Cain Cuvée (cue-vay means "blend") is a new style of Cabernet blend: this wine is not all about Big Oak and Inky, Drying Tannins. In our Cain Cuvée, we look for bright aromas to combine with a mouthwateringly fresh palate and a silky finish-just the thing to complement todays lighter and spicier dishes.
The NV8 Cain Cuvée is a blend not only of varieties, but of vintages: the aromatic 1998 and the deliciously sweet 1997. 1998 gave us many perfumed and silky wines- just right for Cuvée&3151; which married perfectly with some special lots that we saved from the 1997 vintage to be able to add more sweetness and richness to the final blend. In 1998, the fruit was comparatively late to ripen, and it ripened under cooler conditions, especially up in the mountains, resulting in more perfumed wines (cedar and berries), slightly less alcohol, and smoother, more elegant tannins. Because the spring and budbreak came so late in 1998, after the copious and rich harvest of 1997, we correctly anticipated a later harvest, lower yields, and more delicate wines. So we held back some of our excellent 1997 wines with a view toward complementing the 1998s.
In the tastings we did in the spring and summer of 1999, we found just the right wines and proportions of the 1997 to blend with our 1998s to achieve our classical Cain Cuvée goal.
To blend the NV8 Cain Cuvée, we drew on fruit from the Cain Vineyard, others on Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain, and especially from the Oakville and Rutherford Benches and the Conn Creek area, along the Silverado Trail. Naturally, we handle the fruit and the wine gently and are judicious in our use of new oak. The wine was bottled in the spring of 2000 after slightly over a year in the barrel, then aged for another year in the bottle. As we write this (January 2001) after twelve vintages of Cain Cuvée, we have found them all to age gracefully. While we like to drink them young, all of them-even 12 years old- are still drinking well.