Steven Tanzer in his International Wine Cellar called the 2008 vintage in Napa Valley for Cabernet a "very pleasant surprise. The low yields and vine stress made for small, deeply colored, highly concentrated grapes. Many cabernet producers in Napa Valley told me that the skins were rich in phenolic material and easy to extract... I particularly enjoy the immediate aromatic appeal of many of these wines—especially the floral and mineral tones that are not yet as widely evident in the generally denser and more serious 2007s. In retrospect, it may turn out that winemakers who got their fruit sufficiently ripe, yet made wines with a somewhat wider range of ripeness than usual, will have produced wines with atypical complexity."
Wine Spectator rated the 2008 vintage for Napa Cabernet 90-92 points, saying it "could be unique for its depth and concentration."
Caymus Vineyards has made Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley since the winery was founded in 1972. Charles F. (Charlie) Wagner, his wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner and their son Charles J. (Chuck) Wagner built their winery among vines planted on the family's ranch in Rutherford, a district long recognized for producing high-quality Cabernet Sauvignons.
Charlie Wagner planted most of the Cabernet vines in the mid 1960s, before this variety was universally considered the "king" of Napa Valley wines. He acquired the loose-clustered, intensely flavored clone he planted from Nathan Fay, a well-known grower in the Stags Leap area. "I liked the character of Nate's wine, and he told me to help myself if I wanted some budwood," Charlie explained. "He was a generous man, and he knew I wouldn't injure his vineyard."
For both the Napa Valley and Special Selection bottlings, the goal is a balanced wine that tastes delicious when bottled but can improve with age. Chuck Wagner attributes the quality of the wines to farming and winemaking techniques developed over the decades.