Let’s Get Vertical

Category 5 from Raylen Vineyards has always been one of my favorite wines.  Every time I go to Raylen to pick up a case of wine, I make sure this wine is included.

With what I do in writing and tweeting about wine, I drink a good variety of wines and sometimes I forget what is in my wine “closet.”  (No, unfortunately it is not a wine cellar.  However, it is the coolest area in my house and actually does an excellent job of storing wine.  It keeps my wines at consistently between 65 – 70 degrees at all times.)  Flashback to 2010.  I was digging through my wines to see what I wanted to drink that evening and found a 2007 Category 5 and opted to drink it.  With Category 5 being a blend, you are apt to get a variety of aromas and flavors on the palate.  The aroma of this 2007 was absolutely heavenly.  With the first sip, cherry, plum, vanilla, and a silky finish that lingered just long enough on the palate to make you want another sip.  This is when I decided to collect enough Category 5 to do a vertical tasting.  I was on a mission. 

I had a bottle of the 2008 and the 2009 had not yet been released.  I went to Raylen Vineyards to see if they happened to have a bottle of the 2007 left over and as luck would have it, they did.  So I had the 2007 and the 2008.  I was only focused on having 3 vintages for my very own vertical tasting and with the 2009 aging nicely in the barrel at the winery, I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long. 

I picked up the 2009 on my next visit to Raylen, but as time and wine move through my life, I didn’t get around to doing the vertical tasting.  Then through a stroke of luck, I was playing the “Wine Board” at a local fund-raiser for the March of Dimes and pulled a bottle of the 2006 Category 5.  I was elated!!!  This changed the game.  I was determined now to go for 5 consecutive years for this vertical tasting and to make it a real party.  Afterall, there is no way I could drink 5 bottles of wine by myself in a week let alone one sitting so back to Raylen to pick up a bottle of the 2010 Category 5.


Last week hubby and I decided to get vertical with six of our closest friends.

As is typical for any wine tasting, the comments and reviews of each wine were all over the board.  Unfortunately, the 2006 (which was completely out of my control) may have not been stored properly.  The general consensus was that it was a little flat and didn’t have anything on the nose.  Opinions varied for the 2007.  You could still pick up a bit of the vanilla and it was still very approachable.  We tried a second tasting of the 2007 by aerating it.  This really brought out the aromatics and that silky finish that I had remembered so well.   The 2008, though, was the winner overall; great bouquet, a little earthy with hints of tobacco and vanilla.  We decanted what was left in the bottle, but didn’t see any changes in the taste of the wine.  The 2009 was actually my favorite for the evening.  It reminded me of the 2007 that started me down this path.  I just happen to have one bottle of it left and will hold onto it just a while longer.  It will be a good wine to share with family over the upcoming holidays.  The 2010, while still a very drinkable wine, could easily be aged another couple of years.



A lot of people think that Category 5 is named after the strength of a category 5 hurricane when in reality it is named for the 5 grapes that have been meticulously blended to create this premium wine.  It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot.

Varietal: Red Blend          Alcohol: 13.8%          Price: $18.99


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karyn Howard
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 15:55:06

    It looks like you guys had a great time. Thanks for making RayLen’s Category 5 the reason for your party!


  2. Red Wine Diva
    Oct 02, 2012 @ 16:27:25

    It was our pleasure!!!


  3. Natalie
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 16:13:33

    I have to agree — Raylen makes some of my favorite NC Wines!


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