With bullish tenacity and a fearless approach to new viticulture practices, Caymus has churned out blockbuster Californian Cabs for over 40 years. In typical Caymus style, this Cabernet is deep mulberry in colour with aromas of blackberry jam, cassis, currant and cocoa. Straight out of the gates it delivers a hefty punch of fruit to the palate followed by tantalizing notes of anise, cocoa, cherry vanilla, tobacco and a hint of pepper. While abundant in tannins it retains a softness that guarantees a silky mouthfeel and sultry finish.
This charismatic Cab is a perfect match for sumptuous slow-braised beef accompanied by heaps of creamy mash, or something unctuous like a shoulder of lamb. Warm, earthy spices like cumin, coriander and cinnamon also bring out its playful side, and that’s a recipe for a good time in our book.
Set in Rutherford in the heart of Napa Valley, California, Caymus is a 100% family owned winery. Founded in 1971 by Charlie Wagner, wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner, and son Chuck, the winery was constructed among the vines planted on the family’s Rutherford ranch. Their first vintage in 1972 produced a modest 240 cases of wine. Forty years later, Caymus farms Cabernet grapes in eight of Napa’s 16 sub-appellations to ensure the pick of the year’s fruit and produces a whopping 65,000 cases for sale all around the world.
The Wagner family attributes much of its success to innovative viticulture practices such as crop thinning, which allows measured sunlight to reach the vine’s fruit zone; and ‘hang time’ whereby the fruit is left on the vine for an unusually long period to develop flavors and aromas.
The name ‘Caymus’ originates from the Mexican land grant named Ranchos Caymus, given to George Yount in 1836 to ecompass what would become the town of Rutherford and surrounding areas.
Cedar, vanilla, spice and currant aromas give way to similar flavors that are full-bodied and rich. The wonderful proportion of oak and tannins balances the solid core of supple fruit. Best between now and 2001. A new wine that blends the Caymus Napa Estate and Napa Cuvée. 16,500 cases made. ~93WS
For readers lucky enough to find any, the dark ruby/purple-colored 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon offers an intensely fragrant, vanillin-scented, cedary, rich, curranty, sweet nose. The wine is expansively flavored, rich, medium to full-bodied, with soft tannins, admirable length, and a sense of balance. The style of this deliciously forward, round, tasty Cabernet might be fairly compared with Bordeaux's Pichon-Lalande. Drink it over the next 4-6 years. Few wineries in the world can boast such an enviable record of consistent excellence as that of Caymus. There is no doubting that Cabernet Sauvignon is King at Caymus. For nearly twenty years this winery has excelled at producing boldly-flavored, ripe, concentrated regular bottlings and lavishly-oaked, big, spicy, luxury-priced Special Selection offerings. The regular bottling went through a shaky period with the so-so years of 1988 and 1989, but based on barrel samples of the 1992 and 1991, Caymus has two winners for this reasonably-priced, rich, oaky, cassis-scented, medium to full-bodied, supple-textured wine. ~90WA
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