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The Wagners produced their first Cabernet Sauvignon – “Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon” -- from the 1972 vintage. Their first Special Selection, from outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon lots given extended barrel aging, was made from the 1975 vintage.
The Wagners’ 60 acres of estate vineyard remain at the core of Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, but Chuck Wagner believes that much is gained in complexity and layering of flavors by not restricting fruit sources to a single site. As a result, Caymus has taken over farming control of selected other vineyards within the Napa Valley, some on the valley floor and some in mountain locations as high as 1,600 feet in elevation. Each vineyard block is farmed according to the specific needs of its soil type, climate, slope and orientation. The Wagners also have long-term relationships with several Napa Valley growers whose location and viticultural practices produce grapes of the quality Caymus requires.
"Every growing season involves chance, but setting aside certain grapes from among our lots to make the year’s Special Selection is very much a matter of choice. With luck, planting decisions are met by a cooperative climate to produce the superb grapes that go into all our wines. From there, we identify which vineyard blocks were particularly favored with grapes eligible for the Special Selection designation." - Chuck Wagner
The goal in Caymus Vineyard is a balanced wine that tastes delicious when bottled but can improve with age. Chuck Wagner attributes the quality of the wines to farming and winemaking techniques developed over the decades. These techniques are open to change if improvements can be made, even if doing so requires replanting a vineyard.
2010/ Staying true to my family’s tradition, we only use exceptional parcels of fruit that are worthy of our Special Selection designation. This 33rd release of Special Selection was a challenging vintage, with cool weather and rain pushing the final days of our harvest into the month of November. Because of early rains in 2010 the pick was delayed and in many cases the cabernet sauvignon wines were sold in bulk instead of being bottled. We had about 60% of our normal production ripen to our satisfaction, producing extraordinary wine.
Over the years Caymus Cabernet has developed its own unique style, centering our focus on
dark color, fine grain, chalky rich tannins, and an array of flavors. How did our “house style”emerge? Well, I think a steep learning curve exists with us -‐‑ and the Caymus team gets excited about the right things -‐‑ such as finding inroads in both viticulture and winemaking, often employing out-‐‑of-‐‑the-‐‑box thinking. I like to believe that our proactive innovations have been key to our style and feel that within the natural greatness of Napa lies plenty of room for creative juices and world-‐‑class wine.
I have long believed that we in California and the Napa Valley have some advantages over winemakers in countries where an AOC (appellation of controlled origin) exists. Here, we have the freedom to make choices about where to plant each varietal, we can choose our own harvest date, regulate yield of a vineyard and irrigate vines when they need water. I think this “freedom to choose” spills over to better wines and points towards a very bright future. Our cabernet wines are produced from eight of Napa’s sixteen sub- ‐‑appellations and are made up of 75% valley floor fruit and 25% from elevated, mountainous sites. We often stand back and admire the Napa Valley and its deserving status in the wine world, its many great soils and very reliable climate that’s hard to beat -‐‑ and we try to bring that all together in our wine.
TASTING NOTES: Opaque crimson color, intriguing nose of freshly tilled Napa vineyard soil.The presence of this wine includes fine textural components balanced by an array of flavors including; ripe cherry, dried rose petal, cacao, mocha and cassis. A seamless, rich and alluring, youthful Napa Cabernet. I find this vintage perfectly complex and balanced. This will go down
in our books as a difficult year that yielded a small production of very fine wine.
When should you enjoy this wine? My belief is “wines that taste good as aged wines, are the same wines that taste good young.” Yet my choice age to drink Special Selection Cabernet is five to seven years from vintage date. So, this wine will continue to improve over time but is enjoyable at this moment; I am serving
it to my closest friends these days and they seem to love it as much as I do – it is a “no excuse” wine. Our cabernets spend about 16 months in French oak, are unfined, and will throw some natural sediment in the bottle. October 2012
-‐‑ Chuck Wagner, Owner and Winemaker