With our 1999 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Cakebread Cellars celebrates twenty-five years of making top Napa Valley Cabernets. (The first red wine that Cakebread Cellars made was the 1974 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.) Appropriately enough, this Cabernet Sauvignon, from an outstanding vintage, epitomizes Cakebread Cellars' quarter century of top quality red winemaking. Our only problem with the vintage was that not much of it was produced. This was primarily due to the cool, wet effects of el niño during the spring of 1998 when the 1999's vine crop levels were in large part determined.
As in recent years, the fruit for the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon came primarily from the Oakville-Rutherford appellations with smaller lots coming from neighboring Carneros and St. Helena districts. Diverse vineyard sources as well as clonal variations allow us to craft a finished wine of great complexity and structure. Similarly, small blended additions of Merlot and Cabernet Franc lend either a more defined structure of tannins, wonderful berry flavors, dark fruit character or earthy tones, depending on the vineyards' locations.
The 1999 Vintage was a long, cool growing season with a perfectly timed heat wave occurring during the last week of September. These conditions caused the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes "to hang" for an extended period of time on the vines. This, together with low crop levels, produced a wine of great color, soft tannins, tremendous balance and a great depth of flavor.
This 1999 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of cedar wood and blackberry fruit. On entry, the flavors are full with subtle notes of black licorice, spice and pepper. The overall texture of this wine is supple and smooth. There are rich and well-integrated flavors of fruit such as plum, cherry, berry balanced by the vanilla of small French oak barrels' aging.