Winery: Baily Vineyard & Winery
Product/Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Phil Baily
How They Describe It
“Cabernet Sauvignon is arguably the premier red wine grape. These grapes hail from the oldest vineyards in Temecula, planted in 1968 and purchased by the Winery in 1990. It offers warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint. These wines age beautifully year after year, offering a silky smooth texture.”
How I Describe It
I used an Aervana wine aerator to pour my first glass of Baily’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine comes across a shimmering semi-opaque ruby color — typical of Cab Sauv’s. There is a slight hint of garnet around the rim, a product of four years in barrel and bottle.
There’s a pronounced aroma of wildflowers and black peppery spice, alongside earthy petrol. Red cherry leads, with undertones of plum, blackberry, and cedar. If you really concentrate, you might pick up an inkling of wet newspaper and vegetal pepper — not in a way to deter drinking, but adding a layer of depth and interest.
Like most well-made Cabernet Sauvignons, this is a dry, full-bodied wine. My first taste brought back memories at my parents’ home in the San Fernando Valley, pouring a glass of Trader Joe’s 100% Cherry Juice — if the juice was marinated in European oak (i.e., more spicy than its American cousin). The fruit notes continue to sweeten as blackberry and plum take over.
This Cabernet has medium-plus tannin, but is super acidic. In other words, while my tongue only felt slightly leathery, there’s a pervasive tartness through the entire drinking experience. A slight vegetal flavor, combined with the high acid and relatively low 13.7% ABV indicates a possible early harvest. There is a note of toast and a somewhat creamy, velvety mouthfeel, indicating early signs of maturation.
Why is This Wine Special?
Just as with the Monte de Oro 2014 Petite Sirah, the Baily 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is estate-grown and bottled. Personally, I have tremendous respect for winemakers who can produce exceptional wines from their own grapes. In the case of Baily Vineyard & Winery, not only are all of the wines estate bottled, they’re actually crafted by the winery’s owner, Phil Baily.
One quality which makes this specific wine truly unique is it comes from the oldest commercially planted grapevines in the Temecula Valley, planted in 1968. Interestingly, Baily’s website describes how their wines are “sealed with Nomacorc ®, a synthetic cork that has all of the attributes of natural cork without the chance of tainted wines or bottle-to-bottle variation.” It’s a difference I noticed when opening the wine, though the resemblance to natural cork is striking.
When & How I Would Drink It
This is a solid Cabernet Sauvignon. Clearly, a lot of thought and passion went into producing this bottle of wine. It’s not so complex as to be disinviting or intimidating, but is more interesting than your traditional “easy drinking” wines. Absolutely something to pair with red meat or robust, heavily-spiced pasta dishes.
The Temecula Valley AVA’s climate is significantly different from the Bordeaux region, so producing quality Cab Sauvs, Cab Francs, and Merlots in the South California sun is no easy task. But Phil Baily and his crew manage to do it. Moreover, they were among the first in the Valley to do so, well, and they deserve many accolades for it.
How to Get It
Order Online: http://www.bailywinery.com/buy-wine
Bottle Price: $40
Cases Produced: unknown (450 cases were produced of the 2014 vintage)