Monday, June 8, 2020

Caymus 1858 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles

2018 1858 Cabernet SauvignonThis Cab has an impressive pedigree. Does it live up to the hype?

Backyard Tasting

This pandemic has certainly cut into our wine socializing. COVID-19 is a tragedy of epic proportions, but it also manifests itself in the tiniest recesses of our daily lives. Sipping wine with friends is one of them.

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We’ve begun the reopening process, albeit in baby steps. We have a nice patio and so we  invited our neighbors Mark and Lisa to stop by for some socially-distanced wine. Little did they know I had a surprise in store.

The Rise Of 1858

For some time I’ve been curious about 1858, a Cabernet brand produced by Caymus Vineyards. In the advertising for Total Wines it regularly appears as their best-selling Cabernet Sauvignon.

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While sitting in an informal driveway gathering (that’s what you do during a pandemic) with Mark and Lisa, they mentioned how they used to love Caymus as their special occasion wine. Caymus has a long reputation for excellence and their Napa Cab goes for $80 with the special selection selling for about $180.

They underwent a transformation after tasting 1858. The 1858 Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles sells for $35 (there is also a pricier version from Napa Valley) and, they said, delivers a very similar quality drinking experience. For that price, you can have special occasions any old day.

Rain Showers Cannot Stop Us

Gamma di Luna Pinot GrigioMy carefully arranged social distancing setup on the patio was perfect for the tasting. We started with a nice Pinot Noir bubbly from Goose Watch Winery in the Finger Lakes, but storm clouds rolled in and soon the raindrops couldn’t be ignored.

We ducked into our sunroom and waited for the shower to pass. After finishing the sparkling, we continued to roll with a chilled white Gamma di Luna Pinot Grigio thoughtfully provided by Mark and Lisa. I slipped off soon to return with a bottle of the 2018 1858 Cabernet Sauvignon and our tasting elevated to the next level.

The wine label is named for the year that Chuck Wagner’s great-great-grandfather purchased his first land in Napa Valley. Chuck is the winemaker and owner of Caymus.

I used my new Wine Breather decanter/aerator, which I’ll have to cover in an article. The Wine Breather aerates the wine twice, first as it is poured into the decanter and a second time as the wine flows from the decanter back into the bottle.

After that showmanship, it was time to taste the wine. At this point we were able to emerge outside to the patio again to enjoy the Cab. 1858 is a wine that delivers a truckload of flavor. There are bright red fruit notes with layers of spice, vanilla and eucalyptus. The flavors are extracted and bold. There is a touch of sweet oak and a mouthcoating finish.

This is a 2018 vintage and it undoubtedly will evolve with a year or two of aging. Just from sipping, this wine is made to drink in the near term as opposed to laying down for 10 years like you can do with some of the pricier Napa Cabs.

1858 is a solid buy for $35 and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. How does the Napa Valley version of 1858 taste? I’m curious to know. That might be the subject of a future socially distant wine update!

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