Wines of Cakebread Cellars

2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Sauvignon Blanc

Napa Valley

  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc reflects all the positive attributes of a cool growing season. It’s wonderfully fresh and aromatic, with bright scents of pink grapefruit, gooseberry, melon and green apple. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied with rich, vibrant citrus (grapefruit and kiwi), honeydew melon, spice and mineral flavors balanced by excellent acidity and a long, refreshing, mineral/chalky finish reminiscent of a fine White Bordeaux. A superb apèritif wine, our 2011 Sauvignon Blanc is also wonderfully versatile with food, especially salads and lighter seafood, poultry and pasta dishes. Enjoy it over the next 3-5 years.

A superb apèritif wine, our 2011 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is also wonderfully versatile with food, especially salads and lighter seafood, poultry and pasta dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc with Grilled Pizza

Vineyards

Our Sauvignon Blanc grapes come from throughout Napa Valley, with a large concentration from our estate vineyards in the Rutherford, Calistoga, Carneros and southeastern Napa Valley regions. The superb fruit from these sites allows us to produce a full-bodied, crisp and complex Sauvignon Blanc boasting distinctive varietal character. (Our cool-climate Carneros and southern Napa Valley grapes, in particular, lend our Sauvignon Blanc a fresh, zesty tone not often found in Napa Valley renditions of the variety.) In 2011, as in past vintages, we blended in small amounts of Sèmillon (which enriches the mid-palate and softens acidity) and Sauvignon Musqué, an aromatic clone of Sauvignon Blanc that adds a bright, floral note to the bouquet.

Vintage

2011 was among the coldest, wettest and latest vintages in memory. Wet winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying and disrupting budbreak, bloom and fruit set, which reduced our Sauvignon Blanc crop by 50% and set the stage for a cool summer growing season that culminated in a prolonged harvest. The cool summer fostered slow, even ripening and the development of optimal fruit flavors at lower-than-normal sugar levels. This helped us craft a beautifully balanced Sauvignon Blanc with vibrant varietal aromas and flavors, and fresh acidity.

Winemaking

We harvest our Sauvignon Blanc grapes at night, when the vines are at rest, to fully capture their fresh, concentrated varietal flavors, crisp acidity and ideal sugar-acid balance. Whole-cluster-pressing of the fruit immediately upon arrival at the winery maximizes varietal intensity while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. In 2011, we fermented 80% of the juice in stainless steel tanks, 18% in one-year-old to four-year-old French oak barrels, and 2% in stainless steel barrels. Subsequently, 90% of the wine spent five months aging in neutral French oak barrels, which enriched its texture while maximizing varietal expression.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2008 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc displays a beautifully fragrant nose of ripe pomelo, Golden Delicious apple, honeydew melon, lime and mineral, with little of the herbaceousness that sometimes characterizes the variety. On the fleshy, full-bodied palate, ripe melon, grapefruit, kiwi and lemon-lime flavors lead to a long, flavorful finish enlivened by bright mineral tones. “Golden” and “sun-kissed” are words that pop to mind when sipping this delicious Sauvignon Blanc, which makes both a wonderful apèritif and a delectable companion to simply prepared seafood, poultry and vegetarian entrees. Enjoy it over the next 1-2 years.

A delectable companion to simply prepared seafood, poultry and vegetarian entrees.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc with Shrimp Tacos

Vineyards

We sourced the grapes for our 2008 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc from throughout Napa Valley, especially several outstanding vineyards in the Oakville area and our estate vineyards in Rutherford. The superb fruit from these sites allows us to produce a full-bodied, crisp, complex Sauvignon Blanc of distinctive varietal character. In 2008, we enhanced the wine’s complexity by blending in 4% Sauvignon Musqué, an aromatic clone of Sauvignon Blanc, and 6% Sèmillon, which enriched the mid-palate, softened the wine’s acidity and contributed a pleasing citrus tone.

Vintage

The 2008 growing season was a wild one. The year began with torrential rains in January, transitioned into drought conditions in early spring – leading to an early budbreak – then erupted into the worst frost season in over 35 years in late March and throughout April. Combined with disadvantageous weather during the blooming of the vines in May, this significantly reduced the size of the crop throughout Northern California. Beginning in June, however, an extended period of clear, consistently mild weather took hold, enabling us to harvest our pristine, fully ripened Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc between August 12th and September 15th. Despite the season’s trials and tribulations, 2008 has yielded a trove of vibrant, varietally expressive wines boasting rich, concentrated fruit flavors balanced by crisp acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvest our Sauvignon Blanc grapes at cool temperatures to preserve their fresh, vibrant flavors and achieve an ideal balance of sugar and acidity. After the grapes arrive at the winery, we immediately press the whole clusters to maximize varietal character while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. In 2008, 67% of the juice was tank-fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels; 18% was fermented and aged in barrel; and 15% was tank-fermented with no oak aging. This regimen allowed us to optimize the wine’s varietal intensity while enriching its texture through short-term exposure to oak.

PRICE $25.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Because of the stability of our grape sources and constancy of our winemaking regimen, our sauvignon blanc displays a consistent style from year to year. The 2013 vintage boasts characteristically fresh, pure and complex white grapefruit, guava, green apple, honeydew melon and mineral aromas. It’s concentrated; guava, gooseberry and melon flavors persist into a long, lively finish boasting bright citrus, light spice and mouthwatering mineral tones. Enjoy this beauty over the next 3-5 years with your favorite salad, seafood, poultry and veggie dishes.

We harvest our sauvignon blanc grapes during the cool nighttime hours to fully capture their fresh, pure flavors and bright acidity. Whole-cluster-pressing of the fruit maximizes varietal intensity while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. In 2013, we fermented 82% of the juice in stainless steel tanks and 18% in older French oak barrels, a regimen producing a concentrated, vibrant expression of sauvignon blanc. The wine aged five months in neutral French oak barrels to enrich its texture and maximize varietal character.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc with Chicken Zahtar

Vineyards

Our 2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of 90% sauvignon blanc, 6% semillon and 4% sauvignon musqué (an especially aromatic clone of sauvignon blanc), all from top vineyards throughout Napa Valley, including our estate ranches in Carneros, southeastern Napa, Rutherford and Calistoga. The superb fruit from these sites enables us to produce a rich, full-bodied and complex sauvignon blanc that is simultaneously fresh, crisp and zesty.

Vintage

In 2013, a warm, dry spring initiated early budbreak, ensured trouble-free vine flowering and grape set, and led to a consistently mild summer fostering steady, even ripening and grapes with wonderful flavor concentration. The fruit for our 2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc was harvested between August 15th and September 20th with an ideal balance of sugars and acidity.

Winemaking

We harvest our Sauvignon Blanc fruit during the cool nighttime hours to fully capture its fresh, concentrated flavors and crisp acidity. Whole-cluster-pressing of the grapes immediately upon their arrival at the winery maximizes varietal intensity while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The startlingly fresh, vivid aromas of our 2012 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc literally leap out of the glass, redolent of just-cut white grapefruit, bracing gooseberry, lime and kiwi, and ripe honeydew melon, with subordinate spice and vanilla scents. On the medium-bodied palate, the wine’s ripe grapefruit, guava, melon, green apple and mineral flavors are remarkably rich, intense, concentrated and vibrant, with a long, full finish packed with fresh fruit and mineral/chalky (a la White Bordeaux) tones. This is our 38th vintage of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s a doozy, unquestionably one of our best. Savor it over the next 3-5 years as an ideal apèritif wine and with your favorite salad, seafood, poultry and pasta dishes.

June 01, 2013

90 points

International Wine Report

The 2012 Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc brings wonderful aromas of fresh cut grass, citrus, herbal notes and melon. I love the vibrance and freshness along with the racy finish. Fermented in a combination of stainless steel and French oak, then aged in mature French oak barrels for 5 months. (Best 2013-2015) - June, 2013 (MD)

January 01, 2013

91 points

Wine & Spirits Magazine

A tight, citrusy sauvignon, this opens to tart yellow cherry flavors as the fruit lengthens into the finish. It has a floral note of wild flower honey that recalls the sunniness of Napa valley. Clean and refreshing.

View recipes that complement this wine

Sauvimage Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc with Goat Cheese Stuffed Beggar's Purses

Vineyards

We source Sauvignon Blanc grapes from throughout Napa Valley, with over a third of the total coming from our estate vineyards in Rutherford, Calistoga, Carneros and southeastern Napa. The wonderful fruit from these sites enables us to produce a full-bodied, crisp and complex Sauvignon Blanc boasting distinctive varietal character and a delectable zestiness. In 2012, a superb white wine vintage in Napa Valley, we blended 87% Sauvignon Blanc with 9% Sèmillon (to enrich the wine’s mid-palate and soften its acidity) and 4% Sauvignon Musqué, an aromatic clone of Sauvignon Blanc that adds a bright, floral note to the bouquet.

Vintage

The 2012 vintage was picture-perfect, with consistently mild summer weather free of rain and significant heat spikes. We were thus able to harvest our grapes at precisely the right moment, capturing an optimal balance of ripe, concentrated fruit flavors and lively acidity. Given these ideal conditions, 2012 yielded a trove of outstanding wines, including this superb Sauvignon Blanc.

Winemaking

We harvest our Sauvignon Blanc fruit during the cool nighttime hours to fully capture its fresh, concentrated flavors and crisp acidity. Whole-cluster-pressing of the grapes immediately upon their arrival at the winery maximizes varietal intensity while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. In 2012, we fermented 81% of the juice in stainless steel tanks, 18% in older French oak barrels, and 1% in stainless steel barrels, a mixed-vessel regimen that experience has taught us produces the freshest, liveliest expression of the vibrant Sauvignon Blanc variety. The wine aged for five months in neutral French oak to enrich its texture while maximizing varietal expression.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Due to the coolness of the vintage, our 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is especially fresh, crisp and vibrant, offering bright honeydew melon, pink grapefruit, gooseberry and vanilla aromas and rich, mouthwatering, citrus, nectarine and melon flavors. An ideal apèritif wine, it also beautifully accompanies a wide and diverse range of foods, from shellfish and lighter seafood dishes to roast chicken, Caesar Salad and pasta primavera. Enjoy it over the next 1-2 years.

Beautifully accompanies a wide and diverse range of foods, from shellfish and lighter seafood dishes to roast chicken, Caesar Salad and pasta primavera.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc with Filipino Lemongrass Chicken

Vineyards

Our Sauvignon Blanc grapes come from throughout Napa Valley, with a large concentration from our estate vineyards in Rutherford, Calistoga and Carneros. The superb fruit from these sites allows us to produce a full-bodied, crisp and complex Sauvignon Blanc boasting distinctive varietal character. In 2010, as in past vintages, we blended in small amounts of Sèmillon (which enriches the wine’s mid-palate, softens its acidity and contributes a pleasing citrus tone) and Sauvignon Musqué, an aromatic clone of Sauvignon Blanc that adds a bright, floral note to the wine’s bouquet.

Vintage

2010 was the latest in a string of cooler-than-normal growing seasons in Napa Valley. The season began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an especially cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, but classic Indian summer weather yielded grapes with mature, concentrated flavors at lower alcohol levels, resulting in a bevy of beautifully structured wines with fresh, elegant flavors.

Winemaking

We harvest our Sauvignon Blanc grapes at night, when the vines are in full repose, to fully capture their fresh, concentrated varietal flavors, crisp acidity and ideal sugar-acid balance. Whole-cluster-pressing of the fruit immediately upon arrival at the winery maximizes varietal intensity while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. In 2010, we tank-fermented 88% of the juice while fermenting 12% in neutral oak barrels. Subsequently, 87% of the wine spent five months aging in neutral French oak barrels, which enriched its texture while optimizing varietal expression.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2009 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc displays bright, sun-kissed aromas of fresh guava, grapefruit, lime and mineral, with hints of honeydew melon and golden apple. On the sprightly palate, brisk white grapefruit, guava, melon and lemon-lime flavors display a mouthwatering verve, with hints of pineapple and kiwi fruit on the long, refreshing finish. While this classic Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc makes a wonderful apèritif wine, it also is delightful with a wide range of foods, including shellfish, pan-fried trout and snapper, Caesar Salad, roast chicken and turkey, and pasta primavera. Enjoy it now or age for 2-4 years.

Delightful with a wide range of foods, including shellfish, pan-fried trout and snapper, Caesar Salad, roast chicken and turkey, and pasta primavera.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc with Olive Oil Fried Egg with Asparagus

Vineyards

We source the grapes for our Sauvignon Blanc from throughout Napa Valley, with a large concentration coming from our estate vineyards in Rutherford, Calistoga and Carneros. The superb fruit from these sites allows us to produce a full-bodied, crisp and complex Sauvignon Blanc boasting distinctive varietal character. In 2009, as in past vintages, we blended in small amounts of Sèmillon (which enriches the wine’s mid-palate, softens its acidity and contributes a pleasing citrus tone) and Sauvignon Musqué, an aromatic clone of Sauvignon Blanc that adds a bright, floral note to the wine’s bouquet.

Vintage

The 2009 growing season was remarkably even and steady, featuring consistently cool-to-mild temperatures that produced stress-free vines, prolonged grape hang times, and fully ripened fruit with ideal sugar-to-acid ratios. The grapes for our 2009 Sauvignon Blanc were harvested between August 24th and September 7th.

Winemaking

The grapes were night-harvested at cool temperatures to preserve their fresh, vibrant flavors and ensure an ideal balance of sugar and acidity. After the fruit arrived at the winery, we immediately pressed the whole clusters to maximize varietal character while minimizing the extraction of astringent compounds from the skins. Eighty-two percent of the juice was tank-fermented, while 18% was fermented in neutral oak barrels. Subsequently, 95% of the wine aged five months in neutral barrels to enrich its texture while optimizing varietal intensity.

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2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Chardonnay

Napa Valley

  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Napa Valley Chardonnay opens with fresh, creamy aromas of ripe pear, apple and citrus, with light butter, yeast and spicy oak tones adding complexity. The wine’s rich, focused, green apple, melon and guava flavors are nicely balanced by fresh acidity and a piquant mineral tone. Both mouthfilling and elegant, this quintessential Napa Valley Chardonnay is delectable now, but it will develop even greater complexity with another 5-8 years’ bottle age.

Delicious with chicken, seafood and grilled salads.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay with Heide and Ken's Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Vineyards

Napa Valley offers a spectrum of microclimates and soil types ideal for cultivating Chardonnay. We source fruit for our Napa Valley Chardonnay primarily from vineyards in the valley’s cool-climate southern districts, ranging from the fog-chilled Carneros appellation to warmer sites just north of the town of Napa. This diversity of terroir allows us to craft a rich, elegantly structured Chardonnay that drinks beautifully on release, but ages well in bottle. To enhance the wine’s freshness and protect our vineyard workers from harvest-time heat, we pick the majority of our fruit at night, ensuring it arrives at the winery in pristine condition.

Vintage

2011 was among the coldest, wettest and latest vintages in memory. Wet winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying and disrupting budbreak, bloom and fruit set and setting the stage for a cool summer growing season that culminated in a prolonged harvest. The cool summer weather fostered slow, even ripening and the development of optimal fruit flavors at lower-than-normal sugar levels. This helped us craft a beautifully balanced Chardonnay with fresh acidity and classic varietal aromas and flavors.

Winemaking

Our winemaking regimen with Chardonnay is predicated on night harvesting, which ensures the grapes are picked cold and retain their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. After a short drive to the winery, the fruit is whole-cluster-pressed – further preserving freshness and purity – and the juice is transferred to a combination of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for fermentation. In 2011, 90% of our Chardonnay juice fermented in barrel, while 10% became wine in tank, with 9% of the individual lots selected to undergo malolactic fermentation. All but a small percentage of the component wines aged in barrel for eight months sur lie to enhance texture and richness, with the frequency of lees stirring based on the characteristics of each lot.

