1997 Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley The 1997 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon advances Cakebread Cellars' reputation in making classic Cabernets. The 1997 growing season was so favorable, we had to "drop fruit," or reduce the number of grape clusters per vine, to maintain the quality of an extraordinarily large crop. The remaining clusters were thus top quality. Winter rains and warm spring temperatures were the main factors in a comparatively early and large harvest; we picked the Napa Valley cabernet grapes nearly a month earlier than usual. Despite such early ripening and comparatively large yields, however, the overall crop quality, particularly that of our cabernet sauvignon, was outstanding.
Vineyard by vineyard and block by block, the cabernet grapes that went into this vintage were all handpicked at optimum ripeness during the first three weeks of September. These vineyards ranged from our own estate here in Rutherford to vineyards in the neighboring Oakville and Stag's Leap appellations. Upon arriving at the winery, the grapes were de-stemmed and gently "crushed," before being sent as must into fermenting tanks.
In Cakebread's style of red wine fermentation, we taste each separate lot during fermentation on an almost-daily basis to best determine when a particular lot tastes is at its optimum; at that point, the wine is pressed off the skins in our membrane wine presses keeping the press wine separate from the free-run wine. In this way, Cakebread Cellars' red wines, especially our Cabernets, have their natural fruitiness preserved, while the extraction of harsh, drying tannins is avoided. Afterwards, the Cabernet was sent to age over two years in French oak, a third of which were new barrels and the balance one- and two-year-old barrels.
This 1997 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a brilliant, light garnet color. The dry spiciness of its aromas, together with cedar-like scents in the background, demonstrate its terroir as well as its varietal identity. On the palate, flavors of rich black cherries, sweet currants, and cassis deliciously combine and flow into a lingering aftertaste. The overall taste-impression of this wine is one of rich black fruit in a delicious balance.
Alcohol content: 14.2%