Wine Talk

Snooth User: Maniac Henziak

Caymus 08 Cab

Posted by Maniac Henziak, Dec 24, 2010.

Great wine!  The price is higher than I like at $56 but I felt is well worth it.  Cheers!!

Replies

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 24, 2010.

I'm not a lover of Caymus products in general, but that wine is way, wayy, wayyy too young to even think of drinking.  Pure infanticide.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 24, 2010.

Ooh, nice one, upping the "baby killer" line of (I think) GregT.

Yeah, why are they even releasing it before next year?  I am seeing "serious" reds that shouldn't have left the winery... in the US people just aren't that patient.  If you bought a 2008 futures from Bord, they wouldn't even have shipped it yet if it was top end.

Interesting that the '06 is getting about $20 more; $56 is in the ballpark of what I see the '08 for on the web right now--$59 is the most common price. Makes you wonder.

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 25, 2010.

It's funny I opened a bottle of this last night for Christmas Eve and it's drinking really well already.  Could be a theme for 08' CA cabs.  Lower yields, more approachable early.  It's a high sugar wine also, making it a good bet for novices like my wife and mother-in-law who both loved it.

My notes:

Sugar plum & currant, with spicy oak and chocolate. Savory, lingering finish that evokes toasted walnut and mild to medium tannins. A crowd pleaser that could use a couple of years to integrate the oak but otherwise is drinking very well right now. Have to wonder how many bottles will be consumed this weekend. 

92-93 points

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Reply by Maniac Henziak, Dec 25, 2010.

It was my first Caymus wine and was very pleased.  And I agree, it's drinking quite nice already.  I picked up a couple more bottles for storing.  Cheers!

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 25, 2010.

If that wine really is "drinking well" right now, it's everything that's wrong with California CS.

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 26, 2010.

Oops, looks like an opportunity to plug that old thread of mine...

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 26, 2010.

GDD: As you know, the market reality is that, if it is for sale in a wine store in America, it has to be ready to drink because that's what the vast majority of people do: buy and pour.  If they open it and it hasn't come together, they won't buy it again, they will tell their friends it was disappointing, and the stock will sit on the supermarket shelves  (and you can buy Caymus in a grocery store here, so it's not just for afficionados). The fact that they are releasing it this early means the winemakers made that choice when they started picking grapes.  Caymus probably decided, in '08, that the market would continue to be tough, credit would be tight, and sitting on inventory was going to be financially ruinous. So they made a wine to drink young. Note that in '89, WS named the '84 Caymus WOTY. Five years after vintage, not two. Not sure if they have a coporate owner these days, but they may have just felt they couldn't hold wines until the market got better and the wine business recovered a little.  If it does. My sense is that Caymus is now a well-known producer at the upper end and probably does appeal to folks who want to impress but are buy and pour types--like Silver Oak and Artemis.  Drinking well now does suggest it won't reach greatness that $80 bottles should, but look at what has happened to that price:  It's under $60 now. 

We're also back at that old question: Is making wine that lots of people like (too young, too flabby, too hot, too oaky for us oenophiles) wrong? 

GDD, please have a glass of Hall or Chappellet and remember that Cali can do a good job.  Keep buying the good ones and support the winemakers that do it right. Keep slamming the ones you don't like, too--but I think that there's always going to be wine that disappoints you (and me, and a lot of people). 

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 26, 2010.

Didn't have time to pull the link earlier, so here it is:

What's wrong with California Cabs?

Plenty of others, too, Foxall. I still like Mayacamas, Montebello (though it's evolving), C. Krug, and even more, without heading into the even pricier ones....

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 26, 2010.

Dm - I saw this thread the other day and actually thought of it when this post on Caymus came up. What you bring up in thread of What's wrong with California Cabs could almost be taken as speaking directly to Caymus.

Their pricing hasn't risen as dramatically as other Napa Cabs but it's definitely an anti-purist type wine with plenty oak skewing what many critics would like to see come out of their terroir. They've gone in a different direction lately, and it's winning new fans - especially with many of those new to wine, and as a result they are offending many who have appreciated their wines in the past.

