2008 Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon

Year: 2008
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 87
Wine Advocate: 90
Wine Enthusiast: 88
Red Wine
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"Elegant and understated, showing spicy berry, cedar, sage and dried herb notes. Medium- to full-bodied, with a subtle layered finish. Drink now through 2017. 15,000 cases made." (WS)

"A real steal and one of the greatest sleepers I have tasted from Napa (the Mecca for expensive Cabernet Sauvignons) is Buehler’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from their vineyards in Napa Valley. There are only 1,800 cases of this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, so this offering is likely to disappear quickly from the marketplace. It offers a dark ruby/purple-tinged color, abundant black currant, licorice and smoky tobacco leaf characteristics, medium to full body, a supple, velvety style and impressive purity, texture and length. Consume it over the next 10+ years.

Wow! Readers should be buying these two terrific values from Buehler Vineyards by the case." (WA)

"Pretty good price for a Napa Cabernet as elegant as this. It’s a polished wine for drinking now. Shows smooth, refined tannins, with interesting flavors of blackberries, red plums, red currants, tobacco and dusty spices. Easy to find, with 15,000 cases produced." (WE)

"Readers have probably noticed that less Napa Cabernet appears on this blog than it once did. Why is that? Two reasons: 1) I’ve gotten more picky about what I write up and 2) the marginal lift in the economy has made bargain Napa Cabernet harder to come by. Sure, there are more cheap cabs in the market than ever but cheap does not equal value. The problem with most of these value priced Napa Cabs is they all taste the same and that taste is… unnatural.

Much like Ferris Bueller on his “Day Off”, Buehler Vineyards takes their own approach to high production (15,000 case!!!) Cabernet. What make wine enjoyable is that no two are the same, and the best are downright unique. Buehler Vineyard’s Napa Cabernet tastes like a Cabernet, but it is identifiable and unique, and to my palate, highly enjoyable.

The color is dark ruby (not purple) like a traditional, dare I say, old school Cabernet. The nose stresses red berries over black with cedar undertones. On the palate it has a medium-full body and a juicy, bright taste. Tannins build on the finish, suggesting the wine will age well for a decade.

This wine reminded me of something from the moment I pulled the cork and poured it in the decanter, and I finally thought of what it is. It reminds me of a hypothetical second wine from Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Reserve Cabernet. It’s not a stretch, as Buehler is located around the corner in Conn Valley – where 30% of this fruit comes from.

If you are a fan of traditional, refined Napa Cabernet, pick up a case of this wine that Robert Parker calls “a real steal and one of the greatest sleepers I have tasted from Napa”. Parker got his review right, though he got the production wrong. Buehler deserves acknowledgment for making 15,000 cases of this wine (vs. the 1,800 that Parker thought), available to the masses. The only thing not available to the masses is LA Wine Co’s sub $17 price." (Nickel & Dime)

Winery Notes:
We'll remember the 2008 harvest for the challenging growing conditions that ultimately delivered the quality grapes we're accustomed to, albeit in lower quantities. The worst Spring frosts in Napa Valley since 1972 spared our hillside vineyards for the most part; we lost perhaps 5-10% of our crop. Subsequent variable weather over bloom translated to looser clusters and smaller berries. An exceptionally bad fire season in Northern California thankfully left our vineyards intact and we experienced no smoke damage to our fruit. A collective sigh of relief could be heard at Buehler September 18 when we kicked off our Cabernet harvest.

The wine is brimming with fruit aromas and flavors biased to the black fruit end of the Cabernet spectrum: plums, blackberry, black currant. Rich and full-bodied on the palate, this Cabernet drinks well on release but will soften and develop with additional age. For those who seek youthful fresh Cabernet fruit aromas and a more structured wine, drink it from 2010 through 2014. If you prefer the less fruity, more developed bottle bouquet aromas and a softer, more velvety wine on the palate, drink it from 2015-2025.