Cain Five 2016
Vineyard: 100% Cain Vineyard, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley
Varieties: 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot
Production: 3,593 cases
Estate Grown—Estate Bottled
2016 was one of those years, neither too hot nor too cold, where ripening could proceed smoothly and progressively, with no abrupt hot spells to cook the fruit. Harvest in the Cain Vineyard began in mid-September and by mid-October we were done. Rain began falling on the 14th of October. Yes, we really did pick before the rain. The wine shows that the grapes were fully ripe (14.3% alcohol) yet with tremendous subtlety and complexity—just the way we like it. Among the key factors were the relatively low yields of less than two tons per acre and the moderate temperatures that allowed the vines to thrive all summer long. We continue to discover the value not only of farming organically (Cain Vineyard is CCOF) but also of tending the soil carefully, to foster the engagement of the vine roots with their terroir. Too, our friends in biodynamics, and notably our longtime consultant, Philippe Armenier, have taught us the importance of living soil and the harmony of everything living in and around the vineyard.
The Cain Five tastes like nothing else—not because of us but because of where it grows. The main thing is that we seek to capture the originality of the vineyard and not to cover it up with winemaking style. So, we strive to choose the moment of harvest for each facet of the vineyard: neither too soon, nor too late. We allow the grapes to ferment with their native yeast and we use the barrel not for wood flavor but for a gentle élévage. With patience, if one pays attention and doesn’t push too hard, it all comes together.
Christopher Howell, Wine-Grower
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 1970’s 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.” (97 Pts)