The tastings in the private homes are limited to 20 people. This home is owned by two men from Toronto who are in the architecture/construction/home design business and I believe they said that they had designed this home. It had some nice builtins and a beautiful swimming pool in back. We started with sipping Veuve Cliquot on a balcony overlooking the pool and then moved to a sitting room on the ground floor for the sitdown tasting of wines from Cain Vineyard and Winery.
Cain Five is a blend of Bordeaux variety grapes that I have long admired. Chris Howell, winemaker, presented the wines. I had met him before at a previous Nantucket Wine Festival tasting.
Cain Vineyard is a 30-year old vineyard in the Spring Mountain District, on the Napa/Sonoma border. We had a vertical of Cain Five from 1998 through 2003. (They also make a Cain Cuvee and Cain Concept.)
The 1998 CAIN FIVE had a more mature nose than the others with a hint of leather and earthiness, some thought mushrooms or truffles. It was a bit grippy on the palate. While the 1998 vintage has sometimes been maligned by the public or critics, I and others enjoyed this wine and I have had other '98 Cabernets from Napa that I liked. It depends a lot on the particular location of the vineyard, the timing of harvest, and the amount of rainfall in the autumn.
1999 CAIN FIVE Faint suggestion of raisins (sultanas?) Some plum notes.
2000 CAIN FIVE Fruity, mild. I prefer this to the '99. The 1998 is more complex and shows some maturity.
2001 CAIN FIVE Some cherry. Leggy, tastes a little sweet. Smooth and an easy sipper.
2002 CAIN FIVE Appealing fruitiness. Back to a touch of earthiness but still elegant. Very well balanced and smooth; well integrated.
2003 CAIN FIVE Warm vintage but not the extreme heat experienced in Europe.
I was not alone in liking the 1998 best.
82% Cabernet Sauvignon in '98 and '99 and only 49% C.S. in 2000.