PRICE $36.50

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay offers delightfully fragrant, slightly yeasty aromas of ripe pear, apple and guava fruit complemented by hints of honeysuckle, mineral and toasted oak. It likewise hits the mark on the palate, delivering sensationally concentrated pear, spiced apple and melon flavors that culminate in a long finish lifted by zesty spice and mineral tones. Bold and beautifully balanced, with great depth and breadth of flavor, our 2012 Chardonnay is a delicious expression of a picture-perfect vintage. It will continue to please over the next 3-5 years.

November 06, 2013

Bronze medal

Hong Kong International W&S Competition

The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition is a unique event and the first of its kind. Run in partnership with the London-based International Wine & Spirit Competition, which has been running for 40 years and is the world’s premier platform for recognizing quality in the industry, the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition is created specifically for the Asian market by those who know and are intimately involved in the region.

Delicious with chicken, seafood and grilled salads.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay with Tuna Meatballs in Bouillabaisse Broth

Vineyards

Our Napa Valley Chardonnay is a blend of grapes from top vineyards throughout the southern end of the valley, with the preponderance of the fruit coming from the cool Carneros region. Deeply influenced by fog and cool breezes emanating from nearby San Pablo Bay, Carneros enjoys a long growing season that ripens its fruit fully while retaining the bright acidity that gives our Chardonnay its freshness and vitality. We complement our Carneros grapes with fruit from warmer up-valley sites that produce even riper, fuller Chardonnays. This allows us to craft a rich, elegantly structured wine that drinks beautifully on release, but ages well in bottle. To enhance its freshness and protect our vineyard workers from harvest-time heat, we night-harvest our Chardonnay grapes by hand, ensuring they reach the winery in pristine condition.

Vintage

The 2012 vintage was one of the finest in recent memory. Consistently mild summer weather free of rain and significant heat spikes produced a healthy crop of intensely flavorful fruit. These ideal conditions allowed us to harvest our Napa Valley Chardonnay grapes at precisely the right moment, capturing a perfect balance of ripe, concentrated fruit flavors and lively acidity. As a result, our 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay ranks among Cakebread Cellars’ best.

Winemaking

Our strategy for producing world-class Chardonnay begins with night harvesting, which ensures that our grapes are picked cold and retain their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. Immediately upon arriving at the winery, the fruit is whole-cluster-pressed – further preserving freshness and purity – and the juice is transferred to a mix of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for fermentation. In 2012, 88% of the juice was fermented in barrel, while 12% became wine in tank. After primary fermentation completed, 16% of the wine was put through a secondary, malolactic fermentation to enhance richness and mouthfeel. One hundred percent of the wine aged sur lie (on the yeast lees) in French oak barrels, 20% new, for eight months to foster greater roundness and complexity, with periodic stirring of the lees adding an appealing creamy, yeasty tone to the wine’s lavish fruit.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay seduces right off the bat with brilliantly fresh, complex aromas of lemon-lime, scented pear, ripe yellow apple, honeydew melon and mineral. On the sleek, vibrant palate, rich, concentrated, ripe apple and pear flavors dominate, with refreshing citrus and mineral tones emerging in the wine’s wonderfully long, crisp, finish. Deliciously fresh and delectable now, this youthful Napa Valley Chardonnay will blossom and gain further richness and complexity with another 6-8 months in the bottle and will drink beautifully for 3 to 5 years.

Delicious with chicken, seafood and grilled salads.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay with Chef Philippe Boulot's Pesto Crusted Salmon

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Chardonnay come primarily from the cooler southern precincts of the valley, which stretch from the fog-chilled Carneros district to the slightly warmer Oak Knoll region just north of the town of Napa. Blending fruit from diverse microclimates and soils allows us to craft a rich, ripe, elegantly structured Chardonnay that’s delicious on release, but also ages well in bottle. To enhance the wine’s freshness and protect our vineyard workers from the high temperatures prevalent during harvest, we pick most of our fruit at night, ensuring it arrives at the winery in pristine condition.

Vintage

The 2008 growing season was a study in extremes. The year began with torrential January rains, segued into drought conditions in early spring (prompting early budbreak), then erupted into the worst frost season in over 35 years in late March and throughout April. Combined with disadvantageous weather during bloom in May, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the Chardonnay crop throughout Northern California. Beginning in June, however, an extended period of clear, mild summer weather set in, enabling us to harvest our Napa Valley Chardonnay grapes with an excellent balance of sugar and acidity between September 4th and October 1st. Despite the season’s trials and tribulations, 2008 yielded a trove of vibrant, varietally expressive wines boasting rich, concentrated fruit flavors balanced by crisp acidity.

Winemaking

After night-harvesting and whole-cluster-pressing our Napa Valley Chardonnay grapes, we fermented 92% of the juice in French oak barrels, with 8% fermenting in stainless steel tanks. Because the 2008 vintage produced fruit with tremendous varietal intensity and exceptionally well-balanced flavors, the only winemaking intervention required was to select the right barrels to highlight the wine’s lovely natural attributes. Our 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay spent eight months aging in French oaks barrels, 36% new, with periodic stirring of the yeast lees to further enrich texture and flavor.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay boasts lovely, perfumed aromas of fresh melon, yellow apple, lime and white peach, with complementary mineral and toasty-spicy oak scents. On the full-bodied, yet sleek palate, the wine offers concentrated, beautifully focused peach, apple and citrus zest flavors, with mineral and spice tones enlivening the long, refreshing finish. Delightful now, this purely delicious Napa Valley Chardonnay will blossom further with another six months in bottle and, with proper cellaring, will drink beautifully for another 3 to 5 years.

Delicious with chicken, seafood and grilled salads.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay with Twice Baked Crab Souffle

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Chardonnay come primarily from the valley’s cooler southern regions, which stretch from the fog-chilled Carneros district to relatively warmer sites just north of the town of Napa. Blending fruit from diverse microclimates and soils allows us to craft a rich, ripe, elegantly structured Chardonnay that’s delicious on release, but also ages well in bottle. To enhance the wine’s freshness and protect our vineyard workers from the high temperatures prevalent during harvest, we pick all of our fruit at night, ensuring it arrives at the winery in pristine condition.

Vintage

The 2009 growing season was “cool” in all respects. Spring rains replenished the water table in Napa Valley, deferring the need for irrigation. Summer brought consistently below-average temperatures, resulting in the slow, even and parallel development of grape sugars and flavors. This allowed the fruit to reach peak maturity at lower sugar levels, a highly desirable outcome. As a result, we harvested our Napa Valley Chardonnay grapes between September 2nd and October 2nd with an ideal balance of ripe flavors and crisp balancing acidity.

Winemaking

We harvest at night by hand to protect our vineyard workers from summer’s heat and to ensure our Chardonnay grapes are picked at cool temperatures, which preserves their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. We then whole-cluster-press the fruit – which similarly preserves freshness and purity – and transfer the juice to a combination of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for fermentation. In 2009, 86% of the juice fermented in barrel, while 14% became wine in tank, with 7% undergoing a secondary, malolactic fermentation. The component wines age in barrel on their yeast lees, with periodic stirring, the frequency of which is determined by sensory analysis of each lot. This enhances texture and richness while preserving varietal expressiveness. Finally, the lots are blended and the finished wine is bottled during the spring following the harvest.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay boasts an attractive light golden-straw color and fresh, lightly buttery, ripe golden apple, pear and citrus aromas, complemented by seductive vanilla and cinnamon/nutmeg scents from oak aging and subtle yeast tones from lees contact. Lush, concentrated and creamy on the palate, its ripe apple, melon, bright citrus and baking spice flavors culminate in a long, beautifully structured finish boasting crisp acidity and zesty mineral and spice tones. Sumptuous, yet refreshing, our 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay is delicious now, but will handsomely reward another 3-5 years’ bottle aging.

December 01, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

The 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has grown by leaps and bounds since its founding in 1983. The 2012 event was just held in January with over 4,900 wines entered and 60 prestigious experts as judges. Our 2010 Chardonnay, Napa Valley has received a gold medal.

Delicious with chicken, seafood and grilled salads.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay with Roasted Cauliflower and Dungeness Crab

Vineyards

Napa Valley offers a spectrum of microclimates and soil types ideal for cultivating Chardonnay. We source fruit for our Napa Valley Chardonnay primarily from vineyards in the valley’s cool-climate southern districts, ranging from the fog-chilled Carneros appellation to slightly warmer sites just north of the town of Napa. This diversity of terroir allows us to craft a rich, elegantly structured Chardonnay that drinks beautifully on release, but ages well in bottle. To enhance the wine’s freshness and protect our vineyard workers from harvest-time heat, we pick our fruit at night or early morning, ensuring it arrives at the winery in pristine condition.

Vintage

2010 was the latest in a string of cooler-than-normal growing seasons in Napa Valley. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an especially cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, but classic Indian summer weather yielded grapes with mature, concentrated flavors at lower-than-normal sugar levels. This resulted in a bevy of lower-alcohol, beautifully structured wines with rich, elegant flavors.

Winemaking

Our winemaking regimen with Chardonnay is predicated on night harvesting, which ensures the grapes are picked cold and retain their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. After a short drive to the winery, the fruit is whole-cluster-pressed – further preserving freshness and purity – and the juice is transferred to a combination of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for fermentation. In 2010, 88% of our Chardonnay juice fermented in barrel, while 12% became wine in tank, with 11% undergoing a secondary, malolactic fermentation. All but a small percentage of the component wines aged in barrel for eight months on the yeast lees, with periodic stirring, to enhance texture and richness while preserving full varietal expression.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay is due for release in 2014.

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our Napa Valley Chardonnay is a blend of grapes from top vineyards throughout the southern end of the valley, with the preponderance of the fruit coming from the cool Carneros region. Deeply influenced by fog and cool breezes emanating from nearby San Pablo Bay, Carneros enjoys a long growing season that ripens its fruit fully while retaining the bright acidity that gives our Chardonnay its freshness and vitality.

Vintage

In 2013, a warm, dry spring and consistently mild summer brought our Napa Valley Chardonnay grapes – 85% from the cool Carneros district – to full fruition. After night-harvesting and whole-cluster-pressing the fruit for freshness, we fermented 90% of the juice sur lie (on the yeast lees) in French oak barrels, 28% new, for eight months, with periodic stirring of the lees to enhance the wine’s texture and complexity. This sumptuous, full-bodied and yet elegant Chardonnay delights with beautifully fresh aromas and rich, layered flavors.

Winemaking

Our strategy for producing world-class Chardonnay begins with night harvesting, which ensures that our grapes are picked cold and retain their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. Immediately upon arriving at the winery, the fruit is whole-cluster-pressed – further preserving freshness and purity – and the juice is transferred to a mix of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for fermentation.

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2013 2012 2011
Chardonnay

Cuttings Wharf Vineyard

  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011

Quantity is limited. Call the winery at (800) 588 - 0298

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Fresh and fragrant ripe apple, pear, melon and mineral aromas introduce our 2012 Cuttings Wharf Chardonnay, which offers lightly creamy, richly textured and deeply concentrated golden apple, citrus and ripe melon flavors. Capped off by a long, elegant finish featuring alluring apple, melon and mineral tones, this superbly balanced Chardonnay will drink beautifully over the next 3 to 5 years.

View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

This is our second single-vineyard Chardonnay from Cuttings Wharf Ranch, one of our four estate vineyards in southern Napa Valley’s cool-climate Carneros region. At Cuttings Wharf, we cultivate six different, high-quality clones of Chardonnay, all planted in shallow Haire Loam soils. In 2012, we used three of these clones – Wente (20%), 124 (40%) and 96 (40%) – to craft a complex Chardonnay boasting bright, fragrant aromas and deeply concentrated flavors.

Vintage

The 2012 vintage was outstanding, beginning with ideal spring weather during budbreak and flowering, which resulted in a perfectly even fruit set. Consistently mild, dry summer weather, with warm days, cool nights and few heat spikes, ripened our fruit slowly and evenly, yielding a healthy crop of grapes with an ideal balance of ripe, concentrated fruit flavors and lively acidity.

Winemaking

We hand-picked and night-harvested our Cuttings Wharf Chardonnay grapes to ensure they were picked cold and retained their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. At the winery, the fruit was whole-cluster-pressed in an anaerobic environment to further preserve freshness and purity. The free-run juice was transferred to 100% French oak barrels, 26% new, where 62% of the wine underwent a secondary, malolactic fermentation to soften and enrich its texture. It then aged for 15 months in barrel sur lie (on its primary yeast lees), with periodic stirring of the lees to further enhance texture and richness.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

This fragrant Chardonnay is redolent of ripe golden apple, melon and citrus fruit, with secondary coconut and vanilla bean scents. The palate offers rich, ripe, green apple, melon and guava flavors bolstered by a pleasing mineral tone in the long, crisp finish. Still a youngster, this beautifully balanced Napa Valley Chardonnay will profit from additional bottle aging and should drink beautifully over the next 3 to 5 years.

Delicious with chicken, seafood and grilled salads.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

This is our first single-vineyard Chardonnay from Cuttings Wharf Vineyard, one of four vineyards we own in southern Napa Valley’s cool-climate Carneros region. At Cuttings Wharf, six different, high-quality clones of Chardonnay are planted in shallow Haire Loam soils. The fruit from these special vines produces a wine with bright aromas, rich flavors, crisp acidity and a refreshing minerality. Our 2011 Cuttings Wharf Chardonnay is a felicitous blend of the Robert Young Clone and Clone 76, a French Dijon selection.

Vintage

2011 was a memorably cold, wet and late vintage. Wet winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying and disrupting budbreak, bloom and fruit set and setting the stage for a cool summer growing season that culminated in a prolonged harvest. The good news is that the cool weather fostered slow, even ripening and the development of fully mature fruit flavors. This helped us craft a beautifully structured Cuttings Wharf Chardonnay boasting classic varietal aromas and flavors balanced by bright acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvested our Cuttings Wharf Chardonnay grapes to ensure they were picked cold and retained their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. Once at the winery, the fruit was whole-cluster-pressed in an anaerobic environment to further preserve freshness and purity. The freshly pressed juice was transferred to 100% French oak barrels, 30% new, and inoculated for primary fermentation. Subsequently, 40% of the wine underwent a secondary, malolactic fermentation to soften and enrich its texture. The Cuttings Wharf Chardonnay aged for a total of eight months in barrel sur lie (on its yeast lees), with periodic stirring, to further enhance texture and richness. It was bottled on July 6, 2012.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Watch for our single-vineyard Chardonnay from Cuttings Wharf Vineyard to be released in Spring 2015.

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our Cuttings Wharf Ranch is one of our four estate vineyards in southern Napa Valley’s cool-climate Carneros region.

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2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Chardonnay Reserve

Carneros, Napa Valley

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007

PRICE $56.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Chardonnay Reserve boasts bright, creamy aromas of sweet golden apple and white peach augmented by enticing pie crust, biscotti, toasted oak and mineral scents. Full-bodied and mouthfilling on the palate, with luscious, impressively concentrated apple, pear and melon flavors, the wine delivers a strikingly long, persistent finish showcasing ripe fruit, spicy oak and refreshing mineral tones. Although this intense, beautifully structured chardonnay is difficult to resist now, it will benefit from another 5-7 years of aging.

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

We craft our Chardonnay Reserve exclusively from grapes grown in our four estate vineyards in the cool-climate Carneros district of southern Napa Valley. These sites provide ideal conditions for the cultivation of world-class chardonnay fruit, especially as they’re planted to nine distinctive clones of the variety, each supplying desirable traits to our final blend. By fermenting and barrel aging each clonal selection separately – using French oak barrels tailored to the character of each lot – and then blending only the very best lots, we’re able to create a rich, luxurious chardonnay boasting layers of complex aromas and flavors.

