Virtual wine tasting with Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyards


Caymus Vineyards' Chuck Wagner talked to the crowd of around 30 people at Total Wine on June 29

Photo by Dathan Kazsuk

All I need to say to you is – you missed out!

Yes, you! If you weren’t at the Wagner Family of Wines Virtual Tasting & Caymus 2011 Napa Cabernet Release, well, I don’t know what to say. On June 29, we made our way to our local Total Wine store to experience this one-of-a-kind tasting event. For just $20 per person, we were introduced to 5 Wagner family wines, with a live feed from Caymus owner Chuck Wagner himself.

Each of the wines Wagner told the history about making the wine, the complexity of each wine, and what to pair the wines with – so now I feel like I’m there for you to explain each one of these great wines – if you ever need my assistance.

It wasn't only Wagner Family wines that were poured that night. Others included Baldacci IV Sons Fraternity, Meyers Cabernet and Pina Cabernet D'Adamo.

Total Wine employees Alex and Michael poured generous portions of each Wagner family wine, which started with the infamous Caymus Conundrum.

At $19.99 a bottle, this unique blend of Viognier, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay is a bottle that can never go wrong at a dinner party. Chuck told us the best pairings for Conundrum is with turkey, seafood or spicy dishes.

Next we tried the Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay Ceramic. Retailing at $19.99 a bottle, the grapes for this wine were grown at the Santa Lucia Highlands in California, near the coast of Monterey – an incredible place if you haven’t been there. 

The Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay is kept in concrete silos until bottled, and then bottled in nice ceramic bottles. Jen and I aren’t big fans of Chardonnay, but this one was good enough to buy a bottle.

Total Wine had twelve different cheeses available to sample, which paired will with the wines that night.

Next was the Belle Glos Pinot Noir Meiomi. Wow! That was my first reaction to the toasty taste of this Pinot Noir. Chuck told the crowd of around 30 that his son, Joseph, has become a master at creating Pinot Noir, so Chuck had his son come out and tell us about the process of making Belle Glos Pinot Noir. This bottle, for all it’s complexity, only cost $19.99 a bottle. We picked up two bottles of this fabulous wine.

Each person attending the Caymus tasting received this free wine tote.  And we needed it that night to hold the wines we purchased.

We then started to get into their high priced wines, which included the Belle Glos Pinot Noir Las Alturas ($39.99) and the premier of the Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($64.99). Both wines were great, but I really enjoyed the flavor and classy balance of the Cabernet.

So, that was the end of the Caymus tasting. For the generous pours, seconds of a couple, and over a dozen different cheeses to snack on during the hour long event, I think $20 was worth it. But wait, there’s more. Total Wine’s wine manager, Alex, tells us all, “We’re Total Wine … and MORE … so we’re going to let you sample 4 other wines we selected that we feel fit in with the Wagner family wines.”

The group was excited about the news, and we delved into tasting 4 more great wines. 

We tried the Alouette Pinot Noir Sonoma County 2011 ($24.99); Baldacci IV Sons Fraternity Napa 2008 ($44.99); Meyer Cabernet Napa 2007 ($49.99) and the Pina Cabernet D’Adamo Napa 2007 ($79.99)

So in the end, I sampled 10 great wines for $20. So, putting it another way, I sampled a total of $364.91 in wine for $20. Not to mention the wonderful people at Total Wine gave us $15 off if we spent $100 or more. Which we did. So thanks for the discount, Total Wine.

New to our wine collection – a nice selection of Wagner family wines.

**All Photos by Dathan Kazsuk, Triangle Around Town