The dinner was being served and the wine was all poured and allotted so that all six would enjoy Cain Cuvée wine equally. It was a bittersweet dinner, because Cain lost their structures and two years of wine due to a fire. Fires have been plaguing the northern wine country for several years, but for some odd reason I cannot fathom why a forest management plan has not been instituted. I have read that the ecosystem is required for certain insects that live on the ground, or at least that was the reason for past fires. I hope something is figured out, before the next fire, or will PlumpJack have to burn down, before there are any positive measures? I am cynical and upset that such a beautiful and secluded winery has to start anew for something that could have been planned for. Do we have to lose the Redwoods? The Cain organization, bless their souls set up an internet fund raiser for some families that lost their homes during the fire. I am glad that no one lost their life, and through short interactions with Cain, I have learned that they still have wine and library wines to sell that were housed in another facility, that was not damaged and my Bride and I will take some of our retirement allowances to help them raise funds through additional sales.
It was very festive up until the time we learned of the destruction, but the dinner plans were going to continue and to let our friends get to experience some wine that is not often found here in Michigan. Our only regrets are that we didn’t have enough matching crystal wine goblets to serve the wine properly, as we used commercial style wine glasses, but the wine was still superb. I had thought of making paper placemats with circles drawn to place the three different glasses of wine, but in the end, we decided to use dry-erasable ceramic pieces for either table settings or names of dishes on multiple chafing dishes. The three vintages were written on the ceramic piece, each in a different color and then a circle was placed on the base of a glass with the vintage in matching ink, to make it easier to identify and to go back to each wine and to taste each one with the different foods being served.
Over the years I have called Cain Cuvée, Cain-Lite because it is made with the same loving attention, and with the same five grapes, but from two vineyards and much more affordable. I still have in the cellar some of the original Cain Cuvée wines that have an actual vintage year. I mention this because now the wine is a blend of two vintages and the date on the label refers to the year of the blending. I think that it is a rather clever play on the term NV, as most of the time I use NV to mean Non-Vintage, some may think of Napa Valley and in some sort of texting language is can be read as eN-Vy or envy. A great way to create interest, especially the first year that they did it. Each blending year is a different blend and the wines are not a cookie-cutter duplicate of the year before and neither is the taste of wine, as compared to the Champagne houses that strive to have every batch of Non-Vintage taste like the last year for continuity and market appeal. The labels are now a diamond shape and the back label now reads “harvested, vinified and blended for freshness, lightness, complexity and balance.” The wines also carry a Napa Valley designation as the fruit can be from their Spring Mountain estate and from their Benchland vineyards. The labels are also written different. NV12 Cain Cuvee Napa Valley is a blend of fifty percent Merlot, thirty-two percent Cabernet Sauvignon, ten percent Cabernet Franc, four percent Petit Verdot and four percent Malbec. NV13 Cain Cuvee Napa Valley is fifty-one percent Merlot, twenty-eight percent Cabernet Sauvignon, nineteen percent Cabernet Franc and two percent Petit Verdot. NV14 Cain Cuvee Napa Valley is forty-eight percent Merlot, thirty-one percent Cabernet Sauvignon, thirteen percent Cabernet Franc and eight percent Petit Verdot. During the dinner, I read the blend of a different wine and everyone could try that wine compared to the last, and you will notice that Merlot is the leading grape for this group. The three wines were all wonderful and there were minute differences, but each was what a fine Bordeaux Blend should be, the nose, color and finish were all quite similar and if you think that they are all related, it is easy to see that. After dinner and waiting for our dessert, there was some discussion and in order of appreciation it was NV13, NV14 and then NV12 and it was opined by a couple of people that Cabernet Franc added to the complexity of the wines tasted, and I have always been a firm believer that Cabernet Franc is best for offering terroir to the experience. As in all good times, the affair ended and I think everyone there has a better feel for Cain and are praying that they can return as quickly as possible to what they do best, and I know that my Bride and I will have to discuss what else we would like to order from their library of wines being offered.