Vintage

2012 was a near-ideal growing season, with a warm, dry spring fostering early budbreak and trouble-free flowering and grape set. Consistently mild summer weather free of rain or unwelcome heat spikes allowed us to harvest our Chardonnay Reserve grapes at just the right moment with a perfect balance of intense, concentrated fruit flavors and bright acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvested and whole-cluster-pressed our 2012 Chardonnay Reserve fruit to maximize freshness and fruit purity, then instigated fermentation by inoculating the juice with cultured yeast strains that accentuate the chardonnay variety’s bright fruit tones. One hundred percent of the juice fermented in French oak barrels, 30% new, and 60% of the wine was put through a secondary, malolactic fermentation to enhance its texture and foster a rich, creamy mouthfeel. The Chardonnay Reserve aged in barrel on its primary yeast lees for 15 months, with weekly stirring of the lees. This regimen enhanced the wine’s aromatic complexity, round, creamy texture and fresh, lush flavors.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Chardonnay Reserve introduces itself with creamy, yeasty, butterscotch-y aromas that quickly reveal lovely ripe peach and yellow apple fruit scents layered with nutmeg and cinnamon spice notes from the French oak barrels in which it was fermented and aged. Full-bodied, round and extremely rich and creamy on the palate, the wine expertly marries lush apple, peach and crème brulee flavors with refreshing mineral tones, culminating in a long, lively finish buoyed by bright acidity and a hint of citrus zest. Beautifully structured, this sumptuous Chardonnay Reserve should age beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

Pair with salmon, swordfish, veal and light pork, bouillabaisse or cream bisques.
View recipes that complement this wine

Carneros_chardonnay_image_thumb Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Reserve with Wild Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding

Vineyards

2010 is our first vintage of Chardonnay Reserve produced entirely from our estate vineyards – Cuttings Wharf, Milton Road and Foster Road – in the cool-climate Carneros district of southern Napa Valley. These prime sites are planted to six distinctive, high-quality clones of Chardonnay. By fermenting and barrel aging each clonal selection separately, and then blending only the very best barrel lots, we’re able to create a rich, luxurious style of Chardonnay with layers of complex aromas and flavors.

Vintage

2010 was the latest in a series of cooler-than-normal growing seasons in Napa Valley. The year began with substantial winter rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an especially cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, but classic Indian summer weather yielded fully matured fruit. 2010’s mild growing conditions proved especially ideal for our Chardonnay grapes, which developed deep, concentrated flavors balanced by vibrant acidity.

Winemaking

To ensure we obtain the freshest, purest juice possible, we night-harvest and whole-cluster-press 100% of our Chardonnay grapes. In 2010, we inoculated 76% of the juice with cultured yeast strains that accentuate the variety’s fruitfulness while using 24% native yeasts from the vineyard to promote greater complexity and a refreshing minerality. One hundred percent of the juice fermented in French oak barrels, 30% new, with 7% undergoing a secondary, malolactic fermentation to enhance richness and mouthfeel. Aging our Chardonnay Reserve in barrel on its primary yeast lees for 15 months, with weekly stirring of the lees, further enhanced the wine’s aromatic complexity while fostering a round, creamy texture and lush, concentrated flavors.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Chardonnay Reserve boasts fragrant sweet apple, ginger and melon aromas with complex, accompanying scents of citrus zest, mineral, vanilla cream, yeast and toasty oak. On the full-bodied, beautifully structured palate, the wine delivers succulent, deeply concentrated, creamy apple, melon, lemon-lime and peach flavors that persist throughout a long, bright, mineral- and ginger-laced finish. With great reserves of fruit, vibrant acidity and perfectly balanced oak tones, this luxurious, cool-climate Napa Valley Chardonnay makes delicious drinking now, but will handsomely reward five to seven years of cellaring.

Pair with salmon, swordfish, veal and light pork, bouillabaisse or cream bisques.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay with Bruschetta with Mushrooms and Ricotta

Vineyards

Our 2007 Chardonnay Reserve is a blend of grapes from several outstanding vineyards in the cool-climate Carneros district of Napa Valley, with 67% of the fruit coming from our Foster Road, Milton Road and Tinsley Ranch estate vineyards. The wine also blends six different French Dijon clones of Chardonnay, which contribute to its distinctive, complex aromas and intense, vibrant flavors.

Vintage

2007 was a vintage of exceptional quality. Winter and spring were warmer and drier than usual, which accelerated budbreak, bloom and set and also resulted in small Chardonnay cluster and berry sizes, which concentrated and intensified flavors. Due to the early-starting season and consistently temperate summer weather, harvest began early and progressed at a fast clip, allowing us to harvest our Carneros District Chardonnay grapes between September 3rd and 21st with an ideal balance of ripe fruit and crisp acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvest 100% of our Carneros Chardonnay grapes and whole-cluster-press the fruit to obtain the freshest, purest juice possible. In 2007, we inoculated 90% of the juice with cultured yeast strains to enhance the rich fruit character of the Chardonnay variety. Ten percent was fermented with native yeast strains to promote even greater complexity and a refreshing minerality. All of the juice fermented in French oak barrels, 32% new, with 16% of the new wine undergoing a secondary, malolactic fermentation to soften acidity and foster a round, creamy texture. Aging the wine in barrel on its primary yeast lees for 15 months, with plentiful stirring and no racking, further refined our Reserve Chardonnay’s silky texture, complex aromas and intense flavors, creating a perfect balance of fruit, yeast and oak tones.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2008 Chardonnay Reserve boasts vivid, beautifully delineated sweet apple, melon and citrus aromas – with hints of ginger and white peach – layered with toasty, creamy tones from barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. On the round, streamlined palate, bright, creamy, apple, melon, pear, lemon-lime and mineral flavors gain additional richness from judicious toasty oak and yeast tones that prolong a lingering, gingery finish lifted by a refreshing minerality. This youthful Chardonnay Reserve, from a vintage renowned for producing finely focused white wines with concentrated fruit and vibrant acidity, will continue developing in bottle for another 5-7 years.

Pair with salmon, swordfish, veal and light pork, bouillabaisse or cream bisques.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Reserve with Sweet Potato Soup with Chestnuts and Brandy

Vineyards

We craft our Chardonnay Reserve from grapes cultivated in the cool-climate Carneros district of Napa Valley, with most of the fruit coming from our own estate vineyards. The wine blends six superior French Dijon clones of Chardonnay, which account for its distinctive, complex aromas and intense, vibrant flavors.

Vintage

2008 was a topsy-turvy growing season in Napa Valley, with heavy January rains giving way to a warm, dry spring complicated by severe frosts in late March and throughout April. Coupled with inclement weather during bloom in May, these conditions dramatically reduced the size of the grape crop. Beginning in June, however, consistently clear, mild summer weather prevailed, ripening our small crop of Carneros Chardonnay grapes to perfection. Despite the season’s tribulations, 2008 yielded a bevy of vibrant, beautifully focused wines with rich, concentrated flavors balanced by crisp acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvest 100% of our Chardonnay Reserve grapes and whole-cluster-press the fruit to obtain the freshest, purest juice possible. In 2008, we inoculated 80% of the juice with cultured yeast strains to enhance its rich fruit character while using 20% native yeasts from the vineyard to foster greater complexity and a refreshing minerality. One hundred percent of the juice fermented in French oak barrels, 35% new. Due to the wine’s perfect natural balance, we refrained from subjecting it to a secondary, malolactic fermentation. Aging our Chardonnay Reserve in barrel on its primary yeast lees for 15 months, with periodic stirring to enhance body and complexity, further refined its round, creamy texture, vibrant, varietally expressive aromas and rich, concentrated flavors.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2009 Chardonnay Reserve delights the olfactory sense with beautifully ripe golden apple, citrus and tropical fruit aromas, complemented by seductive scents of buttercream, yeast and mineral. On the palate, the wine is wonderfully lush and mouthfilling, with rich, creamy, spiced apple, peach and melon flavors; yet, it is also wonderfully fresh, focused and balanced, reflecting the cool 2009 vintage. With deeply concentrated fruit and vibrant acidity, this luxurious Chardonnay Reserve will age beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

Pair with salmon, swordfish, veal and light pork, bouillabaisse or cream bisques.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Reserve with Chef Michael Smith's Pistou Soup

Vineyards

Our 2009 Chardonnay Reserve was produced entirely from grapes grown in the cool-climate Carneros district of southern Napa Valley, with 85% of the fruit coming from our estate vineyards which includes 70% from four special blocks of our Foster Road ranch. These sites provide us with six distinctive, high-quality French Dijon clones of Chardonnay, which we blend to create a singularly delicious wine with complex varietal aromas and intense, vibrant flavors.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Northern California deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in small berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, fostering maturity at moderate sugar levels and resulting in superbly balanced wines. We harvested the grapes for our 2009 Chardonnay Reserve between September 8th and 19th with a fine balance of ripe fruit flavors and crisp balancing acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvest 100% of our Chardonnay grapes and whole-cluster-press the fruit to obtain the freshest, purest juice possible. In 2009, we inoculated 91% of the juice with cultured yeast strains to accentuate fruit character while using 9% native yeasts from the vineyard to foster greater complexity and a refreshing minerality. One hundred percent of the juice fermented in French oak barrels, 31% new, with 12% undergoing a secondary, malolactic fermentation to enhance richness and mouthfeel. Aging our Chardonnay Reserve in barrel on its primary yeast lees for 15 months, with weekly stirring to enhance body and complexity, further refined its round, creamy texture, varietally expressive aromas and lush, concentrated flavors.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our sumptuous 2011 Chardonnay Reserve offers creamy, complex aromas of lemon custard, ripe golden apple and white peach, complemented by subordinate notes of jasmine, buttercream, light yeast and oak toast. Round and creamy on the palate, with deeply concentrated peach, apple and melon flavors, the wine picks up zesty citrus, spice and mineral tones in the long, elegant finish. This big, beautifully balanced Chardonnay is delicious now, but it will handsomely reward another 5-7 years’ aging.

Pair with salmon, swordfish, veal and light pork, bouillabaisse or cream bisques.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay with Bruschetta with Mushrooms and Ricotta

Vineyards

The grapes for our 2011 Chardonnay Reserve came entirely from our four ranches – Foster Road (49%), Tinsley (41%), Cuttings Wharf (9%) and Milton Road (3%) – in the cool-climate Carneros district of southern Napa Valley. These prime sites are collectively planted to nine distinctive, high-quality clones of Chardonnay. By fermenting and barrel aging each clonal selection separately, and then blending the very best barrel lots, we’re able to create a luxurious style of Chardonnay boasting layers of complex aromas and flavors.

Vintage

2011 was a memorably cool, late vintage. Rainy winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying and disrupting budbreak, bloom and fruit set and setting the stage for a cool summer growing season culminating in a prolonged harvest. The good news is that the cool weather fostered slow, even ripening and fully mature fruit flavors in our estate Chardonnay grapes, allowing us to craft a beautifully structured Chardonnay Reserve with ripe, luscious flavors balanced by crisp acidity.

Winemaking

After night-harvesting and whole-cluster-pressing the fruit to maximize freshness and fruit purity, we instigated fermentation by inoculating the juice with cultured yeast strains that accentuate the Chardonnay variety’s bright fruit tones. One hundred percent of the juice fermented in French oak barrels, 31% new, with a small portion of the new wine undergoing a secondary, malolactic fermentation to enhance texture, mouthfeel and balance. Our Chardonnay Reserve then aged in barrel on its primary yeast lees for 15 months, with weekly stirring of the lees. This regimen further enhanced the wine’s aromatic complexity, round, creamy texture and fresh flavors.

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2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Pinot Noir

Anderson Valley

  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007

PRICE $50.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir displays earthy, fresh cherry and red raspberry aromas accented by notes of sandalwood and mineral. Medium-bodied and supple on the palate, with fine tannins, the wine delivers juicy black cherry, red currant and black raspberry flavors that persist throughout a long, lively finish featuring bright acidity and a refreshing minerality. Rich, yet elegantly styled, this delicious Pinot Noir will drink beautifully over the next 3-5 years.

June 04, 2013

91 points

International Wine Report

The 2011 Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir comes out of the Anderson Valley and was aged in French Oak for 11 Months. This Pinot is very expressive with aromas of fresh strawberries, earth, toasted wood, asparagus, soy sauce, orange zest, floral notes and a hint of game. Great structure, focused and delicious with lots of spice and minerality on the finish. I would recommend waiting 2-3 years before uncorking this, but there is no rush as it looks to have the potential to last another 5-10 years in the cellar. (Best 2015-2023)

August 01, 2013

90 points — Drink now through 2018.

Wine Spectator

Offers a mix of delicate loamy earth, dried berry, cedar and anise, with wilted rose. Pleasingly complex on the finish.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir with Summer Bush Beans with Red Pepper Soffrito

Vineyards

Over the past decade, Cakebread Cellars has expanded its interest in Pinot Noir. In 2001, we developed what is now a 46-acre Pinot Noir vineyard in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley, which we today call Apple Barn. It’s planted to six distinguished clones of the variety and has produced outstanding Pinot Noirs since 2004. In 2011, we acquired the highly regarded Annahala Vineyard, just a half-mile west of Apple Barn. Annahala contains 60 acres and eight high-quality clones of Pinot Noir. As a result, we soon will be offering three Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, one from each of our Mendocino vineyards and a blend of fruit from the two.

Vintage

In 2011, California experienced one of its coldest and wettest vintages in memory. Wet winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying and disrupting budbreak, bloom and fruit set and setting the stage for a cool summer growing season that culminated in a prolonged and occasionally wet harvest. The key to producing quality Pinot Noir in such vintages is to open up the vine to more sunlight and warmth, thin grape clusters to ensure the remaining ones ripen fully, and carefully sort through the grapes to cull the healthiest berries. This results in reduced production, but allows vintners to craft quality wines from challenging growing seasons.

Winemaking

Night-harvesting our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes ensures we bring fresh, varietally expressive fruit into the winery. We ferment each of our Pinot Noir clones separately to maximize their distinctiveness and enhance wine complexity. We handle the fruit gently and cold-soak it prior to fermentation to optimize color and tannin extraction and to accentuate Pinot Noir’s fruit-forward personality. We ferment the juice in small open-top tanks and gently punch down the cap of skins at the top of the tanks to fully extract color and flavor while limiting aeration. Once fermentation completes, the wines macerate on their skins for several more weeks, with daily monitoring of color and tannin development. After draining the wines from their skins, we transfer them to French oak barrels carefully matched to each lot’s flavor and texture profile. After aging the wines in barrel until the following spring, we blend the lots and barrel-age the blend another 6-7 months before bottling in late summer.

Quantity is limited. Call the winery at (800) 588 - 0298

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir boasts a vividly fragrant nose of bright cherry, raspberry and plum fruit, complemented by a seductive scent of sweet vanilla. Comprised primarily of the famed Pommard and Swan clones, this plush Pinot is fruit-rich, round and mouthfilling on the palate, with juicy dark cherry, plum and pomegranate flavors that pick up a zesty tea-leaf spice tone on the long, succulent finish. Superbly balanced, with deep, opulent fruit, supple tannins and bright acidity, this delicious Pinot Noir will drink beautifully for the next 5-7 years.

August 01, 2013

90 points — Drink now through 2018.

Wine Spectator

Offers a mix of delicate loamy earth, dried berry, cedar and anise, with wilted rose. Pleasingly complex on the finish.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir with Braised Chicken Thighs with Artichokes

Vineyards

Our estate Mendocino County Pinot Noir vineyard lies just north of the small town of Boonville at the southern end of Anderson Valley, a small jewel of a winegrowing region that follows the Navarro River on its path to the spectacular Mendocino coastline. In addition to an ideal climate of cool, foggy mornings, warm late afternoons and chilly evenings, the site boasts six distinctive clones of Pinot Noir that together provide a rich tapestry of varietal flavors, making our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir a marvel of opulence and complexity.

