A viticultural choice we made years ago at Caymus-to deliberately reduce our crop yields in order to increase concentration and intensity of flavors-put us well ahead of the curve going into the 1998 growing season. This vintage saw quite cool overall weather patterns for our region, and many vintners addressed that challenge by thinning their crops during the summer to give the grapes left on the vines their best chance to reach maturity. Our own crop reduction measures started at fruit set and continued through the season. As a result, while our yields were low even by our standards, we were very pleased with the quality of the fruit and especially its maturity level.
For even more selectivity, we picked our Cabernet in several passes through the vineyards. For example, we harvested Cabernet from one of our small estate blocks on October 1, 3, 13, 14 and 23. We were rewarded with the dark color and deep, lush flavors that we always seek in our wine. Following fermentation, we aged the lots separately, selecting primarily new French oak barrels, for 24 months before blending. I'm very proud of this bottling, truly the result of pro-active farming throughout a season of difficult weather conditions.
Color: Deep black-purple.
Nose: Spicy, layered aromas mingling black currants (cassis) with rich blackberry liqueur-the classic identifiers of deeply ripe Cabernet. These fruit aromas mesh seamlessly with notes of roasted espresso beans as well as vanillin from the toasted oak.
Mouth: The wine continues to evoke the ripe Cabernet flavors promised in the aroma, adding abundant, multi-dimensional flavors of blackberries and black licorice. The texture is dense, thick and mouth-coating, the tannins firm but sweet. Restrained notes of smoky oak enhance the flavor and texture without dominating. This is a generous wine with an exceptionally long finish. It should drink well for several decades.