This family-owned winery has roots dating all the way back to the 1880s. They started by homesteading around 150 acres on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. The winery itself was established in 1971 by Lorna and Charlie Wagner.
These days Chuck Wagner, the owner of the company, works on making world-class wines with his children.
Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Review
Here I am reviewing the newest vintage of this bottle, 2020. I often say that this family and their wines have a “fingerprint.” They have an immediately identifiable style and profile, consistently delivering vintage after vintage.
I am also tasting the one-liter-sized bottle. This does not usually make a difference in younger bottles. That said, it causes bottles to age more slowly, making this a fun bottle to cellar.
Caymus Cabernet is a striking blue-violet color and looks absolutely gorgeous in the glass. A few swirls in the glass quickly produce legs that are fast to form and fast to fall down the glass.
The aroma of this bottle is spot on for what I had hoped for and expected. Rich blueberries, savory vanilla, and a bit of spice come through clearly.
This is one of those wines where you could hold the glass by your waist, and the smell would still jump out at you.
The taste of this bottle largely follows the smell. Lots of overripe blueberries, wild cherries, and dark plums come first.
This is followed quickly by hedonistic amounts of vanilla, a touch of chocolate, and a bit of oak. The one thing present in this vintage that I am not used to for Caymus is a bit of smokiness.
It did not strike me as smoke taint but more an intentional choice to flesh out the wine. Either way, I think it works nicely for the wine.
The wine has a bit more sugar to it than most Cabernet. That was expected, as it is a part of their house style. It lends a bit of body and richness to the wine and is part of the style of the winery.
What does Caymus Cabernet Pair With?
Personally, as with most richer wines, I would love to see this with richer meats and savory sauces.
I would reach for a more tender cut of meat, such as veal, in this case. And I would stay away from anything too fatty for the sake of consistency.
That said, I have a fun recommendation for the more adventurous. A raspberry pot de crème would be a fantastic pairing.
The fruit really pops with a pairing like this, and the richness of the wine can easily match the power of the chocolate in the dish. It is an absolute match made in heaven!
What are wines that are similar to Caymus Cabernet?
The family has a prolific portfolio to taste through. I highly recommend Bonanza Cabernet for a more budget-friendly option. I often refer to it as “baby Caymus.”
They also produce a reserve label, Caymus Special Selection, if you would like to take a step up from here.
Outside of the wines produced by the Wagner family, similar options include Faust Cabernet, Hunnicut, or Rombauer Cabernet if you want to branch out a bit further.
This wine delivers exactly what I had hoped. It is perfect for a juicy, rich, approachable wine. That, along with the clout carried by the brand, also makes it a perfect option for gifting or to have at your next get-together!
I would drink this bottle in the near future, but you could hold on to it for around five years or so to age if you would like one for the future.