Help me figure out what Cab profile I like

Hi All!

I’m relatively new to wine having gone to Napa for the first time with my wife a few years ago. Following our most recent trip we’ve become consumed with trying to find (and store) our next new favorite wine.

Our first favorite was (and probably still is) Caymus, both the regular and the Special Selection. During our most recent trip we landed at Lancaster Estates, which is one of our new favorites.

For less expensive, every day drinkers, I really enjoy the Coppola Director’s Cut Cab.

I’m curious if there are any particular tasting notes common to these wines. If not common, what are the typical descriptors of Caymus or Lancaster Cabernets?

Thanks in advance!


wow such a beautiful experience you have…

Lancaster Estate and Coppola both use air-dried tight-grained French oak to make their Cabernets, while Caymus also uses American oak (which adds very strong vanilla and dill flavors). There is a recent thread about good Cabernets under $30. I would recommend sampling any of the California or Washington wines mentioned there and drawing your own conclusions…you might also try Ridge Cabernets or Zinfandels (which are also aged in American oak).


Thanks for the information. I’ll definitely have to check out the $30 cabernet thread.

During my last trip to Napa we made a stop at Del Dotto and got the chance to taste the same lot of wine from multiple barrels, one French barrel and one American barrel, and we were amazed at the difference. The French oak seemed much more subtle, American much more “in your face” (for lack of a better phrase), which seems apt given our “American” culture.

We’ll definitely also check out Ridge. Single vineyard wines are tons of fun and still amaze me at how different one can be from the next.

Thanks, again!


Having a hard time finding the $30 thread, any chance you have a link?


EDIT: found it…

Walt, I think you nailed it with the oak. American oak can be quite heavy, think marshmallow, vanilla, butterscotch, and sometimes dill, whereas the French barrels tend to run the more subtle gamut of spices. It’s great to taste a variety and find what you like.

The Caymus Special Selection tends to be ripe and a bit sweet. I don’t know as much about Lancaster, but they are fairly ripe wines as well. You might try some of the South American Malbecs. They tend to be priced well, making experimentation easy. Overall, look for wines from warm climates such as the wines you listed from Napa and Alexander Valley.

Happy hunting,


Thanks for the tips on South American Malbecs, we’ll definitely start experimenting!

I’m glad to hear “ripe” as a descriptor for the CSS and Lancaster. I frequently find it hard to articulate what I like about a wine (maybe that’s why I practice tasting wine so much!). I can definitely tell that I enjoy both the Lancaster and CSS for similar reasons, perhaps it’s the ripeness that I enjoy.

My new mission will be to find wines described as ripe and see how I like them!

Thanks, again!