At Caymus, they go to great lengths in vineyard selection, farming practices and winemaking techniques to make sure to produce a high quality, consistent Napa Cabernet every vintage. Chuck Wagner took over winemaking duties in 1984 after twelve years of on-the-job training – being born a farmer and producing grapes into wine was naturally a thrill.
Climate is of huge importance when making quality wine. Secondly, soils. Most soil types in Napa Valley that I have worked with make good wine, however they search out well drained low vigor soils as a rule, where the vines struggle to produce a concentrated crop. They have found there is quite a difference in the grapes from mountaintop and low elevation hillsides, compared to what we grow on the Napa Valley floor. They are all good, and all different. The mountain yields harder tannins and higher acid making it difficult to make supple wine – and yet it is a spectacular blend component, adding rich texture. They concentrated their efforts on the better soils and aspects of blending together wines produced from eight of the sixteen sub-appellations. They are not a single vineyard production winery, instead preferring a focus on producing a wine that represents complexity through judicious blending.
2011 was a cool year that brought all of us a poor yield and very late ripening. But all things considered, Caymus cabernet may be light in quantity yet extraordinary in character and Chuck Wagner think one or two points above the 2010 vintage. The Caymus house-style prevails as this wine’s hallmark.
Cabernet bottlings have aromas and flavors which can only be achieved through “hang time” – a technique which chances the loss of crop if early winter sets in. Leaving the fruit to “hang” on the vine unusually long develops suppleness, increases color, and matures the tannins of the grapes. The wines are abundant in textural tannins yet soft as velvet. Crop thinning, allowing measured sunlight to reach the vine’s fruit zone, and waiting for increased ripeness are all part of viticultural practices. Caymus Cabernets offer a wide array of aromas and flavors including cocoa, cassis and vanilla. Caymus Napa Valley is more representative of a standard Cabernet of Napa Valley.