December 1 2006
Caparone Winery is going to do it. They are going to overtake them …
Next to Crushpad wine, one of the objects of my frequent affection is Caparone winery in Paso Robles. And with this post, I think Caparone takes the lead in the “Good Grape Wine Fetish Society,” a special place reserved for items of merit and distinction based on my own whims and flights of fancy.
Caparone makes traditional Italian table wines … or, I should say, they price their wines as if they are Italian table wines, but the quality far exceeds the bottle price—just $14 a bottle. If you buy in the tasting room or are a part of the wine club it’s just $12 a bottle.
Beautiful stuff, this is wine is.
The Caparone Cabernet, in particular, is excellent, perhaps one of the finest California Cab values you’ll find from a winery without much distribution—or, I least challenge anybody to find a California Cab with fruit sourced from the very well-known for its quality Bien Nacido Vineyard that is as good as this stuff is for under $30 bucks a bottle.
Dave Caparone, the founder of Caparone Winery, and his son Marc do just 6000 cases and are actually scaling back a couple of thousand cases.
So, it was with interest that I read the email newsletter from Crush Wine & Spirits based in NYC. Crush, of all the wine retail newsletters I receive, is the best at writing compelling “remove your wallet from your pocket and buy some wine” sales copy in emails.
And, on Thursday of this week they featured the 2002 Caparone Cabernet.
Crush had this to say:
The style of the Caparone 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon “Bien Nacido Vineyard” is that of the great California Cabs of the 1970s and 80s, emulating Mayacamas more than Caymus. In fact, finding a wine under $20 with cellaring potential is exceedingly rare, if not unheard of. Without a doubt, it’s the most terroir-driven California Cab we’ve had all year.
More than just fruit, this wine shows a complex spectrum of dark leathery earthen notes and a beautifully taut structure. Caparone’s wines, like Mayacamas, Dunn Vineyards or Chateau Montelena, are also famous for their aging potential.
They do not, however, show the same austerity in youth that these legendary Napa Cabs do. The 2002 Caparone comes out of the bottle with a potent sense of energy, like a fist clenched tight around fruit and earth. Within a half hour, the crackling acidity and firm tannins mellow, the fruit and earth come alive, and the wine shows an astounding harmony.
This is stunning wine that has remained largely under the radar, which is fine with us, because it means the price has remained as “old school” as the wine itself.
At $16.99, this bottle is priced as if it were still the 1980s. Trying to figure out a quality-to-price ratio would be inane, it’s so obviously one of the best values in Cabernet from the West, period.
And, in my estimation, they are absolutely spot-on correct in their assessment. But, if you want a real laugh check out this link on the Caparone site that talks about their pricing policy—invoking the name of the 80s tv show Falcon Crest.
But, what’s the real Good Grape Consumer Tip of the Day as alluded to in the headline? I’m going to give you two bottles and ½ bottles of this great Central Coast Cabernet for free.
Either way, you’re going to have to pay for shipping for this wine, so you might as well just go to the Caparone web site and buy it for $14 a bottle and not $16.99 from Crush Wine & Spirits. When you buy a case from the winery you will be paying $168 bucks + shipping (a bargain for sure) versus the Crush price of $203. The delta? $35 bucks or the equivalent of 2.5 bottles.
Trust me, you’ll want to buy a case. And, if in so doing you feel equally magnanimous and want to send one of your free bottles to me as a thank you, shoot me an email and I’ll give you my mailing address … of course I’m kidding … kind of.