Not quite OTBN (Open That Bottle Night) but a grand tasting of a selection of 1995 and 1996 Napa Cabernets from two distinguished producers with contrasting styles. Caymus produces Bordeaux style blends sourced from a combination of mountain and valley fruit from the reaches of Napa Valley. Del Dotto produces several labels including this Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Rutherford appellation.
We enjoyed these wines with a selection of artisan cheeses (below) and fresh fruits, and over a beef tenderloin dinner with green vegetables and baked potato. Tasted with L and Bill and Beth C. Bill had the '95 Caymus and I had the '96; we came together to create an occasion for a mini vertical tasting. We added the mini vertical of same vintage Del Dotto Cabernets for a pair of horizontals as well! At fifteen years old, these wines showed no sign of deterioration or diminution.
Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
Took more than an hour to open and stabilize. Medium bodied, dark garnet color with earthy blackberry and black and red cherry fruits, layers of leather, tobacco, cedar, and pencil shavings with finely integrated moderate tannins. Bigger and more fruit forward than the '96 below; less polished and delicate, lacking the soft floral, perhaps due to the simpler more focused blend without the Merlot. Maybe also a reflection of the vintages, contrary to, or in-line with the notes below.
RM 91 points.
Blend for this wine was 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc. The fruit was sourced from St Helena 47%, Rutherford 36%, Atlas Peak 9% and Mt Veeder 9%.
Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
This wine was opened two and a half hours ahead of time and burst with floral on initial tasting. Dark garnet color and medium bodied. Predominant throughout in the tasting, the bright vivid floral perfume highlighted the soft delicate nicely integrated fruits, harmoniously balanced and polished - currants, black cherry, subtle hints of vanilla, oak, spice, milk chocolate and cigar box with a moderate tannin lingering floral finish. After initial moments of brilliance, the fruit later fell off to slightly tart black cherry with a subtle leather finish took over, still accented by dusty rose petals and floral. Perhaps, this wine shows so well since much of the fruit for this bottling came from plots that are ordinarily used for the Special Selection which was not produced in the '96 vintage.
RM 93 points.
Blend for this wine was 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. The fruit was sourced from St Helena 29%, Rutherford 52%, Atlas Peak 11% and Mt Veeder 8%.
Del Dotto Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
Only starting to show a hint of age but still life left in this sixteen year old - dark garnet color, medium-full bodied, oak predominates the taste accented by spicy forward black cherry, berry, plum and cedar with hint of leather, cigar box and vanilla with well-integrated tannins on a long complex finish.
RM 91 points.
Del Dotto Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Dark garnet color, medium-full bodied - the black cherry and black currant fruits are starting to fall a bit giving way to a slight earthy leather and cedar but it still retains a layer of toasty oak with a hint of spice on moderate lingering tannins on the finish. Not as polished as the 95 above.
RM 89 points.
Artisan Cheeses tasted:
Mayberrry "Millenium" Year 2000 Sharp Cheddar
More to come. ....