Vintage

The 2010 growing season began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started ripening. Cool weather returned in early September, but a glorious Indian summer yielded a late harvest of fruit with mature, concentrated flavors, resulting in a bevy of beautifully structured wines. We harvested our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes between September 29th and October 1st with a perfect balance of ripe fruit flavors and crisp balancing acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvest our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes during the early morning hours when their flavors are optimally fresh and intense. Fermenting each of our six Pinot Noir clones separately maximizes their distinctive personalities and enhances wine complexity. Before fermentation, each clonal lot receives a three-day cold soak to gently extract color and tannin and accentuate Pinot Noir’s fruit-forward personality. In traditional Burgundian fashion, we ferment the juice in small open-top tanks and gently punch down the cap of skins at the top of the tanks to fully extract color and flavor. Once fermentation completes, the wines macerate on their skins for several more weeks, with daily assays of color and tannin development. After draining the wines from the skins, we transfer them to Burgundian oak barrels carefully matched to our estate fruit’s flavor and textural attributes. After aging the wines in barrel until the following spring, we blend the lots and barrel-age the blend another 6-7 months before bottling.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Compared to Cakebread Cellars’ Carneros Pinot Noir, our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir bottling offers a darker, lusher, earthier fruit character. The 2009 vintage displays lavish, high-toned blueberry, boysenberry, dark plum and blackberry aromas with rich, dense, black fruit flavors that are simultaneously fresh and opulent. Beautifully balanced with supple, perfectly integrated tannins and a long, savory finish, this immensely flavorful Pinot Noir is thoroughly delicious now, yet it will handsomely reward another 3-5 years’ aging.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir with Thai Red Curry with Roast Duck

Vineyards

In 2001, Cakebread Cellars planted a Pinot Noir vineyard just north of the small town of Boonville at the southern end of Anderson Valley, a small jewel of a winegrowing region that follows the Navarro River on its path to the spectacular Mendocino coastline. In addition to an ideal climate of cool, foggy mornings, warm late afternoons and chilly evenings, the site boasts six distinctive French clones of Pinot Noir that together provide a rich tapestry of varietal flavors, making our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir a marvel of opulence and complexity.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Northern California fully replenished the water table, which deferred the need for early irrigation and kept berry sizes small. Consistently cool summer temperatures resulted in the slow, steady and parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, resulting in peak fruit maturity at lower sugar levels and beautifully balanced wines. We harvested our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes between September 16th and 19th with a perfect balance of rich fruit flavors and crisp balancing acidity.

Winemaking

An important aspect of our winemaking regimen for Pinot Noir is night-harvesting, because grape flavors are fresher and more concentrated during the cold early morning hours – when the vines are at rest – than during the day. Fermenting each of our six Anderson Valley Pinot Noir clones separately is also key, as it optimizes the distinctive personality of each clone and maximizes complexity. Prior to fermentation, each lot receives a three-day cold soak to gently extract color and tannin while accentuating Pinot Noir’s fruit-forward personality. In traditional Burgundian fashion, the juice ferments in open-top tanks with gentle, manual punch-downs of the cap. Once fermentation completes, the wines macerate on the skins for several more weeks, with daily assays of color and tannin development. After gently draining the wines from the skins, we transfer them to French oak barrels (31% new) selected to accentuate our estate fruit’s flavor and textural attributes. After aging the wines in barrel until the following spring, we blend the lots and barrel-age the blend another seven months before bottling.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The nose of our 2008 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is dense with the scents of ripe summer fruits: boysenberry, black raspberry, black cherry, strawberry and dark plum, all abetted by intriguing hints of earth, leather, cocoa and oak toast. Lush and full-bodied on the palate, with layer upon layer of sumptuous, deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors, the wine is bolstered by beautifully integrated tannins and appealing spice and toasty oak tones that add a savory note to the long, firmly structured finish. Delicious now, this opulent Anderson Valley Pinot Noir will gain even more nuance and complexity with another 3-5 years’ bottle aging.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir with Cranberry Bean, Cabbage, Red Wine Soup with Cavelo Nero Pasta

Vineyards

In 2001, we planted a Pinot Noir vineyard just north of the small, iconic town of Boonville at the southern end of Anderson Valley, a small jewel of a winegrowing region that follows the Navarro River on its path to the spectacular Mendocino coastline. In addition to an ideal climate of cool, foggy mornings, warm late afternoons and chilly evenings, the site boasts six distinctive French clones of Pinot Noir. Clone 667 provides fruit-forward flavors; 777 delivers perfumed aromas; 115 adds strong color; the Pommard and 375 clones supply elegant tannic structure; and the Swan clone contributes wonderful concentration. Together, they provide an amazing diversity of varietal flavors, making our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir a marvel of richness and complexity.

Vintage

In spring, 2008, Northern California experienced a spate of severe spring frosts, dramatically reducing yields on virtually all wine grape varieties. Temperatures during the early part of the growing season were significantly below average, but warmer weather finally arrived in July, although temperatures cooled again in September. Southern Anderson Valley’s warm afternoon temperatures, coupled with its overcast, fog-chilled mornings and cold evenings (diurnal variations of 40 degrees are not uncommon), ripened our estate Pinot Noir grapes to perfection with an excellent balance of ripe fruit flavors and bright acidity. The fruit was harvested between September 27th and 30th in pristine condition.

Winemaking

We ferment each of our six Anderson Valley Pinot Noir clones separately to optimize their distinctive personalities. Prior to fermentation, each lot receives a three-day cold soak to gently extract color and tannin while accentuating Pinot Noir’s fruit-forward personality. In true Burgundian fashion, the juice ferments in open-top tanks with gentle, manual punch-downs of the cap. Once fermentation completes, the wines macerate on the skins for several more weeks, with daily assessments of color and tannin development. In 2008, 3% of the fruit was fermented as whole clusters and 4% was barrel-fermented to enhance complexity. After gently draining the wines from the skins, we transferred them to Burgundian oak barrels, 32% new, selected to accentuate our estate fruit’s flavor and textural attributes. After aging the wines in barrel until the following spring, we blended the lots and barrel-aged the blend another seven months before bottling.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

On first whiff, our 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir conjures a shower of cascading rose petals, a lovely, floral aroma that gives way with airing to a mélange of dark ripe fruit scents (blueberry, boysenberry and black cherry), with earth, chocolate and juniper notes adding complexity. On the full, rich palate, the wine offers layers of deeply concentrated, dark berry, plum and currant fruit flavors bolstered by ripe, seamlessly integrated tannins and a long, chocolate-y finish. Thoroughly delicious now, this ‘masculine’-style Pinot Noir will become even more voluptuous and complex with another 3-5 years’ bottle aging.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_pna_chicken_chorizo

Vineyards

The grapes for this sumptuous Anderson Valley Pinot Noir come exclusively from our estate vineyard near Boonville at the southern end of Anderson Valley, which follows the Navarro River as it drains into the Pacific Ocean at Albion on the Mendocino Coast. While the site experiences cool, foggy mornings, it also enjoys warm late afternoons, an ideal scenario for ripening Pinot Noir grapes to perfection while retaining their vibrant acidity. Another key feature of our Anderson Valley vineyard is its six superb French clones of Pinot Noir, which yield small-berried grapes with intense, concentrated flavors and ripe, round tannins. These special clones allow us to craft an Anderson Valley Pinot Noir of uncommon depth, richness and complexity.

Vintage

The winter and spring of 2007 were unusually dry and mild, which accelerated budbreak and bloom. The summer months were also temperate, with few heat spikes, which allowed our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. Coupled with modest crop yields and ideal harvest weather, these conditions fostered perfectly ripened fruit, which we night-harvested by hand between September 18th and 27th.

Winemaking

We ferment each of our six Anderson Valley Pinot Noir clones separately to optimize their distinctive personalities, using a proportion of native yeasts from the vineyard (22% in 2007) to foster additional complexity. Prior to fermentation, each lot receives a three-day cold soak to gently extract color and tannin while accentuating Pinot Noir’s fruit-forward personality. In true Burgundian fashion, the juice ferments in open-top tanks with gentle, manual punch-downs of the cap. Once fermentation completes, the wines macerate on the skins for another two weeks, with daily assessments of color and tannin development. In 2007, after draining the wines from the skins, we transferred them to French oak barrels, 40% new, selected specifically to accentuate our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir’s fruit and textural qualities. We then blended the component wines in spring, 2008 and barrel-aged the blend for another seven months, for a total of 15 months barrel aging. The 2007 Pinot Noir was bottled in January, 2009.

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2013 2012
Pinot Noir

Two Creeks Anderson Valley

  • 2013
  • 2012

PRICE $42.00

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Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2012 Cakebread Cellars Two Creeks Pinot Noir boasts fragrant red and black cherry, red raspberry, strawberry and rose petal aromas. It has a smooth, mouth-coating texture, velvety tannins and delightfully silky red raspberry, cherry and strawberry flavors that take on a spicy tone in the long, juicy finish. Delicious now, it will age well in bottle for at least five years.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.

Vineyards

Cakebread Cellars 2012 Two Creeks Pinot Noir is blend of several French Dijon clones and the famed Joseph Swan and Pommard clones. The grapes were night-harvested for freshness between September 20th and October 1st with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity. With the Dijon clones supplying bright fruit and acidity, the small-berried Swan clone providing intense varietal flavors, and the Pommard clone contributing mid-palate weight and a warm spice tone, Two Creeks is a fruit-forward, yet complex pinot noir showcasing the best of Anderson Valley.

Vintage

“2012 was a picture-perfect vintage in California,” says longtime Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks, “so we’re happy it’s the debut vintage of our Two Creeks Pinot Noir. In great vintages like 2012, we’re able to fully execute our philosophy of non-intrusive winemaking: handling the grapes and wine as gently as possible to ensure that the lovely, ethereal aromas and flavors of pinot noir shine through. When you combine stellar vineyards with a superb vintage and let the fruit do the talking, you can make a beautiful wine like Two Creeks.”

Winemaking

The fruit was handled gently and cold-soaked for several days prior to fermentation to extract early color and flavor, with the stems retained in certain lots to impart a light spice tone. The must was allowed to warm up naturally over the course of a week before native yeast from the vineyards spontaneously initiated fermentation, which was subsequently sustained by inoculating with a cultured yeast strain. Gentle daily punchdowns during fermentation extracted optimal color, flavor and tannin from the skins. The new wines aged in French Burgundian oak barrels, 38% new, for seven months before being blended in April, 2013. The blended wine then spent another three months in barrel prior to bottling in July, 2013.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2013 Two Creeks Pinot Noir is due for release in 2014.

Vineyards

Cakebread Cellars Two Creeks Pinot Noir is blend of several French Dijon clones and the famed Joseph Swan and Pommard clones from our estate vineyards in Anderson Valley. The grapes were night-harvested for freshness with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity.

Vintage

Two Creeks Pinot Noir blends grapes from our two cool-climate vineyards in coastal Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley: Apple Barn (60%) and Annahala (40%). Ideal growing conditions in 2013, with a warm spring and mild summer, yielded fruit with intense, beautifully structured flavors. After fermenting the juice in small tanks using gentle punchdowns to extract optimal color and flavor, we aged the wine for 10 months in 37% new French oak, which enhanced the complexity of its fragrant red fruit aromas and bright, juicy flavors.

Winemaking

The fruit was handled gently and cold-soaked for several days prior to fermentation to extract early color and flavor, with the stems retained in certain lots to impart a light spice tone. The must was allowed to warm up naturally over the course of a week before native yeast from the vineyards spontaneously initiated fermentation, which was subsequently sustained by inoculating with a cultured yeast strain. Gentle daily punchdowns during fermentation extracted optimal color, flavor and tannin from the skins.

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2012
Pinot Noir

Apple Barn Vineyard Anderson Valley

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Apple Barn Pinot Noir offers beautifully focused black cherry and rose petal aromas, and opulent blackberry and spiced Bing cherry flavors balanced by fresh acidity and fine tannins.

Vineyards

We own two exceptional Pinot Noir vineyards in the marine-influenced Anderson Valley of coastal Mendocino County. Our Apple Barn vineyard, planted in 2001, sits on the site of a former apple orchard. Planted to a broad range of high-quality French clones of Pinot Noir, Apple Barn ripens slowly and evenly, especially in picture-perfect vintages like 2012.

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2012
Pinot Noir

Annahala Ranch Anderson Valley

Quantity is limited. Call the winery at (800) 588 - 0298

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Annahala Pinot Noir boasts beautifully fresh, pure, red and black cherry aromas with notes of strawberry and red raspberry. Round and juicy on the palate, its silky, delicious cherry and raspberry flavors gain light spice and mineral tones on the bright, lively finish. Perfectly balanced by fine tannins and vibrant acidity, this lovely Pinot Noir is delightful now on its own or with food (salmon, herb-roasted chicken, pork and lamb dishes), but will develop greater nuance with another 2-3 years of bottle age.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.

Vineyards

The 60-acre Annahala Vineyard is just northwest of the small town of Boonville in southern Anderson Valley, a renowned source of world-class pinot noir. Annahala’s tree-shaded slopes, loamy soils, cool, marine-influenced climate and multiple, high-quality clones of pinot noir yield wines with fresh, varietally pure aromas, bright, rich flavors and fine, supple tannins.

Vintage

The 2012 vintage was one of California’s finest in recent memory. Consistently mild summer weather free of rain and significant heat spikes produced a healthy crop of intensely flavorful fruit. These conditions allowed us to harvest our Annahala Vineyard pinot noir grapes between September 25th and 29th with an ideal balance of ripe fruit flavors and vibrant acidity.

Winemaking

Our 2012 Annahala Pinot Noir is a blend of three high-quality French Dijon clones of the variety: 114 (65% of the blend), 777 and 115. Each clonal lot was handled gently and cold-soaked for several days prior to fermentation to extract early color and flavor. The must was allowed to warm up naturally over the course of a week before native yeasts from the vineyard spontaneously initiated fermentation. Gentle daily punchdowns during fermentation and extended maceration extracted optimal color, flavor and tannin from the skins. The three wines aged for six months in French Burgundian oak barrels (37% new) tailored to their particular fruit attributes before being blended in April, 2013. The blended wine spent another three months in barrel prior to bottling in August, 2013

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2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Pinot Noir

Carneros, Napa Valley

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006

PRICE $50.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Carneros Pinot Noir boasts delightfully fragrant, complex aromas of Bing and black cherry, strawberry, framboise, red plum, pomegranate and rose hips tea, complemented by pleasing sandalwood, vanilla and woodsy spice scents. On the medium-to-full-bodied palate, the wine delivers rich, juicy, dark cherry, raspberry, plum and pomegranate flavors balanced by fresh acidity, round, supple tannins, and a refreshing mineral tone in the long, fruit-filled finish. Delicious now, this lovely pinot noir will age beautifully in bottle for another 3-5 years.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir with Paella

Vineyards

Our Carneros Pinot Noir blends grapes from several outstanding vineyards in the northern portion of the famed Carneros District in southern Napa Valley. The loam and hillside alluvial soils of these cool-climate sites yield small crops of Pinot Noir fruit with highly concentrated flavors. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay ensure a long growing season and vibrant grape acidity, resulting in rich, beautifully balanced Pinot Noirs.

Vintage

In 2011, ample winter and spring rainfall extending into mid-June delayed vine development by several weeks, setting the stage for a prolonged grape harvest. Cool summer weather fostered slow, even ripening of our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes, which achieved optimal flavor concentration at lower-than-normal sugar levels. The fruit was harvested between September 20th and October 8th with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

Night harvesting our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes ensures we fully capture the variety’s fresh acidity, ethereal aromas and silky flavors. In 2011, each of our vineyard and clonal lots (Pinot Noir has numerous clonal variations) was fermented separately in small stainless steel tanks and gently punched down to extract optimal color, flavor and tannin. After fermentation completed, we drained the free-run juice from tank and transferred the new wines to French Burgundian oak barrels, 45% new, selected specifically to highlight the unique character of our Carneros fruit. Each barrel lot was carefully monitored for quality and varietal intensity, with the best lots blended within three months of the harvest to harmonize flavors. Our 2011 Carneros Pinot Noir aged for a total of 11 months in barrel before bottling in August, 2012.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Consistent with past vintages, our 2007 Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir seduces with fragrant red and black cherry aromas complemented by secondary scents of raspberry, dark plum, light brown spices, sweet vanilla, freshly baked brioche and toasty oak. On the beautifully balanced, medium-bodied palate, the wine delivers bright, succulent, cherry and raspberry flavors supported by fine, silky tannins and a black tea spiciness that enlivens the long, zesty finish. While this lovely Pinot Noir drinks beautifully now, it will handsomely reward another 3-5 years of bottle age.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_pn_wolfe_quail_cherries_fennel

Vineyards

We craft our Carneros Pinot Noir from multiple, small-berried clones of the variety grown in several outstanding vineyards in the famed Carneros District at the southern tip of Napa Valley. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay ensure a long growing season and the slow, even ripening of our Carneros grapes, which in 2007 were harvested between August 27th and September 4th.

