Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
The highly sought-after Caymus Special Selection isn't called "special" for nothing. This collectible wine is produced using select barrels of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon of the vintage.
After tasting the 2008, we think it might actually be better than the heralded 2007 vintage. Plush, seductive, silky and complex - everything you want from this blue chip wine.
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Caymus Vineyards Special Selection is a reference point for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. According to Chuck Wagner, the patriarch of Caymus Vineyards, it is a blend of the best Cabernet lots in a given year. Until the 2008 vintage, Caymus Vineyard SS had been 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, but Chuck is now adding a small percentage of Merlot to soften the wine and make it a little more approachable when young. I tasted the three most recent vintages of Caymus Vineyards SS and I found them all opulent and almost exotic in character. The 2008 was the most exciting with an intense and powerful finish of wild fruits and velvety tannins.
Beautifully crafted, rich, intense and powerful, yet supple, graceful and polished, offering a generous core of spicy blackberry, black licorice, wild berry and light cedary notes. Full-bodied and expressive, this is both approachable now and sure to improve for several years. Drink now through 2020.
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection is the first example of this cuvee to include Merlot (about 14%) in the blend. The Merlot component has given the wine a cocoa/chocolate nuance to its black currant, licorice-infused fruit. The tannins are velvety soft and the wine is beautifully textured and full-bodied. It is ideal for drinking now and over the next 15 years.
Bright, full medium ruby. Black raspberry, bitter chocolate and licorice on the nose. Lush, sweet, concentrated and mouthfilling; not nearly as porty as the basic cabernet, with seamless dark fruit flavors showing more energy and depth than the regular bottling. The finish is smoothly tannic, chocolatey and very long. Like a liquid confection, even at this early stage: this really saturates the mouth. This is so sexy now that it's hard not to wonder whether the wine's potential flavor complexity has been compromised by its uncanny early sweetness. But it certainly has the stuffing to age.
In the full-blown style adopted by this wine some time ago, this newest version is rich, deep, full of concentrated black cherry and currant aromas and filled out at every stop by creamy, caramelly oakiness that might have been a bother if the fruit were not so very convincing. Full in body, fleshy in feel, viscous to the max on the palate, this wine is no shrinking violet, and while there will be those who find it somewhat over the top, it will be welcomed as a first-rate success by those who like a little heft in their wines. It is sure to reward years of cellaring.