A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Review

I was lucky (blessed) to have two birthday dinners this year, and for my first “pre-birthday” dinner I was gifted a bottle of Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011. They say to never look a gift horse…but I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that when others gift wines that have been aged, it’s hard for me not to feel a twinge of anxiety about how well the bottle was looked after. 

I’m excited to say that the 2011 vintage did not disappoint. The bottle was opened just after the appetizers were ordered, in efforts to allow it to breathe until the entrées arrived. Dinner started with a bright and zesty Caesar Salad and champagne, and for my entrée I had a roasted mushroom, spinach, and gouda spanakopita. It was a perfect pairing! Being vegetarian, I know to instinctively swap the suggested meat pairings for either a mushroom or eggplant-based plate (though I like to steer clear of large portobello mushrooms because I often find them very watery).

The 2011 Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon had aged beautifully; the cork was perfectly intact, the wine was full bodied and there wasn’t much light getting through the juice (which is perfect!). In the glass there was just a touch of tawny-ness along the rim, while the rest of the pour was a deep garnet. I was also picking up on aromas of “smoke” - something quite similar to a Lapsan Souchong (a Chinese black tea known for its smoky and woody aromas). I also picked up on what I would describe as “warm blackberries” on the nose - like if a basket of blackberries had been left in direct sunlight for an afternoon. 

On the palate the tannins were well rounded and soft, with a touch of dried flowers, and bursting with dark fruit flavors such a blackberry and blueberry. There was a nice spice - one that I wouldn’t associate with “bite” of tanins or acidity, and the mouthfeel was like velvet…it had a gentle weight to it. The acid of this wine kept it drinkable, and prevented this full bodied wine from feeling too weighty, or heavy. After letting it breathe for about 45 minutes, after my first two sips (my brain honestly short-circuited on the first) my words were “..wow!” Needless to say, if you have the opportunity to get your hands on this beautiful wine, please don’t hesitate!

The Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon is Rutherford Napa Valley grown. The Special Selection isn’t consistently harvested every year: on “challenging” years, they may choose not to pick the fruits, and the amount of cases produced varies from harvest to harvest. For their wines, Caymus practices what they call “hang time” which is when the fruit is allowed to remain on the vine for as long s possible - meaning taking the chance of an early winter arrival and the loss of fruit; but if things go as planned, results in an increase of color, more mature tanins, and a beautiful suppleness of the fruit. This practice is one of the many things that makes Caymus so famous for their Cabernet Sauvignons. The increased ripeness of their fruits is what makes their wines such a joy. 

Want to see this wine in action? Head on over to my Instagram account, and check out my #SipsNSkincare feature, located in my Series tab! I’ve made a short Reel to share with you there. 


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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog