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With bullish tenacity and a fearless approach to new viticulture practices, Caymus has churned out blockbuster Californian Cabs for over 40 years. Its 2016 vintage is no exception. In typical Caymus style, this Cabernet is deep mulberry in color 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.
Caymus Special Selection is the flagship wine of the Wagner family and is comprised of the very best barrels of the vintage. This wine is not produced in difficult years. With heady fruit and decisive tannins, 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.
Tasting notes: A rich, dense ruby color, hints at the dark fruit nose of blackberry and currant that carries through to the palate, interwoven with complex aromas of black licorice, anise, and crème de cassis. On the palate, the wine opens up to reveal an earthiness, with brown spice, cigar box, and ripe dark fruits that linger throughout the extracted and long finish. The texture is opulent and rich, yet has a velvety quality with supple density. Rich, fine‐grained tannins are balanced with ripe fruit, acidity, and oak.
This asserts itself through flattery right from the start, with a gush of warmed cassis, açaí berry reduction, and plum preserves laced liberally with mocha-accented toast and carried by very plush structure. This is weighty and brimming with fruit, while the toast takes a lengthy encore on the finish. A hedonist's dream. Drink now through 2034. ~95 Wine Enthusiast (v. 2016)
The Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most iconic and recognized wines. I recall being floored when I tasted the 1975 vintage, its first release. That wine was one of the memorable wines I have ever tasted. The 2016 vintage shows how well the "Special Selection" program has progressed. This wine offers an outstanding synergy between fruit, earth, and oak. Its elevated and persistent palate should pair superbly with grilled ribeye topped with minced shallots and freshly-cracked black peppercorns. ~95 Wilfred Wong (v. 2016)
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