Aromas of ripe black cherry, cigar box, cocoa powder, sweet cinnamon stick, and leather. The wine is full-bodied with black currant and tree-ripened Bing cherry fruit flavors, as well as a hint of cracked black pepper. The finish has roasted coffee notes and structured, sweet tannins. The wine has good acidity providing the ability to age as well as a juiciness that pairs well with food, particularly black pepper crusted ribeye steaks.
Varietal Composition: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec
Grape Source: 100% Sustainabley-certified Red Cedar Vineyard, Paso Robles AVA
Our family has been working the land since 1898, when we started a lumber business in Aberdeen, on the coast of Washington State. We began with lumber and forestry, and have thoughtfully and gradually expanded our family business to include table grapes, wine grapes, and wine.
Today our businesses are at home in Olympia, Washington (our company headquarters); Hoquiam, Washington; Walla Walla, Washington; Delano, California; and Paso Robles, California.
Because we’ve had five generations in the family business, we’re interested in building things that will last, for the fifth, sixth, seventh generations, and beyond.
CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, ID, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MI, MT, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY
FedEx Ground: Monday, April 30th - Wednesday, May 2nd
-il Cesare Sole Absolute Triple
Exalted High Tastemaster Supreme
“In the entire world there are only a few sounds that bring joy to all but the most jaded. One is the murmur of a kitten purring. Another is the thwack of a well-pitched baseball hitting a perfectly swung bat. And the third is the pop of a cork being pulled from a bottle of wine.” —George Taber
@rjquillin I bought the December offering, and I am tempted at the case price. I just have a LOT of CS in my cellar and not much room for more currently. So I’d be in for only a bottle or two at most, though I do recommend the wine in general, particularly at this price point. If others in SD need a little bit of help rounding out a case, though, I wouldn’t mind.
I’m not much of a wine drinker, so imagine my surprise when I saw that I had a package being overnighted to my house from Wine Country Connect, which reminded me of the Casemates Kickstarter I supported to get a sticker.
It’s a pretty cool sticker!
Being a semi-productive member of society, I wasn’t home when FedEx attempted to deliver the bottle. Luckily, they’re only a few miles down the street from me, so I was able to pick it up a few hours after I got back from work.
Here are a couple of photos of what arrived.
Bottom of the bottle
I couldn’t find a bottle opener, but I saw a trick on YouTube where you can use a lighter to heat the neck and get the cork out.
That worked pretty well.
When I do drink wine I usually doctor it up a bit to make it a bit more drinkable. I figured a Cabernet Sauvignon blend would make a great sangria. To start, I poured about a quarter of the bottle into a plastic cup. My initial impressions were that the wine had a nice reddish color, and that it didn’t appear to be carbonated.
Next, I added 3 packets of Splenda, a tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate, Craisins, and a handful of ice cubes to the cup. After letting it sit for a few minutes to cool down, I took a sip. There was a good sweetness to the wine, and the orange really came through. I didn’t get a strong cranberry flavor, so I may mash the Craisins with a rolling pin when I make the next cup of this. Seems like a good wine to me, especially if you like red wines.
If you didn’t make it this far, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. In reality I was surprised when I saw an order had shipped and did a double take to see it was being shipped overnight. That never happens! Then I looked at the weight and realized I didn’t have a case on the way, but a bottle. A GOLDEN TICKET, I’m a Lab Rat!!
I’m pretty 50/50 with whites and reds (usually not at the same time unless it comes from the winery that way). To give you an idea of what I like, so far my favorite order from the site was the St. Amant Winery Mixed Reds offer (they are now on my instant buy list), and my least was Little Vineyards Band Blend Track 9. I’m a big Zinfandel fan; my order history shows 4 of them. The only Cabernet Sauvignon I ordered was the Esoterica by Kent Rasmussen Mixed Reds, so I’ll compare it a little to that.
So, onto the tasting! Burying my nose into the glass right after I pour, I smell alcohol. There might be a little pepper there, but it’s mainly alcohol. For comparison, the Esoterica has a bit more of an earthy smell, but I can pick up a tiny amount of alcohol, probably because I’m looking for it.
After a few minutes the alcohol smell diminishes and I smell cherry. It has nice legs, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s very dry with little noticeable sweetness. I didn’t find it overly flavorful. After a sip I’m left with a dry mouth and little spice that fades away. While searching for a word to describe it, “thin” comes to mind.
