Cain Vineyard & Winery is in the forested Spring Mountain District but is located away from most of the main Spring Mountain wineries. The winery was founded in 1980 by the Cain’s and presently produces about 20,000 cases. Jim and Nancy Meadlock assumed ownership in 1991 after working with the original owners for a number of years. Cain is located about 2.5 miles in on the extremely narrow sometimes one lane windy Langtry road. No this road does *not* continue through to Sonoma County despite what online maps show! The winery sits high up on the Macayama’s ridge and as with other high Spring Mountain hillside wineries they sometimes receive snow in the winter. The vineyards range in elevation from about 1400 to 2100 feet with these uppermost vineyards among some of the higher vineyards you can find in Napa County. This is a beautiful location with great views of the ridge tops and of their vineyards almost 1000 feet below the winery. You need advance reservations for their Tour & Tasting – this is one of the most informative small setting Napa winery tours we’ve been on (good for the wine novice and expert alike).
Our brilliant tour guide Luke was a walking winery encyclopedia and had well thought out answers to any of the wine related questions asked of him (and compared to most tours we have taken in the Napa valley for some reason our group was bursting with questions… not a bad thing!). The tour winds through the fermentation tank holding room, the barrel aging room and ends in an elegant room with a long sit down table where you will taste three wines. The fining of their wines is done with egg whites (no filtration is done to allow for maximum color and flavor) and all natural yeasts are used during fermentation. Cain Winery concentrates exclusively on three very much blended wines. Part of the tour talks about the process of how they go from over 75 wines (blocks from the vineyard for each of the varietals) to just three wines in their final production blends. We have met with many small wineries who have maybe 2 or 3 blocks to blend, but with 75 your palate will be stretched to the max when making the final blend!
Their are several philosophies on when to blend; Cain tends to blend early allowing for maximum integration of flavors. Their flagship wine is the Cain Five which is a blend of the five classic Bordeaux varietals each of which is planted in their vineyards. This is high end wine which has been hand crafted down to the smallest of details. We tried the 2004 vintage. Lots of nice earthy aromas spring from the glass complemented with cherry and currant both of which follow onto the very ripe juicy palate. Their other two wines are the Cain Concept (only grapes from alluvial deposits or bench lands are used) and the very reasonably priced Cain Cuvee. All of these wines are rich and intense and are excellent drinking wines with food. Springtime is a wonderful time to visit this winery as there are many pretty flowers in bloom around the main building including dogwood, azaleas & rhododendrons. Visit: www.cainfive.com