In 2004, an unusually warm late winter, consistently mild spring and summer weather, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in one of the earliest Napa Valley harvests on record. Although fast and furious, the early start to the season and lower-than-normal crop loads produced grape clusters with small berries and ripe flavors, yielding wines with impressive concentration, depth and structure.
Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is produced primarily from grapes grown in our Napa Valley estate vineyards in Rutherford, as well as from vineyards in St. Helena and Calistoga to the north. These mid- and up-valley sites deliver fruit of great character, enabling us to produce a crisp, full-bodied, complex style of Sauvignon Blanc. For additional complexity, we blend in small amounts of Semillon and Sauvignon Musqué, the latter an especially aromatic clone of the Sauvignon variety. Reflecting a notably early harvest, the grapes were picked between August 12th and September 10th. With the 2004 vintage, we returned to night harvesting by hand.
To ensure fresh, pure juice, the grapes were hand-harvested during the night and early morning hours, whole cluster pressed, and cold-settled in tank for 36 hours. A majority of the juice was then fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the varietal intensity provided by our many fine vineyards while a small portion was barrel-fermented in older oak to round and soften the final blend. To enhance complexity, a small fraction was allowed to ferment with native yeasts, which accentuate the characteristics of individual vineyards. Overall, 77% of the wine was aged four months in one and two-year-old French oak barrels, before blending and bottling in March, 2005.
Our 2004 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a near-textbook rendition of the variety's most appealing characteristics. Fresh, brisk aromas of lime, kiwi, grapefruit, gooseberry and hay introduce a medium-to-full-bodied palate of impressive weight, balance and intensity. The wine's vibrant citrus, guava and melon flavors benefit from a firm underpinning of acidity and a refreshing minerality that asserts itself in the finish, providing structure and counterpoint to the wine's rich fruit. This classic Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc will provide great drinking pleasure over the next 2-3 years, on its own or with a wide range of seafood, poultry, and salad dishes.