critic. This is fun work, but serious as a Napa summer day is long, and yes, I would love to be a wine critic in my next life!
Special Selection as a blend? A long thought about change in Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon has come to fruition. This bottling contains 14% Merlot as a blend wine. We grew these grapes in a cool region of the Napa Valley and they are the Oak Knoll component of the appellation breakdown above. No excuse need be made for this Merlot wine – it was just a darn good wine that improved upon what we had been doing for so many years (100% Cabernet Sauvignon). So…after 37 production years, we chose to allow a Merlot wine to play a role in our finest bottling, the Caymus Special Selection.
Dark youthful purple color. Nose of berries, cassis and brown spice – expresses crushingly rich, homemade, rustic yet supple characters. Flavors have nuance of ripe Cabernet grapes, cocoa, dark chocolate, vanilla and cassis. The abundant array of flavors is supported by fine grain “chocky” texture. This vintage exhibits a balance in abundant ripe tannins and serious fruit – grape skin extraction and French oak provides a tasting experience that begins delightful, broadens and expands on the palate – a brooding, supple, finely textured wine.
-From the producer
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