Vintage

In 2007, a dry, mild winter and spring led to early budbreak and bloom. The summer months were temperate, with few heat spikes, which allowed our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes to develop concentrated flavors while retaining bright acidity. Warm weather in early September accelerated ripening and led to an early, fast-paced harvest of beautifully matured fruit.

Winemaking

To make world-class Pinot Noir, we night-harvest our grapes by hand and treat the fruit as gently as possible, intervening minimally during fermentation and barrel aging. Typically, we ferment all the juice in small, open-top, stainless steel tanks, but in 2007 we experimented with fermenting a small fraction (12%) in open-top barrels. This type of fermentation expands the flavor spectrum, produces richer hues, creates a more supple texture and promotes complexity. We further enhanced complexity by relying in the fermentation on 22% native yeasts that arrived on the fruit from the vineyards. In true Burgundian fashion we gently punched down the cap in tank to thoroughly macerate the juice and skins. Once fermentation completed, the wines continued macerating on the skins for several weeks to fully extract color and flavor. We then transferred them to French oak barrels, 42% new, where they aged until blending the following spring. The blended wine then spent another seven months in barrel, for a total barrel-aging time of 15 months. The 2007 Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir was bottled in December, 2008.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

This is one of the richest Carneros Pinot Noirs we’ve made to date. Its lovely, complex nose reveals forward scents of cherry cobbler, red raspberry, plum compote, sandalwood, spearmint, Asian spices and dried herbs. Ripe, juicy and supple on the palate, with fine, ripe tannins, its rich and full-bodied black cherry, raspberry and dark plum flavors pick up a zesty tea-leaf spice tone in the long, full finish. Hard to resist now, this delicious wine will continue developing in bottle for another 3-5 years.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir with Andouille-Crusted Salmon

Vineyards

Our Carneros Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from several outstanding vineyards in the northern precincts of the famed Carneros District in southern Napa Valley. The loam and hillside alluvial soils of these cool-climate sites yield small crops of Pinot Noir fruit with highly concentrated flavors. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay ensure a long growing season and vibrant grape acidity, resulting in a rich, beautifully balanced Pinot Noir.

Vintage

2010 was the latest in a string of cool growing seasons in California’s North Coast. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, allowing our Pinot Noir grapes to hang on the vine an extra few weeks developing ripe, concentrated flavors.

Winemaking

Night harvesting our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes ensures we fully capture the variety’s fresh acidity, ethereal aromas and silky, complex fruit flavors. In 2010, we fermented 87% of the juice in small (4-ton) stainless steel tanks, while 13% was fermented in open-top barrels. Barrel fermentation of Pinot Noir results in a wine with great color and texture, a seamless integration of fruit and oak, lush flavors and soft tannins – a perfect complement to the bright, fruity character we get from traditional tank fermentation. Using a special Burgundian yeast strain to initiate fermentation, along with daily punchdowns of the cap of skins at the top of the fermenting tanks, further optimizes color, flavor and tannin. Once fermentation completes, the wines macerate on their skins for another few weeks, again in the interest of maximizing color and flavor extraction. In 2010, we used medium-plus-toast Burgundian barrels, 35% new, in which our Pinot Noir lots aged eight months prior to blending. The blended wine aged another seven months in barrel before bottling in December, 2011.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The fresh, enticing nose of our 2009 Carneros Pinot Noir offers vivacious Bing cherry, red raspberry and red plum aromas complemented by lovely vanilla, tea-leaf spice and toasted oak scents. On the supple, richly textured palate, the wine delivers wonderfully deep, juicy, cherry and plum flavors framed by seamlessly integrated tannins and a long, fruitful finish punctuated by savory spice tones. Thoroughly delicious now, this superb Carneros Pinot Noir will age gracefully in bottle for another 3-5 years.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_pn_coq_a_vin-chicken_in_red_wine

Vineyards

Our Carneros Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from several outstanding vineyards in the northern section of the famed Carneros District in southern Napa Valley. The loam and hillside alluvial soils of these cool-climate sites yield small crops of Pinot Noir fruit with highly concentrated flavors. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay ensure a long growing season and vibrant grape acidity, resulting in rich, beautifully balanced wines.

Vintage

The 2009 growing season in Napa Valley was “cool” in all respects. Spring rains replenished the water table, deferring the need for irrigation, which kept berry sizes small. Summer brought consistently below-average temperatures, resulting in the slow, parallel development of grape sugars and flavors. This allowed the fruit to reach peak maturity at lower sugar levels, a highly desirable outcome. We harvested our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes between August 31st and September 11th with an ideal balance of ripe fruit flavors and crisp balancing acidity.

Winemaking

Night harvesting of our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes ensures we fully capture the variety’s fresh acidity, ethereal aromas and silky, complex fruit flavors. In 2009, in true Burgundian fashion, we retained 20% of the grape stems in the fermentation, 85% of which was conducted in small, open-top tanks using a special Burgundian yeast strain, with daily punchdowns of the cap to fully extract color, flavor and tannin. Fifteen percent of the juice fermented in open-top barrels, which softens tannins, stabilizes color and allows for the early integration of oak aromas and flavors. Once fermentation completed, the wines macerated on their skins for several additional weeks to fully extract color and flavor. They were then transferred to medium-plus-toast French oak barrels, 33% new, where they aged eight months prior to blending. The blended wine aged another seven months in barrel before bottling in December, 2010.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Reflecting the low yields and concentrated character of the vintage, our 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir displays a darker, more saturated color and richer, deeper flavors than past vintages. The nose is redolent of fresh dark plum, black cherry and black raspberry fruit, with enticing sandalwood, rose petal and tea-leaf spice scents adding complexity. Smooth, round and full-bodied on the palate, with rich, layered, dark cherry and ripe berry flavors, the wine picks up an intriguing rose hips tea spice tone on the long finish, where its supple, seamlessly integrated tannins and bright acidity provide excellent structure and length. Delicious now, the deep, rich fruit and fine composition of this lovely Pinot Noir ensure it will age well for another 3-5 years.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_pn_roast_duck_w_grappa_raisins

Vineyards

Our Carneros Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from several outstanding vineyards in the northern portion of the famed Carneros District in southern Napa Valley. The loam and hillside alluvial soils of these cool-climate sites yield small crops of Pinot Noir fruit with highly concentrated flavors. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay ensure a long growing season and bright grape acidity, which results in rich, beautifully balanced wines.

Vintage

In spring, 2008, Napa Valley experienced its worst spring frosts in 35 years, sharply reducing yields for Pinot Noir and many other varieties. The ensuing growing season was characterized by below-normal temperatures, although warmer weather arrived in July and August and, coupled with the season’s light crop, perfect levels of ripening were achieved. Late-summer daytime temperatures in the mid-80s, tempered by the Carneros region’s persistent morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes, ensured excellent flavor development in our Pinot Noir grapes, which were harvested at full maturity between August 29th and September 9th.

Winemaking

To protect our vineyard workers from summer’s heat, we harvest our Pinot Noir grapes at night, which also safeguards the variety’s ethereal aromas and silky, complex fruit flavors. After cold-soaking the fruit for 2-3 days to maximize color extraction, we ferment most of the juice – using special Burgundian yeast strains – in small, open-top tanks with daily punchdowns of the cap to fully extract color, flavor and tannin. In 2008, we fermented 14% of the fruit, including whole berries, in open-top barrels, which intensified color and flavor, fostered supple tannins and enhanced complexity. Once fermentation completed, the wines continued macerating on their skins for several weeks to fully extract color and flavor. They were then transferred to medium-plus-toast Burgundian barrels, 40% new, where they aged eight months prior to blending. The blended wine aged another seven months in barrel before bottling in December, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2006 Carneros Pinot Noir displays all the charms that make Pinot Noir lovers swoon. The nose boasts beautifully fresh aromas of bright black cherry and raspberry fruit, with lovely lavender, black tea, brown spice and toffee scents adding complexity. The silky, medium-bodied palate offers pure, beautifully structured wild cherry, red-berry and Asian spice flavors, while the wine’s lengthy finish, full of rich fruit, ripe tannins and subtle oak tones, persists for minutes. A wonderful example of fine Carneros Pinot Noir, this pretty, yet substantial, wine drinks beautifully now, but will develop additional complexity with 3-5 years additional aging.

Delicious with seared tuna or swordfish, pork or lighter red meats.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_pn_spice_crusted_tuna

Vineyards

Our Carneros Pinot Noir is crafted from several superb, small-berried clones of the variety grown in outstanding vineyards in the famed Carneros District, which lies at the southern tip of Napa Valley close by San Pablo Bay. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from the bay ensure a long growing season and the slow, even ripening of our Carneros grapes, which in 2006 were harvested between September 7th and 24th.

Vintage

The long, cool, 2006 growing season began with a wet winter, which delayed bud break and led to late flowering of the vines. Good weather arrived in June, only to be followed by a heat wave in July that caused minor sunburning of some varieties, but no damage to our Carneros grapes. Cooler weather returned in August and continued throughout the harvest season, resulting in a long grape ripening period that fostered mature Pinot Noir flavors balanced by bright acidity.

Winemaking

To make world-class Pinot Noir, we handle the fruit as gently as possible, ferment the juice at moderate temperatures, and intervene minimally during barrel aging. In 2006, we cold-soaked our Carneros fruit for 72 hours prior to fermentation to extract maximum color from the skins. We then inoculated the must with several cultured yeast strains to foster a slow, active fermentation that would accentuate the Pinot Noir grape’s fruitiness. In traditional Burgundian fashion, we fermented the various lots in small, open-top tanks, gently punching down the cap to thoroughly macerate the juice and skins. After fermentation completed, the wines continued macerating on the skins for several weeks to further extract color and flavor. They were then transferred to French oak barrels, 42% new, where they aged for several months before blending in December, 2006. The wine aged an additional year in barrel before bottling in December, 2007.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Carneros Pinot Noir is due for release in 2014.

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our Carneros Pinot Noir blends grapes from several outstanding vineyards in the northern portion of the famed Carneros District in southern Napa Valley. The loam and hillside alluvial soils of these cool-climate sites yield small crops of Pinot Noir fruit with highly concentrated flavors. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay ensure a long growing season and vibrant grape acidity, resulting in rich, beautifully balanced Pinot Noirs.

Winemaking

Night harvesting our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes ensures we fully capture the variety’s fresh acidity, ethereal aromas and silky flavors.

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2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Rubaiyat

North Coast

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 North Coast Rubáiyat boasts delightfully fragrant black cherry, blueberry and dark plum aromas, with rich supporting scents of chocolate and toasted oak. On the medium-bodied palate, the wine delivers impressively concentrated black cherry, blackberry, plum, and spiced mocha flavors framed by fine tannins and a long, savory finish mingling earthy blackberry, mocha and toasty oak tones.

Rubáiyat’s lavish fruit and soft tannins make it a wonderful companion to a broad spectrum of hearty foods, from grilled burgers, steaks and spicy sausages to barbecued ribs and chicken, and rich, tomato-based pastas.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Rubaiyat with Mexican Vegetable Stew

Vineyards

Our 2011 North Coast Rubáiyat blends 50% Napa Valley Syrah, 38% Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir, 8% Napa Valley Petit Verdot, 3% Lake County Petite Sirah and 1% Napa Valley Grenache. The fruit was 100% hand-harvested at night between October 8th and 17th.

Vintage

2011 was among California’s coldest, wettest and most elongated vintages. Wet winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying and disrupting budbreak, bloom and fruit set and setting the stage for an unusually cool summer growing season that culminated in a prolonged harvest beset by autumn rains. Experienced grape growers compensated for these challenging conditions by removing leaves from the vines to admit more sunlight and thinning bunches to ensure the remaining grape clusters ripened fully. These practices enabled us to produce many fine, elegant, full-flavored wines in 2011, including this delicious Rubáiyat.

Winemaking

Rubáiyat is a stellar example of expert blending. Each year, our winemaker, Julianne Laks, blends multiple small lots of separately harvested, fermented and aged red varietals to create a smooth, medium-bodied, fruit-forward red wine that beautifully accompanies a wide range of casual meals. In 2011, Julianne and her crew fermented six different lots of fruit – each one hand-harvested at night to preserve freshness and fruit purity – in small, open-top, stainless steel tanks, using manual punchdowns to gently macerate the juice and skins and extract optimal color and flavor. The wines aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 28% new, and were blended just before bottling to accentuate North Coast Rubáiyat’s characteristically ripe, fruit-forward aromas, rich, juicy flavors and smooth, supple tannins.

PRICE $33.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Rubáiyat perfectly reflects its constituent parts, with pinot noir dominating the nose, syrah on display in the mid-palate, and the spiciness of zinfandel enlivening the finish. The wine boasts wonderfully fresh and fragrant ripe cherry, dark plum, and blackberry aromas accompanied by scents of lavender and dark chocolate. On the full-bodied palate, rich and juicy dark cherry, plum, elderberry and blackberry flavors segue into a long, savory finish showcasing briary spice tones. Rubáiyat’s lavish fruit and supple tannins make it a wonderful accompaniment to a broad spectrum of hearty foods, from grilled burgers, steaks and spicy sausages to barbecued ribs and chicken, and rich, tomato-based pastas.

View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Rubaiyat with Mexican Vegetable Stew

Vineyards

Our 2012 Rubáiyat is a blend of 47% Anderson Valley pinot noir, 28% Carneros Napa Valley pinot noir, 17% Napa Valley syrah, 7% Lake County zinfandel and 1% Napa Valley grenache. The fruit was 100% hand-harvested at night between September 7th and October 1st.

Vintage

The 2012 vintage was one of California’s finest in recent memory. Consistently mild summer weather free of rain and significant heat spikes allowed for even, uninterrupted ripening and the opportunity to harvest our Rubáiyat grapes with an ideal balance of sugars and acidity.

Winemaking

Rubáiyat is a stellar example of expert blending. Each year, our winemaker, Julianne Laks, blends multiple small lots of separately harvested, fermented and aged red varietals to create a smooth, rich, fruit-forward red wine that beautifully accompanies a wide range of casual meals. Each lot is hand-harvested at night to preserve freshness and fruit purity and fermented in small, open-top, stainless steel tanks, using manual punchdowns to gently macerate the juice and skins and extract optimal color and flavor. The 2012 Rubáiyat aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 35% new, with the component wines blended shortly before bottling to capture the wine’s ripe, fruit-forward aromas, rich, juicy flavors and smooth tannins.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2010 vintage of North Coast Rubáiyat is a classic, boasting lush black cherry and plum fruit aromas with complex supporting scents of roasted earth, leather, licorice spice and mineral. In the mouth, the wine is round, smooth and fruitful, with mouthfilling cherry, plum and mocha flavors that extend into a long, savory, black-cherry-and-spice finish. Rubáiyat’s luscious fruit, bright acidity and soft tannins fruit make it a delicious companion to a wide range of hearty foods, including grilled burgers and steaks, barbecued ribs and chicken, spicy sausages and rich, tomato-based pastas.

Rubáiyat’s luscious fruit, bright acidity and soft tannins fruit make it a delicious companion to a wide range of hearty foods, including grilled burgers and steaks, barbecued ribs and chicken, spicy sausages and rich, tomato-based pastas.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Rubaiyat with Lamb Burgers with Gorgonzola and Arugula

Vineyards

Our 2010 North Coast Rubáiyat is a blend of 43% Carneros Napa Valley Syrah, 32% Lake County Zinfandel, 16% Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir, 6% Lake County Petite Sirah and 3% Napa Valley Grenache. The fruit was 100% hand-harvested at night between September 24th and October 16th.

