I’m back wine world…and I’m better than ever! That’s right, I’m a mama…which makes me one of the wisest creatures on this earth, right? Going over 9 months without a glass of my beloved vino wasn’t hard at all considering I was growing this amazingly beautiful girlie in my belly:
my greatest achievement thus far, Magnolia Swann!
But I was sad b/c I wasn’t able to enjoy my “last good bottle of wine” before becoming preggers. You know the one…the bottle of wine you pick out b/c you know you won’t be able to enjoy anything for at least 9 months. Sadly, I thought of it like picking out what you’d have for your very last meal. The whole pregnancy thing happened a lot faster than James or I thought it would…(trust me, I’m not complaining at all!) so enjoying that last bottle of vino would be the only thing I wish I could have changed about my pregnancy…well, and all of the morning sickness. And if those are the only two things I would change…that ain’t too shabby!
If I was able to pick out a bottle of wine to enjoy pre-pregnancy, it would definitely be this bottle of Cain Five. Philemon & Amy (being the sweet and thoughtful wine enjoying friends they are) actually bought us this bottle as a “congrats for getting knocked up” present. Phil gave James strict instructions to hold onto it until I was able to enjoy it with him (thanks, Phil!)…and I think for the first time ever, James listened to Phil.
Mmmm, Cain Five!
I was introduced to Cain Five during our joint trip to Napa Valley two years ago (sheesh, it’s been that long?!). James set us up a bunch of fancy tastings at different vineyards and this was one of the most memorable. First of all, our appointment was at 10 o’clock in the morning. Oh the joys of vacation. It was a pretty long drive to get there and I remember it being mainly uphill, which paid off for the view of the vineyard (see below):
and sadly, this doesn’t do the view justice!
First off, Cain is a very small winery…and they like to keep it that way. They only produce a certain number of bottles and once they’re gone…they’re gone. As their website (www.cainfive.com) states, you have to have an appointment and it’s best to make it 4-6 weeks in advance. Thank you, James for being proactive! When we arrived at our 10 am tasting, the woman who was in charge was quite short and irritated with us. She told us that we were late, she had a tasting going on at that time and that we would just have to go down to the barrel room so we wouldn’t interrupt everyone else’s tasting experience. James was confused and was certain he made the appointment for 10am! Alas, while James was trying to fumble through his emails to find out the exact correspondence, she escorted us to the barrel room.
Obviously, she was trying to “punish” us for being late…but we saw it completely differently! It was awesome! We were free to walk around and check out everything at our own accord! She brought us 4 wine glasses and the leftover bottles of wine from the tasting…she would briefly talk about each one, pour it for us, then go back upstairs to her other guests. So, we enjoyed the wine and enjoyed the barrel room.
James, Amy & Philemon getting tipsy at 10am.
cheesy photo opt? Sure! (and yes, this did make it on our Christmas card that year)
When she finished up her other tasting, she came down and chatted with us a bit more about the wine and such. Then, she decided since we were there…she would give us a quick tour around the grounds and guesthouse.
It was at this very moment (above) when James was walking and talking with the lady that she realized he wasn’t the person she thought it was! GASP! That’s when she said, “OH! You’re the Executive Chef from Mississippi?!…you’re the one I actually wanted to see!” Come to find out, she thought he was a liquor store owner from the mid-west that stored her bottles upright instead of horizontal, which she was irritated about. And obviously, he didn’t even show up for his tasting. Hmmp. Anyway, all was cleared and she apologized and apologized for being so rude to us and just “throwing you in the barrel room!” Little did she know, it was one of the best tastings I’ve ever experienced!
James, moi, Amy & Philemon.
Consumers: James & Sara
proud papa and chef, James.
more importantly, Sara!
Name: Cain Five
Region: Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley
Grape Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon 68%, Merlot 16%, Malbec 6%, Petit Verdot 5%, Cabernet Franc 5% (which is obviously where the name Cain FIVE came from…a blend of 5 different grapes they grow)
Alcohol content: 14.4% (but we guessed it was higher)
Food pairing: Rosemary salt encrusted bone-in rib eye with apple wood smoked bacon creamed spinach and crème fraiche mashed potatoes
the only thing I can credit myself for in this picture is almost completely devouring that bad boy!
Color & Appearance: opaque, very dark ruby
Nose/Aroma: The first thing I said upon sniffing? “Mmm! That’s good!” It took us straight back to the tasting room at Cain Five! It was a very powerful smell that included leather, blackberry and small hints of strawberry.
Mouth/Flavors: Super well rounded, very smooth, definitely tastes like California, cinnamon, spices, dry with hints of cassis and berries (after it had time to open up, James admitted to me that on first sip he thought it was flat. He said, “I wasn’t going to say anything b/c I didn’t want to ruin it for you…but I thought it was flat…I’m definitely glad it opened up and got lots better!”)
Rating: Sara-10! James-9.5
Impressions: As you can tell by my rating, this is one of my favorite wines…definitely in my top 3. Not only does it take me back to an amazing experience in wine country and with amazing friends, it’s an all-around amazing wine! I would recommend anyone who enjoys a great blend, to try out this wine. It is pricey, but it’s definitely worth every penny!
even Mags joined in on the fun!
And this fancy dinner ended exactly how the majority of our dinners end…trying to sooth a crying Mags while shoveling food in our mouths. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!