Sunday, December 27, 2009

Caymus Special Selection, 2001

The cork came out of the bottle and the room was full of rich fruit, dark, ripe and luscious.  There was an underlying scent of earth and tobacco.

The taste was more than full, it was almost viscous.  There were currants, blackberries and cassis all forward and filling the mouth with the sweet taste of ripe fruit at its peak.  The tannin was well integrated  and not drying at all.  On the finish there was a suggestion of tobacco smoke and length that just kept going.  Opulent is the only way to describe this wine.

With the standing rib roast the wine seemed almost too ripe and came close to being overbearing and cloying.  I would have preferred more acid and a less sweet finish, but these are small matters.  As a stand alone bottle of wine it would be hard to beat, but as a dinner companion it left a few things out of the mix.

I remembered my first taste of a Caymus Special Selection, a just released 1981, that came more than a few years ago.  I stopped by the winery on a visit to Napa and the late Charlie Wagner asked if I wanted to taste some wine.  We walked into the converted chicken coop and he poured a couple of vintages of the estate wine and then said, "try this one."  At that point in time it was the best California wine I ever had.  I was surprised that the cost was only $30 and remarked that I had just been to Stag's Leap the previous day and they were charging an astounding $50 for Cask 23, their reserve wine. 

Charlie Wagner remarked, "Any one who charges you that much for a bottle of wine is just on an ego trip."  I wish that were still true.

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