Ty Caton Vineyards
2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Ty & Ty Again…
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit Ty Caton and secure some of their unique 2003 Cab for our operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Ty Caton
Wine Subject: 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Ty Caton
The fruit for this unique and tasty Cabernet Sauvignon hails from Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District. Stags Leap District became an AVA in January 1989, but the region shot to fame in 1976 at the Judgment of Paris blind tasting (see the movie Bottle Shock) when resident winery Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar topped the best of Bordeaux. The Cabernet from this region is among the best in Napa Valley.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark deep garnet with a dark but clear core and deep ruby edges. Slow clusters of thins legs ring the glass when swirled.
Smell – The nose of this still developing wine is bold and intense with aromas of raspberry and blackberry over a dusty fennel component. Toasted cedar and cigar tobacco along with some black pepper and a tiny earthy note round out the bouquet.
Feel – Smooth and dry, then tangy with a touch of spice on the mid palate. This full-bodied wine has firm tannins and good acidity.
Taste – Bold fruit leads off this wine with flavors of tart plums, black cherries and blackberries. Toasted cedar and cigar tobacco are nicely layered of its fennel and spicy pepper components.
Finish – Long and clean that lingers with its fruit, toast and tobacco components.
Conclusion – The 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet is indeed a unique wine with all the classic Cabernet components but is definitely full of fruit. This wine is certainly ready to drink now, decant for at least an hour, but without any doubt is still developing and will continue to grow and become more complex as it ages.
Read about Agent Red’s original encounter with Ty Caton here when he discovered their Field Blend Red.
TY CATON: This is Ty.
AGENT RED: Ty Caton, Agent Red calling.
TY: Are we on a secure line?
RED: We are. I know how busy you are, so thanks for spending a few minutes with me today. Is harvest keeping you busy?
TY: Yes, but we’re about half way through. Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, and Petite Sirah are off – and next week the Cabernet Sauvignon will start to come off. By mid-month, we’ll be done and crush will continue. I won’t get a great until right around Thanksgiving!
RED: Such is the life of a winemaker, eh?!
TY: Indeed. I have to tell you, 2008 is looking really great. We had some crazy weather, but because of our elevation, we didn’t get hit hard by the frost like other wineries did.
RED: That’s good news! Tell me, Ty, how your career in winemaking began. Are you a lifer?
TY: Actually, I have a background in real estate development. When I was 26 years old, after completing a real estate project, I caught the wine bug. My parents has land in Napa. We became partners, and I began growing grapes.
RED: But that wasn’t enough for you, was it…
TY: No. I had made good friends with our neighbor, who was planting his vineyards at the same time. He turned out to be the winemaker for Ravenswood – and he continues with Ravenswood to this day.
RED: That’s Peter Mathis, right?
TY: Correct. We worked with Peter and, in 2000, released our first vintage. I’ve been honing my winemaking abilities ever since.
RED: I’d say that you’ve done a great job in that regard. Your 2005 Field Blend Red Wine is a super-delicious treat. Here at Wine Spies HQ, we really love the wine.
TY: Thanks. The Field Blend Red is a really special wine. I call it my ‘mini-TyTanium’.
RED: So-called for your TyTanium wine – your flagship, right?
TY: Exactly, but where my TyTanium is a $65 wine, this Field Blend is less than half the price.
RED: We declare the wine to have an exceptional QPR. Its really a great wine, with very distinctive layers of aromas and unique flavors. Its delicious!
TY: I’m glad that you like it. I pick grapes for flavor and blend for maximum effect. I strive to create head turning wines that are rich and deep, yet approachable and fun to drink.
RED: Congratulations, then! You’ve managed just that with your 2005 Field Blend Red Wine!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Stag’s Leap District where the fruit from this wine was sourced can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Silver Medal – 2008 SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE WINE COMPETITION
About This Wine:
This unique wine leads with aromas of cassis and cedar cigar box. On entry it has a velvety texture and full palate impression with fruit flavors of plum, black cherry, vanilla and toasty oak, followed by a soft, silky finish.
About The Winery:
Ty Caton Vineyards is dedicated to creating wines of distinction with an authentic sense of place. Our commitment to excellence begins in the Caton Vineyard, where Winemaker Ty Caton sustainably farms all of the grapes used in our Sonoma Valley wine. As one of the few exclusively estate producers in Sonoma Valley, California, Ty personally works with the grapes from soil to glass. He handcrafts his wines in small lots with an acute awareness of the land that enables him to make wines that truly showcase the vineyards. Ty Caton Vineyards is forging a new definition of quality in winemaking and Actively Seeking Excellence.
About The Vineyard:
CATON VINEYARD – Located in the foothills of Sonoma Valley, the Caton Vineyard is defined by its sustainable farming and belief that healthier vineyards produce very unique and distinctive wines. The vineyards have multiple sun exposures, soil types, and vary in altitude over 300 feet between each other. Our meticulous farming practices showcase the love for our land and our passion for the wines that come from it.
We achieve wines of authenticity by working with nature to showcase the true flavors of the grapes. Ty Caton personally manages the entire winemaking process, from planting the vines, to farming the grapes, to making the wine here in Sonoma Valley. By using exclusively estate grown grapes he is able to have complete control over the process and personally tend to the wine from soil to glass. His acute awareness of the land enables him to make wines that show the great potential of the vineyard site.
Ty Caton’s philosophy is that wine is a natural product and should be treated as such. His winemaking uses limited intervention, which allows the wines to speak for themselves and import the true expression of the vineyard. He ferments with wild yeast that naturally occurs in the grapes so that the wines are manipulated as little as possible. As a Sonoma Valley winemaker and grape grower he strives to produce the ‘wow factor’ by creating wines that are bold, highly extracted and beautifully structured. Ty Caton believes that blending is an art form and uses master blending techniques to combine different grape varieties and clones to create wines with many layers of complexity in aroma and flavor. By allowing the grapes to show their true character and enhancing it through blending, Ty Caton is forging a new definition of quality in Sonoma Valley winemaking.
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Napa Valley
Oak: 20 months in French oak – 40% New
Bottled: February, 2006
Production: 1250 Cases
Cellaring: Enjoy now or hold up to 15 years