After reading all of the critique on here and elsewhere, I felt a little disappointed that I liked it so much, but i'm glad I was aware of what the wine was lacking while drinking it...it actually made for an interesting experience.  There's a good fruit core there and I think a lot of the smarter wine makers in Napa will have good efforts with this 08 vintage. I was gifted this wine recently, and wanted to open it early in order to figure if I wanted to buy more, and for better or for worse, the answer is yes.

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 26, 2010.

@Fox - Definitely agree with most of your points...One thing though is I didn't get the 06' Hall Cabernet at all.  Tried it a couple of times, and it just seems very boring to me. 

 

Also, a note for those who might be interested in buying this 08' Caymus - to put it in perspective I thought it's a bit better than the 06', and didn't care for the 07'.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 27, 2010.

JonDerry: Haven't opened an '06 Hall yet.  I have a couple different years in the basement, but I am pretty sure I haven't gotten that far.  I'll certainly think about it when I get there.  I think the last one I had was an '05.  There's absolutely no doubt, in speaking to winemakers here in Northern California, that the struggle between what they like and what they can sell is always on their minds.  And there's ratings points, if you are growing or large already, because that affects whether big retailers will carry your main label.  Caymus is, in Cali at least, a wine you can find at big retailers, including grocery stores in wealthier neighborhoods.  Nearly every winemaker I have ever spoken to went into it for the love of wine, but nobody wants to go broke, and that's a constant threat these days.

My wife and I drank chardonnay--not our favorite varietal--with the co-owner of a favorite boutique Napa winery in October.  (We stumbled in totally unannounced and got really lucky that she liked us.) Best chard I have had in... maybe ever.  We drank it right out of the stainless tank.  She admitted that she and her husband, who is the owner and winemaker (and former general manager of BV), liked it the way we were drinking it, but would probably add some oaked wine to the final cuvee for purely commercial reasons.  And these folks are real artisans, who stepped away from the huge corporate wine world, got deep-pocketed backers so they wouldn't need to sell the business if they had one tough year, and stayed pretty small. Imagine the pressures at Caymus.

I've had experiences like that one in Dry Creek, too, where the winemaker's favorite wine (and mine) was sitting there while a lesser vintage or cuvee was selling very well.  (This happened twice when I was standing with the winemakers, and, even after generations in the business, the look on their faces is unmistakable.) Sometimes someone who doesn't "get" the wine will say something in front of a whole tasting room of customers--usually completely off the mark--and virtually no one will ask to taste the wine until that group has moved on and been replaced.  Now imagine that it's Parker or WS dissing the wine. And we know what they like. 

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Dec 27, 2010.

Foxy, the US is definitely a pop 'n' pour market, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  ;)

Wines like Caymus don't come close to warranting their price.  They don't have low yields, which can kind of support a higher price tag via supply and demand, and they don't get better with age (usually).  I totally agree that Silver Joke and SLA fall into the same category.  They're poorly made wines that people love to overpay for.

That's not to say they taste bad, they're just boring.

Rant over.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 27, 2010.

GDD, we will agree on that rant many times over.  We have in other threads, specifically about those two wines.  I think probably the majority of wine is sold to pop and pour everywhere, but it's worse at the high end in the us--you could go on about wealthy US consumers and their tastes in lots of goods. That's why the Mauritsons, Taltys, Bells, and a lot of other small wineries with word of mouth appeal to me.  But the market is going to be with us this way for a long time.  Just bring your own wine when you know your host is a Caymus/Artemis/Silver Oak pourer.  Now go have something obscure from Alto Adige.

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Reply by dkimball141, Dec 27, 2010.

Just because a wine is a pop and pour does not mean that it doesn't have the make up to sit in the cellar for a few years.  Caymus can age- time will tell.

 

Bottom line- Drink what you Like and Like what you Drink.

 

 

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Reply by JonDerry, Dec 28, 2010.

GDD - To me, Caymus & Silver Oak don't belong in the same conversation, other than with their price points.

Definitely agree that Silver Oak is mediocre at best.  Any time I see someone buy it I consider it money flying out the window.


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