Bay 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Oakville Appellation is the first straight Cabernet
Sauvignon bottled under the Gain Bay moniker, so it certainly is the finest single bottling to date!
After the ’08 Cabernet Family inventory blew out after the 90 Point – Editor’s Choice degisnation,
I started looking at samples just before harvest, but it was an in-between time – too early for 09’s and too late
to find quality 08’s. So I waited.
Just after harvest was over, an old friend caught up with me with this block of barrels from the Oakville Appellation
and I jumped – it was nearly perfect! All that was left was round the aroma
off with one barrel of Cabernet Franc, which I found from last year’s supplier and I added one barrel from the St. Helena
Appellation to excentuate the softness in the mid-pallette and the wine was done. Bottled
in St. Helena the first week of December, 2010, this wine is exactly what a negociant looks for; complex aroma of earth, oak
and subtle plum and berry, silken texture with bold currant and cherry flavors, and a complex finish of pomegranate and spice. It’s a classic Gain Bay wine with the silken texture, but more assertive and
bold than previous wines.
Vintage: 2009 in Napa Valley was ideal, as long as the grower held down the
tonnage and fully ripened the berries before a mid-harvest rain set in. Otherwise,
it’s a textbook year for Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. The crop size
was moderate. Harvests dates were either early or late, depending upon the crop
load and that rain. For those earlier ripening vineyards, the flavors were fully
loaded and intense and fruitful.
Initial aroma impact is of earthen forest floor, and in the background, plum and cherry emerge. On the palate is where this wine shines. The wine is best
described as unbelievably silky smooth, with a velvety texture. Flavors of cassis/plum/and
berry bound from the glass. The finish is unusually complex, with lovely moderate
tannins, and slight pomegranate tones. Fully powerful, this wine’s beguiling
aromas, soft textures and a complex lingering finish are exquisite.
The Specifics: Cabernet Franc (4% of the blend) is the heart of the aroma and, not since the 2005
vintage has something this berry-like shown up. The Cabernet Franc was aged oaks
from various forests, but all older ’05 barrels – perfect! The Cabernet
Sauvignon came from 2 sources. The main lot (92% of the total wine) was from
a vineyard in central Oakville appellation. The last lot (just 4%) is from one
of two barrels off my father’s little vineyard in St. Helena – pure power here!
Gain Bay 2009 Cabernet Family
TA: .56 g/L Alc.:14.7% pH: 3.91 VA: .68 g/L Cases Produced:548 Bottled December 2, 2010
Varietal Make-up: C
abernet Sauvignon 96%, Cabernet Franc 4%.
Suggested retail: $24.00