Since 1992, Cakebread Cellars has produced a red wine blend called Rubáiyat, after the famous poem
(". . . a loaf of bread . . . a flask of wine, a book of verse - and thou beside me singing in the wilderness . . .") by Omar Khayyám.
A blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah, this deliciously fruity red is the perfect accompaniment to picnic and barbecue fare, especially when enjoyed with that special someone.
The 2002 vintage was remarkably even and consistent. Flowering occurred normally in mid-May, and mild temperatures prevailed throughout the growing season, with few heat spikes and no rain, insuring our Pinot Noir and Syrah grapes ripened evenly and attained full maturity.
The grapes for our 2002 Rubáiyat - a blend of 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Syrah - came from four vineyards in the cool Carneros region of southwestern Napa Valley, which is renowned for its world-class Pinot Noir. The fruit was hand-harvested between September 10th and September 16th with an ideal balance of sugars and acids.
Eighty-five percent of the grapes were crushed while 15% were retained as whole clusters to enhance the wine's fruitiness. After cold-soaking for 24 hours to extract color and flavor, the juice and whole berries fermented together in a combination of small, open-top fermenters and medium-sized, closed tanks, with daily pumpovers and several rack-and-return procedures (draining the tanks of juice so that the cap of skins settles to the bottom of the tank and then splashing the juice back into the tank to thoroughly macerate the skins and enhance extraction). After blending, the wine aged in French oak barrels, 55% new, for15 months before bottling in December 2003.
Our 2002 Rubáiyat offers a truly lovely aroma of blueberries, black cherries and plums, with a whiff of spicy oak. On the palate, the wine is fresh and zesty, with plump, thick, delicious black cherry and plum flavors that linger long on the palate, supported by round, supple tannins. This seductively fruity wine captures the essence of both Pinot Noir and Syrah, but achieves a synthesis greater than the sum of its parts. This wine is best enjoyed in its youth and is delightful with grilled and spicy foods.