1997 Cain Five Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #992073 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep red-ruby color. Slightly reduced aromas of smoky currant, coffee liqueur, minerals and smoked meat. Big, sweet and deep, with lovely acidity giving the fruit a penetrating quality. Has the strong extract to buffer its firm structure. Good ripe black fruit flavors. Finishes with very fine, mounting tannins and subtle persistence. Complex and claret-like. (ST)  (6/2000)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1997 Cain Five, one of the finest wines Cain has yet produced, is a superb blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec. This is a classy, rich, concentrated effort revealing copious quantities of black fruits intermixed with licorice, coffee, and vanillin. This wine is medium to full-bodied, with a velvety texture. This rich, elegant, intense, well-balanced, impressive red should drink well for 15+ years. (RP)  (6/2002)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

 This predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon blend could actually be Cain Four this year, as there’s no Malbec in the blend. Large and taut, it displays tightly wrapped prune, toast, coffee and currant aromas. Possesses a handsome mouthfeel, with full tannins, tarry pine bark and a cocoa note on the palate and back end.  (11/2000)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Rich and earthy, with a leathery, minerally streak running through a plush core of black cherry, currant, sage. (JL)  (3/2001)

Jancis Robinson

 Drenched in a lovely deep colour, this Bordeaux blend (truly Napa Valley in style) is multi-layered with rich and intense fruit. Concentrated, lush but elegant. 18/20 points.  (3/2002)

K&L Notes

This is the first year that Cain did not use any Merlot in the final blend. Cain believes the Merlot in 1997 was not seen as an asset to the blend and instead of forcing even 1% in there, it was left out entirely. The final blend came out to be 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petite Verdot and 1% Malbec. The wine is typical of a 1997 Cabernet blend, sweet and ripe with excellent concentration and density. Along with the sweet fruit comes some balance and finesse. The wine also shows a firm structure and a good deal of power. It should have no problem developing in a cellar over the next ten years. Definitely one of the best 1997s we have tasted here at K&L. Production for the Cain Five is 6,770 cases. (Trey Beffa, K&L Domestic Buyer)

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.