Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley

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COST: $65-70

WHAT: Sometimes you just have to splurge for a nice bottle of wine, and what better time to do it than Masters Week?

Napa Valley is considered the best place for Cabernet Sauvignon, and for decades Caymus Vineyards has been one of the best of the best. This vintage reenforces that notion. It is a sexy wine.

The wine is deep scarlet in the glass with a fruity aroma, laced with vanilla and oak. It’s creamy and rich on the palate, loaded with flavors of plum, cassis and spice.

The wine is great with food, but you could sip it all night accompanied by nothing but a rocking chair and a cool breeze.

Caymus Cabernets are not single vineyard bottlings. They come from eight of the 15 sub-appellations of Napa Valley. Grapes grown on the mountainside give the wine brawn and the valley fruit adds suppleness.

Winemaker Chuck Wagner said Caymus Cabernets are “a blend of both mountain and valley fruit – creating dimension and richness in character.”

The 2009 vintage created some challenges for Napa winegrowers. When a mid-October storm threatened the harvest, Caymus decided to leave about 80 percent of its crop on the vines, gambling that the grape clusters wouldn’t rot. The gamble worked, and the grapes benefitted from longer hang time to reach maximum ripeness.

This is a wine you could cellar for about 10 years. Serve it slightly chilled.

WINERY: The Wagner family has lived in the Napa Valley for five generations, growing grapes there since 1906. They were producing wine and selling it to San Francisco wine merchants when Prohibition shut down all wineries.

In 1972, Charlie, Lorna and their son Charles J. (Chuck) established Caymus Vineyards and produced their first wines, 240 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. Since then Caymus has focused on producing quality Cabernet. They now bottle 65,000 cases a year, including some Zinfandel.

The Wagners took the name Caymus from the Mexican land grant known as Rancho Caymus, given to George Yount in 1836, which encompassed what eventually became the town of Rutherford and much of the surrounding area.

Besides Caymus, the Wagner family owns Belle Glos, Meiomi Pinot Noir, Mer Soleil Chardonnay and Conundrum White.

GOES WITH: Chicago-based Pizzeria Uno has a restaurant in Lexington, S.C., where I picked up a couple of unbaked pies. After baking one we decided the special pizza needed a special bottle of wine. The Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect choice.

The rich fruit and silky tannins of the wine stood up well to the Italian sausage and spicy tomato sauce of the pizza.

“We’ve been drinking some extraordinary wines, but this one is unparalleled,” said Teri.

The wine also would pair well with grilled meats, steak or veal in a nice Bearnaise sauce, or with rich, meaty stews.

WINE EVENTS

APRIL 5

Wine and tapas tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $19.99; (706) 722-4805

Wine tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; Paul L. Leary and Blackbird and Recuerdo wines; (706) 922-9463

APRIL 6

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three white and three red wines; $5 with $3 rebate on bottle of featured wines; (803) 279-9522

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

APRIL 7

Wine and beer tasting, 1-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

APRIL 13

Wine tasting seminar, 7 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; 11 J Lohr wines; single-vineyard wines, $15; reservations, (803) 279-9522

APRIL 19

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three white wines and three reds, plus cheese; $5 with $3 rebate purchase on bottle of featured wines; (803) 279-9522

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