It’s hard to imagine a more successful and consistently crowd-pleasing winery in the Napa Valley than Caymus. And in the mild and balanced 2017 vintage, they’ve delivered another beauty. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon wafts from the glass with notes of crushed blueberries and blackberries accented with notes of cigar box, mocha, and Mexican chocolate. In Caymus’ inimitable style, it’s drinking beautifully right now, and will continue to develop nuance in the cellar. This Cabernet is required drinking for all Napa Valley hedonists.
Few farming legacies in California, certainly when it comes to growing world-class wine grapes, can stand up to the Wagner family. Their story began quietly in the 1940's, when Napa Valley was largely considered a far flung wilderness of prune and walnut orchards with a mere smattering of grapevines. The late Charlie Wagner, a non-nonsense man of the land, was happily farming wheat and fruit trees on the same Rutherford property he had known since childhood. He had no grand visions of becoming one of Napa's vineyard gurus. Charlie was an old-school character not easily given to fad or fashion, and wasn't about to switch gears without a very compelling reason. Not until winemaking legend Andre Tchelistcheff commented on the remarkable quality of his home winemaking grapes did he begin to look at his land in a different way. After re-planting significant portions of their 73-acre property to grapes (most significantly to Cabernet clones from grower Nathan Fay), Charlie, his wife Lorna and his son Chuck officially founded Caymus in 1972. Having spent years learning the secrets of the property farming alongside his father, Chuck took the helm as winemaker in 1984. The only wine ever named Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" twice has the Caymus name on it: the vaunted "Special Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon.