August 5, 2017 | POSTED IN

The Story of a Forgotten Cabernet

occasio winery heritage collection 2011 cabernet sauvignon handcrafted-2

Our 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon remains a bit of a mystery to me. It was the first of what became back to back cold, wet harvests. A difficult year for many in Northern California, I felt 2010 produced some of our finest and most structured wines. Yet our 2010 Founder’s Cabernet Sauvignon was never part of a club release, nor was it ever entered into a competition. In fact, other than harvest notes and lot card entries, nothing is known about this wine. Not a single bottle remains in our Library. The last bottle sold sometime in October 2013 – a mere ten months after it first appeared on our tasting menu. Vanished!

The first Occasio Cabernet Sauvignon was produced 2009. That wine was rated 90 points in the Wine Enthusiast, and we were so excited about this that we forgot to place any inventory controls on the wine. Then, in December of 2012, we found ourselves out of Cabernet Sauvignon, and nobody wants to be short Cabernet during the holidays. So, 2010 was put on our tasting menu, and our ’10 Zinfandel was assigned to the next February’s release. This part of the story is well documented.

By the next November, our 2011 Founder’s Cabernet was ready for its release. By this time, there is no mention of the 2010 Cabernet; it was on the tasting menu in September but had disappeared by mid-October. And the 2011 Cab came out with heavy accolades: Double Gold and Best of Class at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and another 90 points in the Enthusiast. By then, 2010 was a footnote.

Yet my personal tasting notes rank  2010 as one of my favorite vintages out of a series of well received vintage Cabernets. That is why I am relieved we had the foresight back then to craft a reserve Cabernet, a Cabernet built to improve with aging. There was but one barrel of this wine, the blend spending a few extra months in our T5 barrels to marry before bottling. Since then, the wines have remained in the darkest and coldest part of our cellar for five years. Now, this wine will become a part of this quarter’s release to our members, and a final opportunity to experience the forgotten vintage that was 2010.