TN: 2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary (USA, California, Napa Valley)

  • 2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary - USA, California, Napa Valley (5/22/2014)
    I was excited to try this wine given the Napa 2012 growing season. I drank it from the same bottle over three nights. The first popped and poured, the second night after 24 hours under gas, and the third just with the cork in and the bottle half full. On the nose were very ripe, almost over ripe black fruit, cassis, and a hint of cinnamon. However, on the palate, I was very disappointed on all three tastings. It is dominated by caramel, vanilla, and cream with a slightly sweet taste. This flaccidity obscures much of the fruit and I could barely detect any tannins to provide balance. The wine did not improve over the 48 hours and if anything, the caramel grew stronger and the profile became more monotonous. It did have a pleasant gylcerol mouth-feel. It seems to me that it is probably grossly over oaked, probably with new French oak and was probably harvested late. I have not seen any vintner’s statistics on this product. I have three more bottles and it will be interesting to see how and if it evolves. It reminds me a bit of the “great” 1994 Napa vintage that was a crowd pleaser right out of the shute, but declined rather rapidly with time.

Posted from CellarTracker

Caymus doesn’t make wine for the sophisticated palate, they make wine wine for the novice.

Pretty much agree. The nose was the best thing about it for me. Beyond that it reminded me more of a Jordan than anything good from Napa.

A little disappointed to hear this. I ordered 4 bottles that were on what I considered a good sale. I have always enjoyed Caymus, and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser at parties. I will open one when they arrive and go from there.

I have not had a bottle of Caymus of age younger than the 94 Special Selection. I loved Caymus in the 70’s and 80’s, drank all the great SS’s, the 75, 76, 84 (my all time favorite) etc. Had case verticals of all the estate wines in the 80’s. Saw their decline in the 90’s and have stayed away. Until now.

I bought this out of morbid curiosity and in response to this thread.

Opened a hour ago.

Preface - I like ripe wines.

Quite possibly - this is the worst $50 wine I have ever had. It is a hot, alcoholic, syrupy mess. The nose is actually offensive, just really bad (Sweet - like cough syrup), and it tastes like Grape Jelly with vodka in it. It has zero - I mean zero - Cabernet character. You would be hard pressed to identify this as cabernet.

Perhaps MegaPurple - or another adulterant - is involved here. I know that’s a harsh accusation. But, there is more than just ripe fruit going on in this wine.

What a truly sad thing that the winery that the Wine Spectator featured on their cover in 85 or so, with a handsome picture of Charlie Wagner in his overalls (Chucks father) and the caption “Best damn cabernet in California” - has come to this.

Very sad to read all of this as I bought some. I’ll beg to differ about that 1994 being good and dying fast though, bottle #12 from my case was terrific last summer.

They have a formula or style, and it works for them, big time. They make hundreds of thousands of cases (, and it’s not because nobody’s buying it. They have been around long enough to be very familiar with how to make and market the juice. If they produce this type of wine, you can be sure they have a pretty good idea that it will be successful, regardless of what WBers might think.

Hey Doc…

I didn’t mean the 94 S was not good - quite the contrary. But the decline, and ramp up in production, was in full bloom by that time.

How you liking that move north?

Just saw this last night at The Hollywood Bowl (Patina Marketplace) for $200 per. Bargain!!

Very strange.
‘Yackman’ on CT loves it. :wink: flirtysmile

can’t help this…does he have the palate of a yak?


I appreciate that you are right about this. Does not make it less sad. They were “it” 30 years ago. Now, not so much (amongst people that know)…


It is sad to hear. I stopped buying after the '95 vintage, but will always remember the '91 fondly as it was the wine that made me realize there was a step up in quality among wines. These wines were among my first case purchases. Then I was introduced to Bordeaux…

Might these get better with some time after the fruit, oak, and vanilla integrate a bit?

I’ve suspected the mega purple thing for around 7 years now. There just doesn’t seem to be real cab fruit behind the wine. Obviously not something you would expect for a $50+ napa cab…

The wine side of me hates them, but the business side of me can respect what they are getting away with. Just like there’s an ass for every seat, there is a wine for every palate.

There are always a bunch of haters out there.


Of course they might.

In my experience, wines that have some aging potential have some or a lot of acidity on release, and have some balance between the fruit and the acid. This often makes these wines not too palatable the first year or two after release until some integratation of the two starts taking place. This wine has very little if any acidity and the fruit, if there, is obscured by the caramel/vanilla of the oak. You can be sure that I will not be opening my other three bottles this week, but I’ll see how it goes in a year or two. . or five.

I think everyone needs to let these rest for a few years and checkin 2020.
In terms of quality change I disagree that it went down as early as 1994. I think it got softer in terms of tannins around 1997, but usually like the regular bottle better than the Special selection up until 1996(the year they did not make a SS and just a Napa).

I may have a chance to taste this at a retail tasting Memorial Day. If so, I will post my impression. The last vintage I tasted was very ripe fruit but appealing in a way that a newcomer to wine might appreciate.