The Esoterica has a nice balance and if I had to use a single word to describe it, I’d pick “spicy”. The Esoterica is less dry, and also a bit more flavorful while it’s still on my tongue.
Later, at the Hall of Justice.
After letting the wine site for an hour I came back to it. It smells of alcoholic cherries. It definitely seems to benefit from aeration. Typing this up before the deal goes live, I’d price this around $10 to $15 a bottle, and admittedly Cabernet Sauvignon (the majority of this blend) isn’t my go-to wine.
I had sushi for dinner, and if instead I had a steak, I think this wine would have been a good bottle to select. While I bring wine to my favorite BYOB establishments, I also like to have a bottle, er, glass while watching a movie. This wine definitely is one that goes better with food rather than a movie. The tannins would really stand up to a rich meal.
@rlmanzo That would be one rat’s opinion. I bought this wine at the end of woot and was kicking myself for not buying more. It reminds me more of a $30ish bottle of red, like a Chappellet Mountain Cuvee just off the top of my head.
@rlmanzo What are @scott0210@Shrdlu, chopped liver? You have two former wooters who say they wished they had more of it from their December orders, one of them says it drinks above its price point. Then we have today’s lab rat, who, humor aside, says CS isn’t his favorite grape, and pairs the bottle with sushi. So I tend to give less weight to that review.
To me the overall takeaway is that it’s probably pretty good, especially for the $$.
@rlmanzo I bought this in the December offering and had a bottle a month or two ago. I don’t have any detailed notes, but I do recall that I liked it. I do recall that I felt like it would benefit from a bit more cellar time. I tend to like older CS, though (think 5-10 years minimum). So at this price point, it’s an amazing deal, especially if you want to cellar it for a time, and I honestly don’t think you’d be disappointed. It’s a food wine, but a good food wine.
@rlmanzo@scott0210 I could not agree more. Wish I could have bought more at the last WW offering. It was a 4 pack so purchased a full case. This wine is wonderful. I just purchased the full case and I wish I could buy more than 1.
@rlmanzo@scott0210 I got three bottles of this on the September WW offering and my wife and I enjoyed them all. I really don’t understand the lukewarm comments about this wine-- I think it’s a really good price performer, especially at the case price we have here. I’d go for two cases if I could. I generally like Paso Robles wines, and have liked all of the Clayhouse Estate bottlings that I got via WW.
Decided to open a bottle from the last WW offering, just to see what the fuss, or lack thereof, was about.
Full disclosure: I have a bad cold. and, after 6 months of WW and 4 months of CaseMates, I have come to the conclusion that I know nothing about tasting wine. Think back to when drinking wine was about, “red with beef, white with fish,” or, "A glass of red for me, and a glass of white for my <significant other, date, etc>. Finally, my usual go-to red from the local liquor store is the Coppola Claret. That said, read on at your own peril.
Pop and pour (Ok, I learned some of the lingo): Nice, nearly opaque maroon color. I can smell a bit of dark fruit or berries, but not sweet-more like the wild blackberries in the back yard; a slight earthiness (but not nearly so much as my father-in-law’s homemade wine); and a bit of alcohol. It doesn’t smell like other pure Cabernets I have tried–less distinctive.
First taste: Can’t put my finger on it: not terribly fruity, some alcohol but not overpowering. A hint of spice/pepper, maybe. Mouth feel: medium: not oily, not watery. Somewhere in the middle. Moving on, things start to get a little pucker-y as the wine moves along the tongue. Not out and out tart, but I can taste a little more of the spice, and the fruit fades just a touch. Just a bit of a tingle from the spice. Finally, there is more of a pucker factor at the end: not unpleasant, but a drying sensation as the wine moves along. It was interesting for me to try and break down a swallow into different parts, and to sense the different tastes and feelings during the progression.
I then had a glass with dinner (coconut curry stir fry from a kit with beef strips. Hey, dinner was already planned). The wine went surprisingly well with dinner. The kit had more curry than we had expected, but the wine and its flavors held up to it.
Two hours and one middle school meeting later: the “nose” was leaning more to fruit, less to alcohol and spice. The tasting: definitely taste more spicy-ness initially, and in the middle. The dryness or tartness is increased as well, from the middle through the finish.
