But if we learned anything from Sideways, other than to never order Merlot, the night you open such a beautiful bottle is the special occasion.
I first tasted this wine at the Caymus vineyard in Napa a little over a year ago (see here for a detailed account of the trip), and it has to be one of the best Cabs I have ever tasted.
Showing more fruit than many of the other fine Napa Cabs, cassis and cola are integrated with spicy oak and tobacco undertones. Full bodied, focused, and well structured with some minerality. Persistent finish with a ton of fruit. Consistently an incredible wine, it is not surprising that the 2006 Caymus Special Selection earned 94 points from Wine Spectator.
Personally I prefer the Caymus Special Selection to some of the other big expressive Napa Cabs (Joseph Phelps Insignia, Dominus, Quintessa, etc) because of its focus on dark fruit. Although I do enjoy big, earthy wines, I appreciate the balance between fruit, spiced oak, soft tannins, and hints of tobacco and earthiness as compared to minimal fruit, high tannins, and pronounced tobacco, leather.
Image from K&L wines
I served the Caymus Special Selection with two cheeses from Fox & Obel: Mona, a blend of sheep and cow's milk from WI, and Chabrin, a goat's milk cheese from the Pyrenees Mountains in France. Mona is produced by the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative. The firm cheese was sweet and nutty, with nice acidity, and a slightly aged texture.
Mona, image from Cowgirl Creamery
Chabrin reminded me one of my favorite go-to cheeses, Ossau Iraty. It was aged and a little harder than most goat cheeses, with slightly sweet nuttiness balanced with saltiness, but still maintained its creamy texture. Both the Mona and the Chabrin paired beautifully with the cassis in the Caymus Special Selection.
On a non- food/wine related note, I cannot believe this moment is finally here. It is the pinnacle of the last six, if not ten, years of my life. I am indebted to my family and friends for filling the long, arduous journey with love, laughter, and beautiful moments. To my Chicago friends, thank you for all of the wonderful wine and cheese nights where we could temporarily escape from being grad students. I love you all ♥
I want to share a quote with you all in honor of my father, who constantly inspires me to grow, learn, and work towards becoming a better version of myself.
As a new journey begins, I aspire to live my life with purpose and enthusiasm fueled by these words.
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.
To him he's always doing both.