Robert Parker has said, “Not many wineries, anywhere in the world, can match the Wagner family’s consistent record of success.” Caymus Special Selection is the flagship wine of the Wagner family and, as such, demands the most uncompromising eye toward perfection. Made from the very best barrels of the vintage, and not made at all in difficult years, this pleasure-bent bottling is ripe and lush with seamless structure and hedonistic intensions. The Special Selection is consistently one of California’s best cabs and a must-have for any serious collection.
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.
Lush and very forward, with velvety textured waves of cassis, mulled plum and blackberry reduction mixed with flashes of mocha and roasted vanilla. This is long, with seamless structure letting the fruit play out. For the hedonist crowd. Drink now through 2037. (JM, Web 2022)