Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Select, Napa Valley, 2008
This weeks wine is one you are not likely to still find on store shelves anymore. You can find more current vintages, all of them fantastic in it's own right.
Now I know there are a lot of Caymus fans out there, and I have to admit that I am usually one of them. I say usually due to the fact that their regular cabernet bottling tends to be a little over extracted for me most of the time. That's exactly why so many people like the wine. They tend to be one of the first of the higher end bottlings to be released ever year. Mostly due to the fact that they don't use oak as much as other wineries, at least for their regular bottling.
So....I'm not going to talk about the regular bottling, I'm going to step it up a little (or a lot if we're talking about cost) and review the Caymus Special Select. The issue about not being able to find this one is due to the fact that I opened the 2008 vintage. While not likely on the shelves, the 2012 should be available and is a wonderful substitution.
I had been wanting to try the 2008 for a couple reasons. First, it was a sleeper vintage for most. While it followed the extraordinary 2007 vintage, 2008 was thought to be a little more, shall we say rugged. It also was one of the few, if any other, vintages that contained about 14% Merlot in the mix. Maybe wanting to improve the quality of the vintage or allow for shortcomings they thought were in the wine. They also extend the oak aging on the Special Select to around a year and a half, thus giving this bottling a much more dense and slightly earthy background. That is a little more to my liking.
Knowing just how big this bottling can be, I decanted and set aside the wine for 3 hours. Of course, if I'm going to have this potentially phenomenal wine, I had to give some thought as to what I should eat with it. I figured it was about that time to treat myself, so I decided to go to my favorite steakhouse for a nice tenderloin. Re-bottled the wine, drove to restaurant and with the help of the capable and friendly staff, re-decanted the wine, ordered the food and poured my first glass. As one person said "you can smell the wine from across the room." Maybe a little bit of a exaggeration, but it was powerful. As was the first sip. The eight or so years in the bottle had melded the wine together in a symphony of flavors. Dark, rich and long lasting. The tannins still there but also combining to enrich the wine. The remaining evening left to enjoying that perfectly cooked tenderloin with the "not to be forgotten" wine. Perfect.
As I mentioned, and to give everyone the opportunity to recreate this experience themselves, I will again say that the wonderful thing about Caymus wines is their ability to be both enjoyed after years of cellaring as well as in their youth. So if you want to splurge and give it a try, I wholeheartedly recommend that you visit your local wine shop and see what they may have on their shelf. While it may be hard to restrain yourself, try and let the wine decant for a couple hours at a minimum.