Vintage

2010 was the latest in a string of cool growing seasons in California’s North Coast. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, but classic Indian summer weather yielded grapes with mature, concentrated flavors. The result was a bevy of rich, elegant, beautifully balanced red wines, of which Rubáiyat is a prime example.

Winemaking

Each year, our winemaker, Julianne Laks, expertly blends multiple small lots of separately harvested, fermented and aged red varietals to create Rubáiyat, a smooth, fruitful red that beautifully accompanies a broad range of casual meals. Julianne and her team ferment the components of North Coast Rubáiyat in small, open-top, stainless steel tanks, using manual punchdowns to gently macerate the juice and skins and extract optimal color and flavor. The goal is to craft a medium-bodied, juicy red wine with vibrant acidity and supple tannins that’s delicious to drink on release. In 2010, the individual lots comprising Rubáiyat aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 20% new, and then were blended just before bottling to preserve the wine’s wonderfully fruit-forward aromas and flavors.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2009 North Coast Rubáiyat is a bit bigger and richer than previous vintages. In the nose, it offers plentiful black cherry and dark fruit aromas with earthy spice box and chocolate tones. The palate is full and weighty with concentrated dark cherry, ripe berry and blackcurrant flavors, firm, but supple tannins and a long, zesty finish. Rubáiyat’s abundant fruit makes it the perfect companion to hearty foods. Enjoy this summer with barbecued ribs and chicken, grilled burgers and steaks, and spicy sausages.

Enjoy this summer with barbecued ribs and chicken, grilled burgers and steaks, and spicy sausages.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Rubaiyat with Thai Pork Salad in Lettuce Cups

Vineyards

The 2009 vintage of North Coast Rubáiyat is a blend of 82% Pinot Noir and 18% Syrah. The Pinot Noir came from our Anderson Valley (Mendocino) estate and vineyards in the Carneros region of Napa Valley, while the Syrah came entirely from Carneros. The fruit was 100% hand-harvested at night between September 9th and October 10th.

Vintage

The 2009 growing season was “cool” in all respects. Spring rains replenished the water table, deferring the need for irrigation, which kept berry sizes small. Summer saw consistently below-average temperatures, resulting in the slow, parallel development of grape sugars and flavors. This allowed the fruit to reach peak maturity at lower sugar levels, fostering rich, balanced wines.

Winemaking

Our goal with Rubáiyat is to produce a lighter-style red wine with moderate body and fresh, ripe fruit flavors. By separately harvesting, fermenting and aging multiple small lots of wine, winemaker Julianne Laks creates a blend showcasing delicate aromas, fruit-rich flavors, soft tannins and a supple texture. We ferment each component of North Coast Rubáiyat in small, open-top tanks with manual punchdowns of the cap to gently macerate the juice and skins and extract optimal color and flavor. In 2009, the North Coast Rubáiyat lots aged seven months in French oak barrels, 36% new, before blending. The finished wine spent another seven months in barrel prior to bottling.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

With Pinot Noir comprising three-quarters of the blend, our 2008 Rubáiyat displays distinctive Pinot Noir aromas of fresh cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit coupled with scents of rose hips tea, menthol and leather. Soft, supple and juicy on the palate, its fleshy black cherry and strawberry flavors are accented by zesty tea-leaf spice tones in the wine’s long, smooth and flavorful finish. Made to be savored in its youth, this poetic red is a delicious accompaniment to juicy burgers, barbecued chicken, grilled lamb and other Mediterranean-style dishes. We recommend drinking while young and serving it slightly chilled, especially on warm summer days.

Made to be savored in its youth, this poetic red is a delicious accompaniment to juicy burgers, barbecued chicken, grilled lamb and other Mediterranean-style dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

This vintage of Rubáiyat is a blend of 76% Pinot Noir, 16% Syrah, 7% Zinfandel and 1% Petite Sirah. The Pinot Noir came from our Carneros Napa Valley vineyards and our Anderson Valley vineyard in Mendocino County, while the Sirah is also from Carneros and the Zinfandel from the Red Hills appellation of Lake County. The fruit was 100% hand-harvested at night between August 29th and October 10th, 2008.

Vintage

The 2008 growing season began with torrential January rains, segued into drought conditions in early spring which then erupted into the worst frost season in over 35 years in late March and throughout April. Combined with disadvantageous weather during bloom in May, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the crop throughout California’s North Coast. Fortunately, June ushered in an extended period of clear, mild summer weather, which enabled us to harvest our Rubàiyat grapes at full maturity. Despite the season’s tribulations, 2008 yielded a trove of vibrant wines boasting concentrated fruit flavors balanced by crisp acidity.

Winemaking

Rubáiyat is a blend of numerous small lots of grapes harvested at different times from multiple vineyard sites. The blend changes each year, providing winemaker Julianne Laks with the flexibility to be creative. In general, Julianne selects lighter-bodied, fruitier lots of wine for Rubáiyat. These are kept separate and fermented primarily in small, open-top tanks with manual punchdowns of the cap, a method that gently macerates the juice and skins to extract optimal color and flavor. The lots for our 2008 Rubáiyat aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 38% new, prior to blending.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Rubáiyat leaps from the glass with fresh blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, ripe plum and framboise aromas, with light pepper, sage and briar scents adding complexity. On the supple palate, the wine is a mouthful of juicy, grapey, blackberry, plum skin and dark cherry flavors with briary spice notes adding zest to the lengthy, fruitful finish. This unique, fruit-forward red is meant to be savored in its youth. Enjoy it slightly chilled on a warm afternoon or evening with good picnic or barbecue fare (burgers, barbecued chicken, grilled lamb and other Mediterranean-style dishes) and you may find yourself reciting extravagant poetry to friends and strangers alike.

Enjoy it slightly chilled on a warm afternoon or evening with good picnic or barbecue fare (burgers, barbecued chicken, grilled lamb and other Mediterranean-style dishes).
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_rd_grilled_venison_sausage

Vineyards

Our 2007 Rubáiyat is a blend of 33% Merlot, 31% Syrah, 22% Pinot Noir and 14% Zinfandel. The Merlot and Pinot Noir came from vineyards in the Carneros region of Napa Valley and Mendocino’s Anderson Valley; the Zinfandel from the Red Hills District of Lake County; and the Syrah from Carneros (thus the North Coast appellation). The fruit was 100% hand-harvested at night between August 22nd and October 6th, 2007.

Vintage

After the long, cool growing seasons of 2005 and 2006, 2007 brought a change of pace. Winter and spring were unusually dry with above-average temperatures, which accelerated budbreak and bloom. Summer was mild, with few heat spikes, which led to an early, fast-paced harvest of fruit with perfectly ripened flavors balanced by supple tannins and vibrant acidity.

Winemaking

Rubáiyat is a blend of numerous small lots of grapes harvested at different times from multiple vineyard sites. The blend changes every year, providing winemaker Julianne Laks with the opportunity to be creative. In general, Julianne selects lighter-bodied, fruitier lots for Rubáiyat. These are kept separate and fermented primarily in small, open-top tanks with manual punchdowns of the cap, a method that gently macerates the juice and skins to extract optimal color and flavor. The lots for our 2007 Rubáiyat aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 38% new, before blending.

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2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
Merlot

Napa Valley

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005

PRICE $54.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The ripe, earthy, black cherry, dark plum and blackcurrant aromas of our 2010 Napa Valley Merlot introduce a palate full of rich plum, pomegranate and dark cherry flavors that take on a spicy tone in the wine’s long, fruitful finish. Boasting vibrant, concentrated flavors, fine tannins and good balancing acidity, this beautifully structured wine is alluring now, but will develop even greater richness and complexity with another 2-3 years of bottle age.

An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.
View recipes that complement this wine

Merlot_video_thumb Cakebread Cellars Merlot with Pork Estofado with Plantains and Pearl Onions Me-_2010_-gnocchibeefoxtails_ps-jan-14_video-jan-14_-photo12_341_x_192 Cakebread Cellars Merlot with Gnocchi and Wine Braised Oxtails

Vineyards

Our 2010 Napa Valley Merlot is a blend of fruit from top vineyards throughout the valley. Blending fruit from different microclimates and soil types allows us to craft a rich, ripe Merlot with bright, vibrant flavors, well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity.

Vintage

2010 was a notably cool growing season in California. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, allowing us to harvest our Merlot grapes over an extended period as the fruit from each vineyard source attained full ripeness.

Winemaking

We harvest, de-stem and crush each lot of our Napa Valley Merlot grapes separately, cold-soaking the must for 48 hours to extract maximum color and supple tannins from the skins. The various lots are fermented in a mix of small closed and open-top stainless steel tanks, and fermentation temperatures are adjusted – based on daily tasting – to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin. We pay special attention to selecting just the right barrels in which to age each lot of our Merlot. The components of our 2010 Merlot spent six months aging in 35% new French Bordeaux barrels prior to blending. The blended wine then spent an additional 12 months in barrel prior to bottling, adding another layer of complexity to its rich, ripe flavors.

PRICE $54.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Merlot displays expressive aromas of black cherry, red plum and pomegranate with a hint of toasty oak. Rich and juicy on the palate, the wine’s concentrated dark cherry, plum and blackcurrant flavors are supported by fine tannins and balanced acidity, leading to a long, fruitful finish showcasing pleasing cassis and toasty oak tones. Red wines from cool years tend to develop slowly, so while our 2011 Merlot is tasty now, it will reveal the full scope of its charms as it ages.

View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

Ninety percent of the grapes for our 2011 Napa Valley Merlot came from our estate vineyards, including the cool, hilly Suscol Springs Vineyard east of the town of Napa and our high-elevation Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in northern Napa Valley. Controlling our fruit sources ensures we can consistently produce quintessential Napa Valley merlots boasting rich, vibrant varietal flavors, smooth, supple tannins and fresh acidity.

Vintage

2011 was a challenging vintage. The year began with a wet winter and spring, followed by atypically cool summer weather and several October rainstorms. As a result, the grapes ripened very slowly, resulting in a prolonged harvest. At Cakebread Cellars, we took an aggressive approach to the situation, extensively thinning our merlot vines to ensure the remaining fruit reached full maturity and sorting meticulously through the grapes at the winery to guarantee only the best berries reached the crusher. This reduced our production, but achieved our goal of making a rich, concentrated merlot with ripe, rich aromas and flavors.

Winemaking

We harvest, de-stem and crush each lot of our Napa Valley Merlot grapes separately, cold-soaking the must for 48 hours to extract maximum color and supple tannins from the skins. The various lots are fermented in a mix of small closed and open-top stainless steel tanks, and fermentation temperatures are adjusted – based on daily tasting – to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin. We pay special attention to selecting just the right barrels in which to age each lot of our Merlot.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Napa Valley Merlot boasts richly fruity aromas of ripe black plum and cherry fruit, complemented by savory roasted herb and toasted oak scents. Soft and open on the palate, with a round, luxurious texture and supple, seamless tannins, the wine’s lush black cherry and plum flavors culminate in a long, delectable finish brightened by a youthfully flinty, mineral-y tone. Sumptuous, elegant and beautifully balanced, this classic Napa Valley Merlot makes delicious drinking now, but will profit from another 2-3 years of bottle age.

November 10, 2010

91 points

Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine

"Cakebread's latest is a well-made Merlot that exhibits the suppleness and rich, black-cherry fruit that marks the grape at its polished best. Its nicely measured complement of sweet oak and its subtle accents of spice lend it a real sense of sophistication, and, if admittedly still a bit bound up by grippy tannins at the end, there is simply no question that great things lie ahead for those willing to wait for another few years."

An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_me_bruschetta__w_figs___gorg

Vineyards

In 2007, 90% of the grapes for our Napa Valley Merlot came from vineyards in the Oakville, Rutherford and Calistoga districts of upper Napa Valley, with 10% from the cooler Carneros district in the southern end of the valley. As a result, our 2007 Merlot is especially ripe and mouth-filling, dominated by the ripe dark plum and berry flavors characteristic of northern Napa Valley Merlot, with a touch of the bright cherry and spice notes typical of Carneros Merlot fruit.

Vintage

The exemplary 2007 growing season commenced with a dry, mild winter and unusually warm spring, which prompted early budbreak and bloom. The summer was consistently mild, which enabled our modest crop of small-clustered Napa Valley Merlot grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, developing rich, distinctive varietal flavors. Warm temperatures in early September, followed by classic California Indian Summer weather, allowed us to harvest our Merlot fruit at perfect maturity between August 28th and October 10th.

Winemaking

Our winemaking protocol with Merlot is to de-stem and crush the grapes – segregated by vineyard lot – into stainless steel tanks ranging in size from 10 to 15 tons. We cold-soak the must (unfermented juice and skins) for between 24 and 72 hours to extract color and flavor prior to fermentation. Early during the fermentation, we employ a Bordeaux technique called rack-and-return: fermenting juice from one tank is drained and transferred to another, leaving the ‘cap’ of grape skins in the first tank to fall to the bottom. The fermenting wine is then returned to the original tank, re-macerating the skins and maximizing color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. Once fermentation completes, we transfer the various lots to carefully selected French Bordeaux barrels (up to 50% new), where they age 6-8 months prior to blending. The blended wine then ages another 12 -14 months in barrel prior to bottling. This extended barrel time adds elegance and complexity to our Napa Valley Merlot’s rich, ripe fruit.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Bright, sweet black cherry and plum compote aromas, complemented by tea-leaf spice and oak vanillin scents, introduce our lovely 2008 Napa Valley Merlot, which follows through on the smooth, round palate with succulent, mouthfilling, ripe cherry and plum flavors. Displaying a deep, expansive mid-palate, fine underlying structure and a lingering, zesty finish enlivened by black tea spice tones, this mellifluous Merlot is delicious for current drinking, but will develop further complexity with another 2-3 years of bottle age.

An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

In 2008, 85% of the grapes for our Napa Valley Merlot came from the warmer northern precincts of the valley, while 15% came from the cooler Carneros district at the southern tip of the valley. This blend enabled us to create a rich, ripe Merlot balanced by the crisp acidity and bright fruit tones typical of Carneros region Merlot.

Vintage

The 2008 growing season featured heavy winter rains, drought conditions in early spring and severe frosts in March and April. Coupled with disadvantageous weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the crop throughout Napa Valley, greatly concentrating flavors. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, fully matured our Merlot grapes, which were harvested between August 22nd and September 3rd.

Winemaking

After the grapes were harvested and delivered to the winery, each vineyard lot was de-stemmed, crushed and cold-soaked for 3-4 days to extract maximum color and supple tannins from the skins. The must fermented in closed-top stainless steel tanks, the size of which was tailored to the attributes of each lot, with daily pumpovers to achieve optimal color, flavor and tannin extraction. Particular attention to the selection of barrels with moderate oak toast levels respects the elegance and delicate fruit structure of Merlot, adding a subtle spice and perfume. This vintage’s grapes spent 6 to 8 months aging in 43% new French Bordeaux barrels prior to blending. The blended wine then spent an additional 12-14 months in barrel prior to bottling, which added another layer of elegance and complexity to its lush, mouthfilling fruit flavors.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2009 Napa Valley Merlot displays ripe black cherry and plum compote aromas complemented by enticing tea-leaf, toasted vanilla and woodsy scents. Plush, rich and juicy on the palate, its densely concentrated black cherry, dark plum and pomegranate flavors are supported by fine-grained tannins and a long, sumptuous finish graced by savory spice and mocha tones. An irresistibly lush Merlot of great depth, length and suppleness, it drinks deliciously now, yet will develop further complexity with another 2-3 years of bottle age.

June 03, 2013

90 points

Wine & Spirits Magazine

Purple-black fruit flavors center this merlot, while scents of coffee and tar build off the tannins at the edges. The structure, still youthfully tart, could use a year or two in bottle to mellow. Or decant tit to serve with grilled sirloin.

