Brief Impressions 2014 William and Mary Cabernet

Although I try to drink my Cali Cabs with a few years of age on them there are always exceptions to the rule. I grabbed one of these out of my cellar to bring to a byob impulsively the other night with no time to decant. Last time I opened one I also did Pop n Pour which was about 6 months ago. Back then it showed beautifully and was quite expressive.

Same experience again, although I am not great at notes, I know what I like and its potential. Right out of the gate shows big dark fruit, big but in no way overripe like many of its counterparts. Rather the opposite, deep dark rich fruit, very dry, with slightly firm tannins, that no way detracted from enjoying currently but indicate it has plenty of structure to age for at least 10 years. A very classic style that will only get better over time. Hopefully I can keep my paws off my remaining bottle, so I can see how they age. Stupidly I skipped second release but wont make that mistake next release. Easy 93+ with upside potential with some age. No affiliation, just a big fan.

Thanks for the note! I had this wine a week ago next to a 2014 Caterwaul. Same experience as you on the W&M, great now but seems to be all upside. The Caterwaul was decidedly larger with more overt fruit, Napa through and through and just flat out delicious. My impression was, age the W&M and drink the Caterwaul now.

Count me as a fanboy. Still shows up in my signature.

The 15 and 16 are outstanding as well! Amazing black fruit with edges of red and great complexity/layers.

Just tried them a couple weeks ago. Go long on W&M for sure. Will is hitting his stride.

I opened a ‘14 the other night with Scott Brunson and loved it all over again. Really expressive and 2-3 hrs in was singing.

I am looking forward to more information on the new Proprietary Red. I have bought the last two releases but would love to have a more budget conscious bottling to stock.

Thanks for the great note Jonathan.

I too am a fan. I finally got around to opening a 2014 earlier this year- double decanted it about 12 hours before a dinner that started off with 2015 Prums, and this was served among 1995 Lynch-Bages, 2000 Pavie and 1986 Gruaud-Larose and a few others. It was not a carefully planned tasting, so it just worked out nicely to have the wine in the context of some key traditional vs “modern” European stalwarts.

The William and Mary was the hit of the night from what I could see. It was the first bottle to turn up empty.

For my part, to abbreviate a very long CT note, I found it really wild and close to the edge- but with time showing a really firm core that spoke to great future potential. And not just slowly mellowing as many big CA Cabs do- but actually transforming and showing lovely secondary and tertiary notes.

Time will tell, but for now I am all-in on William and Mary and I think it has the potential to be a wine of great significance in the recent movement I have seen in Napa where a number of serious winemakers are striving to make more balanced and ageworthy wines without sacrificing all of the riveting edginess that got a bit too far afield for a time (i.e. too much oak and alcohol.)

For my birthday in a couple of weeks we are going to try the 2015 in a flight with EMH 2015 Black Cat and Mondavi To-Kalon Reserve 2015. I am hopeful that will be an exciting second chapter in the story.

Had a barrel sample back in May, and it was as you might expect; great, yet a really different wine than the Cabernet. Same quality level, but the flavor profile is true the varietals. I’m looking forward to it.

The 2015 Cabernet is a continuation of the great wine that the 14 is. In case any one wants an update on that.

Thanks, Ian.

I tried his 2016 from tank a few days before it was bottled a couple week ago. It was without any question his best wine so far, and it was evident from the first sniff. If you are in thus far, I highly recommend you stay in.

Tasted it from bottle yesterday, 50% Merlot 50% Cab Franc, delicious.

Any word on the price, Brian?

Details, details… rolleyes less than the Cab but I didn’t ask, sorry.

I am high maintenance, I know.

In light of Will’s release of the 2016 Cabernet and the Prop Red next week, here is my note from tasting the 2015 with Will back in May, along with thoughts on the 2016s from barrel.

  • 2015 William & Mary Cabernet Sauvignon Shifflett Ranch - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/29/2018)
    Tasting with Will Segui (Mending Wall - Napa): Opened a couple of hours before tasting; nose of dark red fruits, cloves, spice; so elegant on the palate, with sweet raspberries, cherry, and a soft, light woodiness; definitely some older-world, rustic nature to this wine; heavily structured but still so very good and easy to drink right now; corked and kept cool; days 2 and 3, the fruit profile became a bit darker and the tannins intensified, confirming the wine’s structure; this is quickly becoming one of my favorite Napa Cabs (96 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

With regard to the 2016s:

The 2016 Cab was similar to the 2015 in all respects with maybe a touch more dark fruit up front. The 2015 did change over a day to two days of being opened so it’s difficult to say where the 2016 may go but I would only think it will continue to improve. Will bottled the 2016s about a a week or two after we sampled. Definitely buying.

What I am most excited about is the 2016 Proprietary Red. We tasted the Merlot and Cab Franc separately and then together. Both of these are 100% Shifflett Ranch fruit. I mistook the Merlot for a single vineyard Cab it was so complex, perfumed and wonderful, but I got the Cab Franc correct and it was delicious by itself. As a blend, they were even better.

I love the Merlot from that site, Will needs to do a 100% Merlot!!