2008 Schrader - Wine Advocate # 186 - Dec 2009: The 2008 Schrader Cabernet Sauvignons were undoubtedly the finest 2008 Napa Cabernets I tasted. Thomas Brown told me it was the second straight drought year, and while there were some heat spikes, overall it was a warm year. Nearly all of the 2008 offerings possesses a slight degree of higher alcohol, but that component is not detectable. The wines reveal showy personalities, and even more flamboyance than the 2007s. At this stage, less minerality as well as more structure are present, and the wines seem fleshier, more flamboyant and even more opulent than the extraordinary 2007s. There is the potential for two perfect 2008s, the Cabernet Sauvignon CCS and Cabernet Sauvignon Schrader, as well as three upper 90-point wines, the T6, RBS, and George III. When all the dust settles many years from now, I suspect 2008 may turn out at least for Schrader as great as 2007. Last year the 2007s seemed more grapy and less nuanced than the 2006s, but one would not make that statement tasting the 2007s out of bottle as they are quite structured, and exhibit great minerality, complexity, and potential. The 2008s are gorgeously fruity, rich, and opulent at present. In another year they should be far more delineated and complex. (Not yet released) Are readers totally confused about the multiple clonal experiments and single block Schrader Cabernet Sauvignons? All of them emanate from the Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard with one exception, the George III Vineyard in Rutherford. Schraders mission statement is essentially one where their 30-year leases on vineyard parcels give them the ability to present a specific clonal study of Cabernet Sauvignon from three highly desired clones (4, 6, and 337) grown within a single vineyard. Perhaps this is more than most people want or need to know. The bottom line is that with their production averages about 1,600 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines do have subtle differences, but most importantly, all of them are extraordinary in quality among the finest wines one could possibly find in the world. Fred Schrader and his wife, Carol, hired Thomas Brown to make these wines. Their 2006s were among the finest wines of that vintage, their 2008s look to be among the top wines I tasted in that year, and the 2007s, universally acknowledged as a great vintage for Napa, are spectacular. All of these cuvees are aged in 100% new French oak, mostly Darnajou barrels with a sprinkling of Taransaud.