An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Merlot with Pork Stew with Carrots and Green Peppercorns

Vineyards

In 2009, 93% of the grapes for our Napa Valley Merlot came from the northern precincts of the valley, while 7% issued from the cooler Carneros district at its southern tip. Blending fruit from these disparate microclimates allows us to create a rich, ripe Merlot balanced by crisp acidity and bright fruit tones.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Northern California deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in small berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, fostering maturity at moderate sugar levels and resulting in superbly balanced wines. We harvested the grapes for our 2009 Merlot between August 31th and October 12th with an ideal balance of ripe fruit flavors and crisp balancing acidity.

Winemaking

To craft our Napa Valley Merlot, we separately harvest, de-stem and crush each lot of grapes, cold-soaking the must for 3-4 days to extract maximum color and supple tannins from the skins. We ferment the various lots in a mix of small closed and open-top stainless steel tanks, tasting the fermenting wines daily and adjusting fermentation temperatures to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin. As with all our red wines, we pay particular attention to selecting the perfect barrels in which to age each lot of wine, fine-tuning the selection based on frequent tasting. The 2009 vintage spent six months aging in 38% new French Bordeaux barrels prior to blending. The blended wine then spent an additional 12 months in barrel before bottling, adding another layer of elegance and complexity to its rich, intense flavors.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2006 Merlot impresses right off the bat with pretty black cherry and dark plum aromas that gain complexity from subtle earth, hazelnut, black tea, cocoa and toasty oak tones. On the beautifully structured palate, the wine offers pure, concentrated, black cherry and plum flavors balanced by bright acidity and round, supple tannins, concluding in a long, elegant finish that showcases a refreshing minerality and savory black-tea spice tone. Delicious now, this cool-vintage Merlot will blossom further with another 2-3 years of bottle age.

An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_me_grilled_filet_mignon

Vineyards

Sixty-four percent of the grapes for our 2006 Napa Valley Merlot came from select vineyards in the Oakville, Rutherford and Calistoga districts of upper Napa Valley, while 36% came from the cooler Carneros district at the southern end of the valley. Our up-valley fruit contributed ripe dark plum and berry flavors, while the Carneros fruit added bright black cherry and spicy black tea notes, with vibrant acidity and a vein of refreshing minerality.

Vintage

The long, cool, 2006 growing season imbued our Napa Valley Merlot grapes with concentrated, well-structured flavors balanced by bright acidity. The growing season began with a wet winter, which delayed bud break and led to a late flowering of the vines. Fine weather in June was followed by a heat wave in July, but cool weather returned in August and continued throughout the harvest season, resulting in a long grape ripening period that fostered deep fruit flavors in our Napa Valley reds. The grapes for our 2006 Merlot, which includes 9% Syrah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, were harvested between October 4th and October 26th.

Winemaking

After the grapes arrive at the winery, we de-stem and crush them, then cold-soak the must (unfermented juice and skins) for 24-36 hours to extract color and flavor prior to fermentation. Once fermentation commences, we used a Bordeaux technique called rack-and-return, in which fermenting juice is drained from one tank and transferred to another, leaving the ‘cap’ of grape skins in the first tank to fall to the bottom. We then return the fermenting wine to the original tank, re-macerating the skins and maximizing color and flavor extraction while softening tannins through controlled aeration. Once fermentation completes, we age the wine in French oak barrels – a total of 18 months in 2006 – which further softens this delicious, fruit-driven wine.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2005 Napa Valley Merlot offers a constellation of bright fruit aromas keyed on fresh black cherry, blueberry and plum, with fragrant scents of rose petal, tea-leaf, tobacco and cocoa adding interest and complexity. On the compact, supple palate, vibrant cherry, blackberry and cassis flavors are enlivened by a zesty black-tea spiciness that segues into a long, cocoa-tinged finish. Delicious now, this rich, firmly structured Merlot will soften and develop further nuance with 2-3 years’ additional bottle age.

An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

Three-quarters of the grapes for our 2005 Merlot came from vineyards in the Oakville, Rutherford and Calistoga districts of upper Napa Valley, with the balance from the cooler Carneros district in the southern tip of the valley. The up-valley fruit contributes ripe berry, plum and cocoa flavors, while the Carneros fruit adds a bright black cherry and tea-leaf character, with vibrant acidity.

Vintage

In 2005, a warm late winter spurred early bud break, but cool, wet, spring weather set back vine development. Atypically cool temperatures continued throughout the summer, which slowed ripening and prolonged the growing season. Fortunately, warm, sunny weather in September and October brought the harvest to fruition in fine fashion. Due to the early start to the season and its late conclusion, the grapes for our 2005 Merlot, which includes 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Syrah, enjoyed a long hang time on the vines, developing concentrated flavors at moderate sugar levels. The fruit was harvested between October 4th and October 31st.

Winemaking

After de-stemming and crushing the grapes, we cold-soaked the must (unfermented juice and skins) to enhance color and flavor extraction. Once fermentation began, we used a technique called rack-and-return, in which fermenting juice from one tank is drained and transferred to a second tank, leaving the ‘cap’ of skins in the first tank to fall to the bottom. The juice is then returned to the original tank, re-macerating the skins and maximizing color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. Once fermentation completed, the free run wine was drained off the skins and transferred to French oak barrels, 45% new, where they aged five months before blending. The wine then aged 13 more months in barrel before bottling in April, 2007.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Near ideal growing conditions in 2012 was the result of perfect weather during bud break followed by a steady, uninterrupted flowering and even fruit set. The warm summer days and cool nights matured our grapes slowly, ensuring optimum balance of sugars and acidity at the time of harvest. Aged in 40% new French oak for a total of 18 months, this sumptuous Merlot is as wonderful in its youth as it will be after resting in your cellar for several years. -from back label

Winemaking

We harvest, de-stem and crush each lot of our Napa Valley Merlot grapes separately, cold-soaking the must for 48 hours to extract maximum color and supple tannins from the skins. The various lots are fermented in a mix of small closed and open-top stainless steel tanks, and fermentation temperatures are adjusted – based on daily tasting – to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin. We pay special attention to selecting just the right barrels in which to age each lot of our Merlot.

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2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Syrah

Napa Valley

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Napa Valley Syrah displays a saturated dark ruby/purple color and wonderfully complex aromas of roasted earth, toasted black fruits, caramel and licorice. Lush and mouthfilling with beautifully integrated tannins, its concentrated black cherry, cassis, blackberry, black licorice and pepper spice flavors culminate in a long, juicy, mineral-y finish. While this sumptuous Syrah is delicious to drink now, it will age beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

Pairs well with a broad spectrum of hearty foods, especially steaks and other red meats
View recipes that complement this wine

Syrahvideothumb Cakebread Cellars Syrah with Cassoulet

Vineyards

Sixty-two percent of the grapes for our 2010 Syrah came from our Suscol Springs estate vineyard in southern Napa Valley, with the balance from two other cool-climate Napa Valley vineyards. At Suscol Springs, we have six high-quality clones of Syrah, most originating in France’s northern Rhône Valley. Like the northern Rhône, our southern Napa vineyards feature a cool, windy climate that fosters the rich, earthy, spicy flavors for which Syrah is renowned. In 2010, we included 3% Grenache – from two outstanding French clones grown at Suscol Springs – in the blend to magnify the wine’s lush fruit character.

Vintage

2010 was the latest in a string of cool growing seasons in Napa Valley. The year began with plentiful rainfall, which delayed bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler weather returned in early September, allowing us to harvest our Syrah grapes between September 24th and October 7th with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

We harvest each of our Napa Valley Syrah clones separately and ferment them in small open-top fermenters. Prior to fermentation, we cold soak the must for four to six days to maximize color extraction and soften tannins. During fermentation, we daily punch down the cap of skins at the top of the fermenting tanks to thoroughly macerate the skins and juice for optimal color and flavor, while closely monitoring tannin levels. Once fermentation completes, we drain the free-run juice by gravity and transfer the wines to French oak barrels (34% new in 2010), where they age for eight months before blending. The 2010 Syrah spent an additional six months aging in barrel prior to bottling in February, 2012. (In 2010, we used a high percentage of barrels formed from water-bent, rather than fired, staves, which helped emphasize our Syrah’s rich fruit while softening tannins and ensuring a discreet oak character.)

PRICE $57.00

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our dark ruby, nearly opaque 2011 Napa Valley Syrah offers fascinatingly complex aromas of roasted earth and toasted blackberry, dark plum and cassis aromas, complemented by fragrant notes of violets, sage, white pepper and milk chocolate. Rich and dense on the palate with round, supple tannins, its concentrated black cherry, wild berry, plum, blackcurrant and baking spice flavors culminate in a long, savory finish with rich boysenberry and plum tones. Although this sumptuous Syrah is delicious now with hearty meals, it will develop beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

Pairs with hearty meals, such as red meats and barbeque.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Syrah with Moussaka

Vineyards

Seventy percent of the grapes for our 2011 Syrah came from our Suscol Springs estate vineyard in southern Napa Valley, with the balance from two other cool-climate Napa Valley vineyards. Collectively, these sites are planted to six high-quality clones of Syrah, several originating in France’s northern Rhône Valley. Like many northern Rhône vineyards, Suscol Springs is a hilly, rocky, well-drained site with a cool, windy climate, conditions fostering the rich, earthy, spicy flavors for which Syrah is renowned. In 2011, we included small amounts of Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and Grenache in the blend to optimize our Syrah’s lush fruit character.

Vintage

In 2011, ample winter and spring rainfall extending into mid-June delayed vine development by several weeks, setting the stage for a prolonged grape harvest. Cool summer weather fostered slow, even ripening of our southern Napa Valley Syrah grapes, which achieved optimal flavor concentration at lower-than-normal sugar levels. The fruit was harvested between October 10th and October 21st with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

We harvest each of our Napa Valley Syrah clones separately and ferment them in small open-top fermenters. Prior to fermentation, we cold soak the must for four to six days to maximize color extraction and soften tannins. During fermentation, we daily punch down the cap of skins at the top of the fermenting tanks to thoroughly macerate the skins and juice for optimal color and flavor, while closely monitoring tannin levels. Once fermentation completes, we drain the free-run juice by gravity and transfer the wines to French oak barrels (47% new in 2011). Our 2011 Syrah spent a total of 14 months aging in barrel prior to bottling in December, 2012.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Napa Valley Syrah boasts a deep, saturated color and classic, cool-toned varietal aromas of ripe dark fruits (cassis, blackberry and boysenberry) augmented by scents of roasted earth, mocha, violets, black licorice and chaparral. On the full-bodied palate, the wine is awash in deep, mouthfilling, cassis and blackberry compote flavors, which glide into a long, rich finish dominated by dark roasted coffee, briary spice and toasty oak tones. While this sumptuous Syrah is delicious now with robust fare, its depth of fruit and firm, supple tannins suggest it will age beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

August 05, 0009

91 points

Robert Parker Online

A superb Syrah from this well-known Napa Cabernet Sauvignon producer, Cakebread Cellars’ 2007 Syrah offers abundant aromas of blackberries, pepper, and meat, full-bodied flavors, a subtle hint of smoke, and plenty of concentration as well as purity. With everything in balance, this big wine should drink well for 7-8 years.

November 10, 2009

91 points

Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine

"Now we must admit that Napa's cool Carneros district is not the first place that pops into mind when thinking about fine Syrah, but this very deep, fully ripened, long-on-character offering is a solid success on every count. Its mix of sweet berries, spice and rich oak leaves room for an intriguing touch of minerals to peek through, and, in spite of its high ripeness, it shows more sinew and structure than fat. It wants a few years before drinking with the likes of savory braised lamb, but it should continue to grow for a decade."

Pairs well with a broad spectrum of hearty foods, especially steaks and other red meats
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_sy_braised_beef_shanks

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Syrah come from vineyards in the cool-climate Carneros District at the southern tip of Napa Valley, including a significant portion from our own Milton Road Vineyard. Milton Road contains five different clones of Syrah, including three originating in France’s northern Rhône Valley. Like the northern Rhône, Carneros features a cool, windy climate that promotes the intense, spicy aromas and flavors for which Syrah is universally celebrated.

Vintage

In 2007, a dry, mild winter and spring led to early budbreak and bloom. The summer months were temperate, with few heat spikes, which allowed our Carneros Syrah grapes to develop concentrated flavors while retaining bright acidity. Warm weather in early September accelerated ripening, which led to a fast-paced harvest of beautifully matured Syrah fruit between September 25th and October 6th.

Winemaking

We harvest each of our five Syrah clonal selections separately and ferment them in small open-top fermenters. In 2007, we retained 10% stems to foster more spice and tannin structure in the blend, a common practice in the Northern Rhône. During fermentation, we used daily manual punchdowns to thoroughly macerate the cap of skins and extract maximum color and flavor from the juice. Once fermentation completed, the wines were transferred to French oak barrels, 48% new, where they aged for eight months before being blended in May, 2008. The finished wine spent an additional seven months in barrel prior to bottling in December, 2008.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2008 Napa Valley Syrah displays a dark, nearly opaque color and wonderfully expressive varietal aromas of ripe blackberry, olallieberry and sweet black cherry fruit mingled with strong roasted coffee bean scents. On the dense, weighty palate, the wine’s immensely rich blackberry cobbler, cassis and licorice spice flavors offer tremendous length and intensity, bolstered by sturdy, supple tannins and savory toasted oak tones. While this remarkably lush, sumptuous Syrah is delicious now, especially with grilled and barbecued meats and hearty stews, its deep, concentrated fruit and fine underlying structure ensure it will age well for another 5-7 years.

December 06, 2010

91 points

Robert Parker Online

From the cool Carneros climate, the 2008 Syrah was aged 14 months in French oak barrels. Its dense ruby color is followed by notes of laurel, white pepper, cassis and tapenade. The wine has good acidity as well as a rich, full-bodied mouthfeel, and a personality reminiscent of a Rhone Valley Crozes-Hermitage from a top vintage. This medium to full-bodied, impressive effort should drink well for a decade or more.

Pairs with grilled and barbecued meats and hearty stews.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Syrah with Pomegranate Middle Eastern Spiced Pork Shoulder

Vineyards

The majority of the grapes for our 2008 Napa Valley Syrah come from our Milton Road estate, the southernmost vineyard in Napa’s cool-climate Carneros District, which borders San Pablo Bay and benefits from its marine influence. Milton Road is planted to five distinctive clones of Syrah, including three originating in France’s northern Rhône Valley. Like the northern Rhône, Carneros features a cool, windy climate that fosters the rich, earthy, spicy flavors for which Syrah is prized.

Vintage

The tumultuous 2008 growing season began with heavy winter rains, segued into drought conditions in early spring and erupted into the worst frost season in over 35 years in March and April. Coupled with disadvantageous weather during bloom in May and stress-inducing heat during grape set in June, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the crop throughout Napa Valley. Fortunately, clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, brought our Carneros Syrah grapes to full maturity between September 26th and October 10th.

