In the world of Napa Cabernet, Cain stands apart. The Cain Vineyard especially stands alone, thus the Cain Five is unlike anything else. What are the hallmarks of the unique character of the Cain Five? Undoubtedly, they are the complex herbal-floral bouquet (most unusual for Cabernet), and the firm structure wrapped in exceptionally fine tannins. The wine begs to be compared not with other Cabernets, but with many of the great red wines of the world—especially from cooler climates, such as Burgundy, Barolo, and Cote-Rotie. This could not be clearer than with the 2011 Cain Five. Open a bottle, pour it into a beautiful Burgundy wine glass and you’ll see instantly what I’m talking about. In particular, the 2011 Cain Five is not a “big” wine, but it is a beautiful wine.
The 2011 vintage is not about power, but about a silky, flowing palate and a gentle, lingering finish. The wine is not opaque—it has a beautiful deep garnet hue. While we always say that our wines are intended for the table, here is a Cain Five you can enjoy on its own. You might wonder, “How in a difficult year, can the Cain Five be truly enjoyable?” Everyone knows that the best vineyards do well even in difficult vintages. 2011 was difficult for those noted for massive, over-the-top wines. It was a late year; grapes were ripening in October, and the first rains came with fruit still on the vine. But our grapes were just fine on the steep hillsides of the Cain Vineyard, where the yields are always low, the soils are thin, the rain runs downhill, and there’s usually a good breeze to dry the fruit.
The unmistakable scent of the Cain Vineyard is of anise, raspberries with back-notes of wild herbs and roses. The palate flows smoothly and firmly from beginning to middle to end with a texture of washed silk. The delicate balance of the 2011 Cain Five is a revelation of what wine can be about. When so many wines have been “made” for maximum impact, at Cain we’ve been content to let the vineyard speak quietly. No need to shout when you have something to say. With all the noise these days about high alcohol wines, the 2011 Cain Five is a respectable (and honest) 13.1%, and we’re proud of it.
Cabernet Sauvignon 68% Merlot 20%
Cabernet Franc 5% Petit Verdot 5% Malbec 2%
100% Cain Vineyard, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley
January 1, 2016