Overall, I liked this. It is not a heavy Cabernet, and definitely tastes different than the Coppola. While I might prefer the Coppola just for drinking, this wine was fine with an unusual dinner choice. I would feel perfectly fine serving this to friends who consider themselves oenophiles–that’s what they get for coming to my house without bringing any of their fancy stuff.
I apologize for the rank amateur nature of the review, and for not having my own sangria recipe
A very late labrat report - I meant to post this in the AM, but a flat tire set me back on the morning, and I just remembered that I have this outstanding obligation when I got home and saw the bottle on the counter. Doh.
This vintage has made previous appearances on the former website, but I did not purchase it on either
Pop and pour - powerful nose, figs / almost port like, not from the alcohol but I think from the hot climate nature of the grapes. On the mouth immediately struck by strong tannins - either let this one breathe a while, or cellar for a while. We let it breathe while grilling steak.
Even though its a small component of the blend, I think that the Petit Verdot nature leads, in both astringency and aroma. I would not pick this out as a Cab Sauv dominant blend.
After letting it sit open for about an hour, the tannins are still strong. A bit of grass smell, but still dominated by the fig/plum/very ripe fruit aromas.
One miscue I find in this wine is that, other than the astringency, it seems kinda thin in the mouth. There is not a lot of powerful flavor in the mouth, This is good for pairing with food, but I would not drink this wine, at least at this age, on its own.
I guessed this to be about a $20 value shipped, anything better than that would be a good deal in my book. And the case price (or for those VMP’s) it definitely hits its value point.
For those that like this and are on the fence, since it first appeared on wine.woot two-ish years ago, I’m betting that a sell-out here will be the last we see of this vintage.
I also had four bottles from an earlier WW purchase. I pulled the cork on a bottle around 9 am this morning. After an hour, I poured a small amount. The initial smell was that of alcohol and spices, nothing else. The initial taste was also exhibiting alcohol, spice, a very light touch of eucalyptus/menthol, and very little fruit with plenty of tartness. I tried it again around noon with a couple of sandwiches of liverwurst on rye. The sandwich overpowered anything the wine could offer. Four hours later, I tried it with pizza and mild wings. Just alcohol, spice and sour tartness. It wasn’t going well with food. Later watching the Cavs and Tribe with no food, it started to open up. The alcohol diminished and blended better with the spice, I got some light cherry, licorice, a little earthiness and again a lot of tartness. This wine took a long time to arrive and just didn’t hit my wheelhouse when it did.
@msten Thanks for your reply!! You made my day. AT LEAST SOMEONE IS READING THESE POSTS. MADE MY DAY, LOL!!! (FWIW: Liverwurst/Braunschweiger is made from pork or beef liver, pork, and seasonings. Gooseliver (Foie Gras) is much more a French delicacy.) I was also thinking about mentioning beef tongue as possibly making the wine work for me! As for Sangria, that’s made with nasty wine when a person is too cheap to pour it down the drain along with old fruit that they want to get rid of with friends they really don’t like! That’s probably why @markgm baited the hook earlier and I did it a second time!
I did try it with the pizza and wings, but the wine didn’t open up much at that point. I did have a Wellington NV Duke the day before that was smoother and had more fruit! That wine is an every day drinker though. I would hope that the offered wine would open up into something better, but at 6 yrs old and 11 hrs of airing out, not sure where it’s headed. I’d put this wine into a $8 to $10 category to classify it as a DEAL.
@Boatman72 Wow, $8 a bottle? There is NO wine that can stand up to the tribe, the cavs or that other terribly bad team we have in Cleveland. Pair this wine with a little warrior, astro, perhaps a patriot or an eagle and it becomes a $35 bottle in no time.
This was also offered in a mixed 4 pack on 9/12/17 with some notes from @jmdavidson. I bought 2 sets, drank the first of this offer in October and liked it enough to put the 2nd bottle away but I drank it in January after I bought 4 more in December, easy drinking and a good deal at the current case price.
Even though I’d intended to let the Clayhouse I had sit for a while, out of charity towards others, I decided to open up a bottle. It’s a very decent wine, especially considering the price, and I loved the hidden Petit Verdot notes in it. I just ordered three more, and this means that I’ll have five to let rest for a while.
I’m hoping that the next few offerings are white wines. I’d like to drink down my current cellar a bit, and it is getting on into summer weather, as well.
