Since 1992, Cakebread Cellars has produced Rubáiyat, a red wine blend named after the famed poem:
(“. . . a loaf of bread . . . a flask of wine, a book of verse – and thou singing beside me in the wilderness . . .”)
by Omar Khayyám. A blend of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah, it’s a delicious red ideal for picnic and barbecue fare . . . especially with that special someone.
Our 2005 Rubáiyat is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir, 24% Zinfandel and 10% Syrah. The Pinot Noir and Syrah come from vineyards in the Carneros region of Napa Valley while the Zinfandel is from the Red Hills district of Lake County – thus the Napa County, rather than Napa Valley, appellation. (A Napa Valley appellation requires that at least 85% of the fruit come from the appellation; the county appellation requirement is 75%.) The grapes were hand-harvested, mainly at night, between September 28th and October 27th to ensure an ideal balance of ripe fruit flavors and fresh acidity.
In 2005, a warm late winter led to early bud break, but cool, rainy weather during spring set back vine development. Unseasonably cool temperatures continued throughout summer, which slowed ripening and extended the harvest season. As is often the case in California, however, ideal early autumn weather arrived in September and prevailed throughout October, ensuring a successful conclusion to the growing season. Because the season began early and ended late, the grapes enjoyed a long hang time on the vine, resulting in wines with impressive flavor concentration at moderate alcohol levels.
Rubáiyat is a blend both of grapes varieties and of numerous small lots of wine made from grapes harvested at different times from multiple vineyard sites. Many of these small, handcrafted lots are fermented in small, open-top fermenters with manual punchdown of the cap (skins and seeds) that forms at the top of the tanks during fermentation. This method provides for a gentle, but thorough maceration of skins and juice to extract maximum color and flavor. The various lots for our 2005 Rubáiyat were blended in September 2006, and put back into barrels (30% new and 70% one- and two-year-old French oak) for further aging before bottling in December, 2006. Total oak aging time was 14 months.
Our 2005 Rubáiyat boasts wonderfully appealing aromas of ripe raspberry, blueberry and red cherry fruit enriched by toasty oak tones and notes of chocolate and pepper spice. Luscious, supple and superbly balanced on the palate, its broad, expansive, black raspberry and wild cherry flavors are layered with rich chocolate and zesty spice tones, culminating in a long, smooth finish. Delicious to drink now with picnic and barbecue fare – try it slightly chilled – this is a great summertime wine.