Caymus go to great lengths in vineyard selection, farming practices and winemaking techniques to make sure they produce a high quality, consistent Napa Cabernet every vintage. Chuck Wagner took over winemaking duties from his father in 1984 after twelve years of on-the‑job training. Here he is in his own words on Caymus.
"Being born a farmer, producing our grapes and our wine is naturally a thrill. I believe that what I started with my parents in 1972 continues to improve 40 years later. Climate is of huge importance when making quality wine. Secondly, soils. Most soil types in Napa Valley that I have worked with make good wine, however we search out well drained low vigor soils as a rule, where the vines struggle to produce a concentrated crop. We have found there is quite a difference in the grapes from mountaintop and low elevation hillsides, compared to what we grow on the Napa Valley floor. They are all good, and all different. The mountain yields harder tannins and higher acid making it difficult to make supple wine – and yet it is a spectacular blend component, adding rich texture. We concentrate our efforts on the better soils and aspects of blending together wines produced from eight of the sixteen sub-appellations. We are not a single vineyard production winery, instead preferring a focus on producing a wine that represents complexity through judicious blending.
I have heard mixed opinions about the 2011 vintage for Napa Cabernet. It was a cool year that brought all of us a poor yield and very late ripening. But all things considered, Caymus Cabernet may be light in quantity yet extraordinary in character and I think one or two points above the 2010 vintage. The Caymus house style prevails as this wine’s hallmark. When should you drink this wine? I stand by my belief that a good old wine was likely a good young wine. Our focus continues to be on making Cabernets that are scrumptious in their youth but can age with the best of them. This wine can be enjoyed upon release while it is chock full of youthful exuberance, or it can be cellared for a decade or more when the wine'ʹs color lessens and it'ʹs once fruit laden force matures to a cedary bottle bouquet and more refined characters."
TASTING NOTES: A dark, scarlet red colour, with powerful aromas of sweet ripe cabernet grapes. Initial impressions are fantastically appealing, brooding to expansive textural sensations of finely grained cacao tannins. The whole of the wine is balanced, rich, expressive and impressively complex. The backbone of fine tannin and sweet ripeness is a carry-over from perfectly mature fruit.