I recently tried the just released Caymus’ 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. Is it worth your while? Let’s see.
Three generations and forty years on, Caymus lucked out with 2012. The vintage seemed completely tailored to their style. Up and down Napa Valley it was sunny, dry, and not drought-ridden as recently. All their lazy grapes got to stay on the vine (usually they drop lesser fruit).
Now Caymus likes a late harvest. More time lowers acids and tannins but risks rot, damage, or excessive alcohol. But weather allowed them to wait until Halloween to pick (madness in California). Their grape haul doubled 2011’s. So much ripe Cabernet resulted that they didn’t have to blend others. 17 months in half new barrels, mostly French with some from Missouri.
Appearance: Imagine impenetrable squid ink with only the slightest ruby rim. Legs cut like pillars down the glass.
Aromas: Tightly packed, young, but immense aromas of hot black-fruited syrup, roasted cigar, cinnamon, mint, and ripe blue cheese sublimate the senses.
Palate: It might be dry but you hardly notice with all that fruit and sweet-seeming alcohol. Mild acids reflect the extended softening of hang time. Huge, ripe tannins feel deceptively soft: but this will stain your mouth. The alcohol warms like a hot water bottle. The body is full and fat yet manages some structure. It feels like padded shoulders on a velvet jacket.
Flavors: A huge crush of black berry liquor leads to mint, vanilla, and cinnamon painted with a thick brush. Tertiary characters have yet to show. Only huge fruit and oak shine. The length is long.
Conclusions: This wine is all steak right now. There is so much to chew on. Time might let it spread out and show off more complexity. But for now it packs a dense punch. Big red people will love it. It is very good (4 of 5), very American, drinkable now, if a bit young, with a life ahead of it.