97 Points James Suckling - Exotic aromas of dried fruit, flowers, bark, sandalwood and dried flowers. Pine cone, too. Full-bodied with wonderful, refined tannins with riper tannins that show softness and pretty length. Harmonious. Just a hint of chocolate. A beautiful 1970s vibe to this. 57% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, 14% cabernet franc, 9% malbec and 5% petit verdot. Drinkable now, but even better in a few years.
57% Cabernet Sauvignon
14% Cabernet Franc
5% Petit Verdot
Estate Grown—Estate Bottled
Some three decades ago, in 1989, we offered to the world the first vintage of Cain Five— the 1985. Now, thirty years later, we’re thrilled to release the 2015 Cain Five. A lot can happen in thirty years. Many wineries (most?) haven’t been around that long. Some have come and gone. For us at Cain, it all began forty years ago, and today we think it’s just the beginning.
Coming off the last of a series of drought years, 2015 gave us the lowest yield since 1990—yields of less than one ton per acre—almost unheard-of throughout the world of wine. There were many factors. Although the prior years had been relatively dry, in 2015 we had enough rain, however the rain came early in the Winter and was followed by a dry Spring leading to an early budbreak. This early start to the cycle meant that flowering came early too. For us on the mountain, an early bloom can be difficult because it might occur with the Cain Vineyard enveloped in clouds. This was the case in 2015 and so that June the flowers set little fruit.
A low yield is traditionally associated with high quality. This case is no exception, however, a vintage with few berries, small berries, and small clusters has its own challenges…such as too much of a good thing. From tiny berries grown on a mountaintop, it’s easy to produce a wine that is inky black, hard and tannic, or else massive and sweet.
But, not to worry, at Cain our goal has always been balance and grace. And we know our vineyard and the wines it can give. In the vineyard, we watch the vines carefully in order to catch the moment of ripeness before the sugars skyrocket. In the cellar, we handle the fruit gently, and conduct the maceration carefully to allow the berries to yield their essence before the wine becomes clumsy and heavy.