I bought up all the Clayhouse estate wines I could from WW, including this one. You’d be hard-pressed to find a CS/Bordeaux blend with this kind of structure & aging potential for $11. This wine is a baby - it drinks fine now, but my money is on some of that spicy/green/peppery stuff fading over the years as the tannins resolve. It has plenty of acid & underlying fruit to evolve into a lovely wine. This is a great investment if you have the space & the patience.
@hidden1 Pretty much my feeling on the wine. I have the patience, but I just don’t have the space, and I really wish that were otherwise because I have a feeling I’m going to regret only having three in a couple of years…
@InFrom@neerak A friend of mine ordered and I was able to try it. It was opened within a day or two of when the wine was delivered, so it could have been some travel shock, but I was disappointed as well. The bottle I tried was thin and disjointed with prevalent alcohol. There wasn’t much structure… so I don’t think these will get better with time in the bottle. A decant might help the alcohol blow off though. YMMV.
I’ve like Clayhouse in the past and hope this bottle was just a blip. I really don’t buy anything from Paso anymore… except maybe some Rhones, but only after trying them first. It’s an unfortunate generalization that I realize I’m stuck in, but it’s my rule.
@neerak@trifecta I actually bought it for my friends at work to share, Clayhouse has been well received in the past. I hate to foist disappointing wine off on them. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
@InFrom@neerak@trifecta Sometimes, to thin out the storage issues, I’ll leave bottles on the ‘free table’ at work. With wine, they know the source, and I dislike leaving, and being associated with, plonk so don’t know what to do with those ‘off’ bottles I’ve somehow managed to acquire.
@neerak My work buddy brought a couple of bottles home last night. His wife commented that it tasted sour or bitter, and he said even after it had been in the glass a while, it was about as she’d described it. He’s going to return to the half bottle that’s left, and report back.
OK, I am officially going back on my bold statement, I am not opening a Clayhouse this weekend. I hadn’t taken Cinco de Mayo into account when I mouthed off. However I can report that when my friend went back to his open bottle the following day, he liked it well enough. Maybe it was the pizza pairing that did the trick. Overall, while he’s not raving about it, it sounds like he will want to have it again, as time goes by.
I opened a bottle last night. For some reason I really wanted to like this wine.
Initial taste, some off flavors, can’t put a finger on it. It was not undrinkable, but not something I would pour for anyone else. Tasted before dinner, then continued to sip over dinner of grilled pork chops, roasted brussell sprouts, and mixed green salad. Drinkable, but barely.
After a couple of hours I poured a small glass to see how it was evolving. I don’t think I have ever had wine that didn’t taste like wine. It seemed to have evolved into the base for a salad dressing, just missing the olive oil. After a couple of sips, down the drain the rest of the glass went.
Sorry to say, I will not be drinking it, and I certainly wouldn’t give it to anyone I like!
After countless WW purchases, and now many more on CaseMates, this is my first disappointing purchase.
I think some of the LabRats were right…I should have listened.
@chipgreen@InFrom@mrn1 i tend to agree with this assessment. it may be that a few cases may have gone bad due to unforeseen exposure. good wine, some bad bottles. Contact support for refunds if you are one of the unlucky ones. with our apologies.
So I was a little worried after reading the comments of some of the received wine. Ok, I was a lotta worried. But we finally picked up our case from our designated receiver (love you mom) and we popped a bottle just to see what all the fuss was about. I didn’t get any of the thin, acidic, tart water I was expecting. Actually, this was pretty typical for Paso wines for me. Slightly oaky, slightly jammy. Perhaps the bottles will evolve a bit more after sitting but we were just fine with the one bottle we opened. Hope it’s not a case of wide bottle variation (pun intended) and the rest drink just as well over time.
Just opened a bottle, and I find it more than just acceptable. I wouldn’t be unhappy paying 17.99 at a liquor store, so the 11.25 price was a real deal. It has some obvious wood, both in the nose and taste (a plus in my household), nice full body, a bit tannic, but not in a bad way, good dark fruit, long finish. There must be some bottles/cases of this that came from a different batch-- the wine I’m drinking is definitely not something I would pour down the drain. I’ve had several different Clayhouse Estate wines, including a couple of the other Cabs, and they’ve all been very good wines. Even the regular bottlings of inexpensive Clayhouse that I’ve had have definitely not been drain-worthy.
A couple of months later and this wine is now a house favorite as a pop and pour wine. I feel bad for those that got bad bottles and it looks like Casemates has made it right for those that put claims in but this is actually a solid wine. I’ll be in again if this pops back up someday!