Hello friends. We usually try to end each year with a special offering. Back on December 21, to end 2012, we offered a library wine from Cadence: their 2004 Klipsun Vineyard blend.
I knew there would be interest in older Cadence vintages. After all, Ben Smith has built his reputation in large part on crafting elegant, age-worthy wines. Still, even I, ever-optimistic, underestimated the breadth and depth of interest among our list members. I suspect Ben was pleasantly surprised as well, because he and the gang at Cadence have offered us another dip into their library pool (and better yet, at tariffs that match today’s release pricing).
Today we’re offering a pair of wines with historical significance to Cadence. Cara Mia Vineyard, the Cadence estate site on Red Mountain (location here), was planted in 2004, so the 2006 vintage marked the first year with usable fruit from this site. Ben produces two wines from Cara Mia: Bel Canto and Camerata. In subsequent years, his wines from this vineyard have garnered enormous praise. Today we have a chance to hop in the Delorean and go back in time, back to the beginning of something special.
[Note: I’m also going to include some bonus wines for list newbies or reorder-seekers at the bottom: that 2004 Cadence Klipsun library bottling mentioned above, as well as the current-releases (2009 vintage) of Bel Canto and Camerata.]
2006 Cadence “Bel Canto” Cara Mia Vineyard
Cara Mia is an incredible site. As you can see on that vineyard map, it’s well up Red Mountain, and it contains a mix of sandy loam (normal for Red Mountain) and a mishmash of cobblestones and clay (much less common on Red Mountain). With each vintage, Ben makes two wines from Cara Mia: a left-bank Bordeaux blend and a right-bank blend. Bel Canto is the right-bank blend, always predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Back in 2006, it was a near-even split: 52% Franc and 48% Merlot.
It’s the Cabernet Franc that shines on the nose, a truly alluring mix of notes earthy and floral, with the black fruit relegated to the background. The palate is something special. Ben is known for his wine’s textural elegance even in their youth, but this bottle, now seven years past vintage, is a textural marvel. It’s seamless across the entire palate, silken-textured. It drinks you as much as you drink it. This is a prime example of why right-bank blends work so well. The Franc does the heavy lifting for flavor (earth, black fruit, savory mole poblano), while the Merlot handles the supple texture. The combination is sublime.
I’d say this is entering its peak drinking window and will continue to evolve and bring pleasure for at least another 5-10 years. Gorgeous stuff.
2006 Cadence “Camerata” Cara Mia Vineyard
The first vintage of Camerata from Cadence could easily have been labeled Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab is a full 94% of the blend; the remaining 6% Cabernet Franc. If flowers and earth played the starring role for Bel Canto, here it’s Red Mountain minerals, a noseful of iron filings. The palate too substitutes mineral for earth, mixed with rich cassis fruit (this displays more primary fruit than Bel Canto) and a ferrous/sanguine streak, a drop of blood in the back of the throat. The texture is again completely seamless – no holes – and transitions into lovely, dusty, fine-grained tannins on a looooong finish that is very much Red Mountain Cabernet.
First come first served up to 12 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.