Cain Five is the flagship of Cain Vineyard & Winery and rightfully so. Back in the day, only a few wineries were making blended wines and going after nuances and complexity in California, they were doing there own thing. I guess you have to look at it from my viewpoint and history. Fifty years ago, you had the Medoc, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol and some of the wineries there do spectacular jobs, but these were the wines that I first had in my self-taught and self-appointed education of wines. Considering that I started out making a dollar and a quarter an hour, I ended up with quite a series of wines that I had and I am glad that I saved the labels, because who would have believed it. The reason that I bring this up, is because, even in my early years of being a clothier, customers would tout me on wines to watch for and Cain Five was one of those recommended. The first time that I had it, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and reminded me of my youth and some of the awesome wines of that era, versus the big, bold jammy wines that I was drinking at that time from California for the most part, the wines that defined Napa Valley.
I remember booking a reservation for the tasting at Cain, and even back then, it was the only way to do a tasting, along with a tour of the grounds. We had already been in Napa for a couple of days, by the time we were going to Cain, and we were spoiled, because all the wineries were in close proximity to each other and going from one end of the valley to other, was not that long of a trip. Then we went to Cain, and back then, we had no GPS devices on our phones, but we had bought an auxiliary GPS that we carried with us a part of our luggage, no to mention that pages of computer print out of maps to the various wineries that we knew we were going to. Cain defied our logic of thinking that everything was close by, when we got off the main road and start ascending up the mountain side on a rather shaky two-lane country road. Finally, we saw a sign post up ahead and thought it would be directing us to Cain Winery, how silly of us, it was a sign that said “End of County maintenance of the road” and this questionable two-lane road became a lane and a half, and I am being generous. It got a bit hairy as we were still going up, with the popping in the ears and we would have to hug the mountain side at a dead stop, because a panel truck would be coming down the road on the cliff side. We did finally make it to Cain with just moments to spare for our tour and the tasting afterwards. In 1980 when Jerry and Joyce Cain purchased the property which would become the mountain vineyard, the vineyard was dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Fran, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The fruit inspired the name Cain Five and the first vintage was in 1985, the winery was originally “Cain Cellars” and their first crush was in 1982.
We had the good fortune to buy two Cain Five wines from their library and a six pack of a current vintage. Cain is a mountain winery and they pride themselves that the fruit is hand harvested, so they can actually pick the grapes at the proper individual time, because the vineyards are too steep for machinery. Spring Mountain District is a lesser known AVA and plenty of the land is forest covered and too steep, and the growing time is different, because of the elevation and the lack of the fog that settles in the valley, and the AVA was only issued in 1993. The fruit for Cain Five is all from one vineyard, estate grown and estate bottled. The two older wines that we purchased was Cain Five 2007, and it is a blend of sixty-eight percent Cabernet Sauvignon, sixteen percent Merlot, six percent Malbec, five percent Petit Verdot and five percent Cabernet Franc. The six pack of Cain Five 2015, which is their Thirtieth Vintage is a blend of fifty-five percent Cabernet Sauvignon, twenty-eight percent Merlot, eleven percent Cabernet Franc, five percent Petit Verdot and one percent Malbec. The great thing about a six pack or a case is that one can actually follow the maturity of the wine over years. I can foresee some grand dinners and parties centered around our new and old collection of Cain wines.