Winemaking

We harvest each of our five Syrah clonal selections separately and ferment them in small open-top fermenters. Prior to fermentation, we cold-soak the must (unfermented juice and skins) for four to six days to maximize color extraction and soften tannins. After fermentation begins, we daily punch down the cap of skins at the top of the fermenting tank to thoroughly macerate the skins and juice and extract maximum color and flavor. Once the ideal level of extraction and tannin balance has been achieved, the free-run is drained from tank and transferred to French oak barrels, where the wines age eight months prior to blending. The 2008 Napa Valley Syrah spent an additional six months aging in barrel prior to bottling in December, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2009 Napa Valley Syrah boasts a terrific dark ruby/purple color and lovely, seductive aromas of violets, sweet black cherry and roasted earth. On the palate, concentrated blackberry, dark plum and currant flavors, with notes of sweet oak and pepper spice, are balanced by ripe, supple tannins, creating a round, luxurious mouthfeel. The wine culminates in an extremely long, savory finish featuring luscious black fruit, toasted oak and chocolate flavors that leave a deeply lasting impression. While this sumptuous Syrah provides delicious drinking now, its lavish fruit and fine structure ensure it will age beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

December 03, 2012

Sante Magazine

Rich and luscious, with floral and spicy aromas of violets, blackberry, and ripe plum over notes of licorice, leather, sandalwood, and sweet oak. Concentrated on the palate with intense black fruit, fig, tobacco, espresso, and spicy oak. Balanced and opulent. Braised short ribs. [can serve now, but will hold for some time]

Pairs with hearty meals, such as red meats and barbeque.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_sy_braised_brisket___rancho_gordo

Vineyards

Two-thirds of the grapes for our limited-production 2009 Napa Valley Syrah came from our Milton Road and Suscol Springs estate vineyards in southern Napa Valley, with the balance from two other fine, cool-climate Napa Valley vineyards. Collectively, these sites are planted to eight different, high-quality clones of Syrah, four of which originated in France’s northern Rhône Valley. Like the northern Rhône, our Southern Napa vineyards feature a cool, windy climate that fosters the rich, earthy, spicy flavors for which Syrah has long been acclaimed.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Northern California deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in small berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, fostering maturity at lower sugar levels and superbly balanced wines. We harvested our Syrah grapes late in the season on October 28th with a beautiful balance of rich, ripe fruit flavors and vibrant acidity.

Winemaking

We harvest each of our Syrah clonal selections separately and ferment them in small open-top fermenters. Prior to fermentation, we cold-soak the must (unfermented juice and skins) for four to six days to maximize color extraction and soften tannins. After fermentation begins, we daily punch down the cap of skins at the top of the fermenting tank to thoroughly macerate the skins and juice and extract maximum color and flavor, closely monitoring tannin extraction to ensure we drain the wine from tank at exactly the right moment for optimal fruit-tannin balance. The wines are then transferred to French oak barrels (40% new in 2009), where they age for eight months before blending. The 2009 Napa Valley Syrah spent an additional six months aging in barrel prior to bottling in February, 2011.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Napa Valley Syrah is due for release in 2014.

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Seventy percent of the grapes for our 2011 Syrah came from our Suscol Springs estate vineyard in southern Napa Valley, with the balance from two other cool-climate Napa Valley vineyards. Collectively, these sites are planted to six high-quality clones of Syrah, several originating in France’s northern Rhône Valley. Like many northern Rhône vineyards, Suscol Springs is a hilly, rocky, well-drained site with a cool, windy climate, conditions fostering the rich, earthy, spicy flavors for which Syrah is renowned.

Winemaking

We harvest each of our Napa Valley Syrah clones separately and ferment them in small open-top fermenters. Prior to fermentation, we cold soak the must for four to six days to maximize color extraction and soften tannins. During fermentation, we daily punch down the cap of skins at the top of the fermenting tanks to thoroughly macerate the skins and juice for optimal color and flavor, while closely monitoring tannin levels.

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2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Zinfandel

Red Hills Lake County

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Red Hills Lake County Zinfandel showcases bright raspberry, black cherry and dark plum aromas complemented by intriguing dusty earth, black pepper and milk chocolate scents. On the rich and lively palate, it delivers pure, deeply concentrated black raspberry, dark cherry and blackberry flavors streaked with mineral and briary spice tones. Beautifully structured with sturdy, but supple tannins, fresh acidity and a long, rich, chocolate-y finish, this mountain Zinfandel wine is delightful to drink now, but will surely repay another 3-5 years of cellaring.

October 06, 2012

94 points

QRW - The Wine Magazine

Coffee aroma. Soft, easy spice, smooth textured, rich, deep and elegant finish.

Excellent with roasts, barbecue or spicy foods.
View recipes that complement this wine

Zinvideothumb Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel with Chili Colorado

Vineyards

Our Lake County Zinfandel comes from a heavenly vineyard planted at a 2,100-foot-plus elevation in the acclaimed Red Hills appellation of Lake County. Located at the foot of Mt. Konocti, an ancient volcano, the site boasts a perfect southwestern exposure, excellent air circulation, and well-drained, mineral-rich, red volcanic soils. Its hot sunny days, windy afternoons and nights chilled by breezes from nearby Clear Lake ensure full and even ripening of our three distinguished clones of Zinfandel: Primitivo and heritage selections from Amador and Mendocino counties. In 2010, we included 6% Petite Sirah – from a block of the same vineyard – in the blend. Petite Sirah is often blended with Zinfandel, as it contributes deep color, excellent tannin structure and added complexity.

Vintage

2010 was the latest in a string of cool growing seasons in California’s North Coast. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, which enabled us to harvest our Lake County Zinfandel grapes at perfect ripeness between September 24th and October 7th.

Winemaking

We night-harvest our Lake County Zinfandel grapes to maximize their freshness, purity and flavor concentration, then ferment and age each of our three clonal selections separately to maximize their distinctive personalities and ensure an extra dimension of complexity in the wine. After warm fermentations in both small and large stainless steel tanks to fully extract color, flavor and tannins – with each fermentation tailored to the character of the individual lot – the wines remain on their skins for several more weeks to further enhance color and flavor while softening tannins. In 2010, after pressing the wines off the skins, we transferred them to tight-grained French and Hungarian oak barrels (the latter provide a warm spice tone), 40% new, where they aged for seven months before the final blend was assembled the following spring. The finished wine then aged another eight months in barrel before bottling in February, 2012.

Quantity is limited. Call the winery at (800) 588 - 0298

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Introducing itself with lavishly fragrant aromas of ripe black cherry, black raspberry, red plum, blackberry and dark chocolate, our 2012 Lake County Zinfandel is rich and concentrated on the palate with dense, juicy, blackberry, dark cherry and plum flavors. Its long, succulent finish intrigues with savory spice, mineral and chocolate tones, making this bold, yet sophisticated zinfandel a fine match for grilled beef, lamb and chicken, as well as pizza and red-sauce pastas. Nicely balanced by fresh acidity and fine-grained tannins, this delicious mountain-grown zinfandel is delightful now, but will repay another 3-5 years of cellaring.

View recipes that complement this wine

10_zn_eggplant_meatballs_220_x_x180_

Vineyards

Our zinfandel comes from a magnificent, high-elevation vineyard in the esteemed Red Hills appellation of Lake County, due north of Napa Valley. Located at the foot of Mt. Konocti, an ancient volcano, the vineyard tops 2,000 feet in elevation and boasts a perfect southwestern exposure, excellent air circulation, and well-drained, mineral-rich, red volcanic soils. Its warm, sunny days, windy afternoons, and nights chilled by breezes from nearby Clear Lake ensure full, even ripening of the three distinguished clones of zinfandel we harvest from the site: Primitivo, a Heritage selection from Amador County and a Mendocino Clone from the Lytton Springs vineyard .

Vintage

After several cool, rainy growing seasons, the 2012 vintage was near picture-perfect, with consistently mild summer weather free of rain or significant heat waves. While Lake County can be hot during the summer months, 2012 brought more moderate temperatures, low relative humidity and significant late afternoon and evening cooling, conditions ideal for producing grapes with an optimum balance of ripe, concentrated flavors and lively acidity.

Winemaking

We night-harvest our Lake County zinfandel grapes to preserve their freshness, fruit purity and varietal expressiveness, then ferment and age each of our three clonal selections separately to maximize their distinctive personalities and ensure an extra dimension of complexity. After warm fermentations in both small and large stainless steel tanks to fully extract color, flavor and tannins, the wines remain on their skins for several more weeks to further enhance color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. In 2012, we aged the component wines for seven months in French oak barrels, 41% new, prior to blending. The blended wine then aged another eight months in barrel prior to bottling in December, 2013.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Red Hills Lake County Zinfandel is perhaps a bit more open at this stage of its development than our three previous vintages. Its scented, almost floral nose of fresh strawberry, red cherry and blackberry fruit also boasts intriguing milk chocolate, wild herb and cracked pepper scents, creating a marvelously complex bouquet. On the full-bodied, smoothly textured palate, the wine’s mouthfilling cherry, raspberry and blackberry flavors mingle with pronounced briary spice, rich chocolate and toasty oak tones to create a delicious taste experience. While the forward fruit and supple tannins of this youthful Zinfandel make it delightful to drink now, especially with hearty, spicy fare, it will age well for another 3-5 years.

Excellent with roasts, barbecue or spicy foods.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_zn_venizin_chili

Vineyards

The Red Hills appellation of Lake County is prime Zinfandel country, and there’s no better site for it than Snow’s Lake Vineyard, whose 2,000-foot-plus elevation make it a unique growing site in Lake County. We have three distinctive clones of Zinfandel planted at Snow’s Lake, including heritage selections from Mendocino and Amador counties and a Primitivo clone. The vines are rooted in magnificent, red volcanic soils and enjoy a perfect southwestern exposure. Warm sunny days and nights cooled by breezes from nearby Clear Lake provide ideal conditions for California’s heritage grape variety.

Vintage

In 2007, a dry, mild winter and spring in Lake County led to early budbreak and bloom. The summer was largely temperate, but heat spikes in August accelerated ripening, leading to an early, fast-paced harvest of our Snow’s Lake Zinfandel grapes between August 22nd and 29th.

Winemaking

We harvested and fermented each of our three Zinfandel clones at Snow’s Lake separately. After a short, warm fermentation in stainless steel tanks to fully extract color, flavor and tannins, the wines remained on the skins for another two weeks to further enhance color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. After pressing the wines off the skins, we transferred the lots to French oak barrels, 42% new, where they aged before the final blend was assembled in May, 2008. The finished wine then aged another eight months in barrel before bottling in January, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2008 Red Hills Lake County Zinfandel offers a beguilingly fresh nose of ripe red and black fruits – cherry, wild raspberry and blackberry – supplemented by fragrant notes of mineral, mountain spice and vanilla. On the big-bodied, smoothly textured and beautifully balanced palate, juicy black cherry and wild berry flavors take center stage, with refreshing flint, mineral and dusty blackberry tones filling the long, complex finish. The wine’s supple, well-knit tannins and perfectly balanced acidity provide the structure for 3-5 years’ aging, while its wonderful mix of rich, forward fruit and Snow Lake’s distinctive terroir make it delicious for current drinking.

Excellent with roasts, barbecue or spicy foods.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_zn_shortribs_orange_star_anise

Vineyards

This is our 5th vintage of Zinfandel from Snow’s Lake Vineyard in the acclaimed Red Hills appellation of Lake County. Located at the foot of Mt. Konocti, an ancient volcano, this prime Zinfandel site boasts a 2,100-foot-plus elevation, a perfect southwestern exposure, and vines rooted in mineral-rich, red volcanic soils. Snow Lake’s hot sunny days, windy afternoons and nights chilled by breezes from nearby Clear Lake provide ideal conditions for California’s heritage grape variety. The vineyard is planted to three distinguished clones of Zinfandel, including Primitivo and heritage selections from Amador and Mendocino counties. In 2008, we harvested this choice fruit at ideal ripeness levels between August 29th and September 30th.

Vintage

2008 was a topsy-turvy vintage in northern California. The year began with heavy winter rains, segued into drought conditions in early spring, then erupted into the worst frost season in 35 years in March and April. Coupled with poor weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions dramatically reduced the size of the crop in many vineyards, greatly concentrating flavors and accelerating ripening. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, brought our Lake County grapes to fruition between August 29th and September 30th.

Winemaking

Our first four vintages of Snow’s Lake Zinfandel were 100% varietal. In 2008, we decided to blend 11% Petite Sirah from another block in an adjoining vineyard to deepen the wine’s color and enhance its complexity and longevity. All the fruit was night-harvested to maximize freshness and purity and to protect our vineyard workers from summer’s heat. Our three clonal selections of Zinfandel, plus the Petite Sirah, were harvested, fermented and aged separately. After a short, warm fermentation in stainless steel tanks to fully extract color, flavor and tannins, the wines remained on their skins for several more weeks to further enhance color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. After pressing the wines off the skins, we transferred the lots to French oak barrels, 46% new, where they aged before the final blend was assembled the following spring. The finished wine aged another eight months in barrel before bottling in February, 2010.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Reflecting the unique character of the Red Hills appellation, our 2009 Red Hills Lake County Zinfandel explodes with layers of ripe boysenberry, black raspberry, blackberry and plum compote aromas coupled with loamy earth, sweet vanilla and toasted oak scents. Rich, round and concentrated on the palate, it delivers a beautifully structured and focused core of super-rich brambleberry fruit balanced by seamlessly integrated tannins, vibrant fresh black cherry acidity, and a long, savory finish echoing the vineyard’s distinctive clay mineral character. Delicious now with hearty repasts, this luscious Zinfandel will further unfold its charms with another 3-5 years’ aging.

Excellent with roasts, barbecue or spicy foods.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel with Braised Beef in Sesame-Ginger Broth

Vineyards

We craft this enormously appealing Zinfandel from grapes grown at a 2,100-foot-plus elevation in the acclaimed Red Hills appellation of Lake County. Located at the foot of Mt. Konocti, an ancient volcano, this prime site boasts a perfect southwestern exposure and vines rooted in well-drained, mineral-rich, red volcanic soils. Its hot sunny days, windy afternoons and nights chilled by breezes from nearby Clear Lake provide ideal conditions for three distinguished clones of Zinfandel, including Primitivo and heritage selections from Amador and Mendocino counties.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Northern California deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in small berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, fostering peak maturity at lower sugar levels and superbly balanced wines. We harvested our Lake County Zinfandel grapes on September 22nd with a beautiful balance of rich, ripe fruit flavors and bright acidity.

Winemaking

Night-harvesting our Lake County Zinfandel fruit in the cold early-morning hours maximized its freshness, purity and flavor concentration. We harvested, fermented and aged each of our three clonal selections of Zinfandel separately to maximize their distinctive personalities and ensure an extra dimension of complexity in the wine. After a short, warm fermentation in stainless steel tanks to fully extract color, flavor and tannins, the wines remained on their skins for several more weeks to further enhance color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. After pressing the wines off the skins, we transferred them to French oak barrels, 50% new, where they aged for seven months before the final blend was assembled the following spring. The finished wine then aged another eight months in barrel before bottling in February, 2011.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Red Hills Lake County Zinfandel exudes fresh, ripe, generous aromas of jammy black cherry, red raspberry and plum fruit, complemented nicely by a whiff of toasted herbs. Rich and supple on the palate, its deeply concentrated cherry, black raspberry and red plum flavors extend into a long, savory finish mingling juicy cherry, briary spice and refreshing mineral tones. Beautifully structured with fine, well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity, this delicious mountain-grown Zinfandel drinks beautifully now, but will reward another 3-5 years of cellaring.

Excellent with roasts, barbecue or spicy foods.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel with Wilted Greens and Andouille Sausage

Vineyards

This is our tenth vintage of Zinfandel from a magnificent, high-elevation vineyard in the esteemed Red Hills appellation of Lake County, due north of Napa Valley. Located at the foot of Mt. Konocti, an ancient volcano, the vineyard tops 2,000 feet in elevation and boasts a perfect southwestern exposure, excellent air circulation, and well-drained, mineral-rich, red volcanic soils. Its hot, sunny days, windy afternoons, and nights chilled by breezes from nearby Clear Lake ensure full, even ripening of the three distinguished clones of Zinfandel we harvest from the site: Primitivo and heritage selections from Amador and Mendocino counties.

Vintage

2011 was an unusual vintage in California. Wet winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying budbreak, bloom and fruit set and setting the stage for a cool summer growing season that culminated in a prolonged, occasionally rainy, harvest. Our Red Hills Lake County Zinfandel grapes were less affected by the wet conditions because high-elevation vineyards drain more easily, and Red Hills is a warm, breezy region that dries out quickly. The cooler growing season actually was a blessing, as it allowed our grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, developing deeply concentrated flavors.

Winemaking

We night-harvest our Lake County Zinfandel grapes to preserve their freshness, fruit purity and varietal expressiveness, then ferment and age each of our three clonal selections separately to maximize their distinctive personalities and ensure an extra dimension of complexity in the wine. After warm fermentations in both small and large stainless steel tanks to fully extract color, flavor and tannins – with each fermentation tailored to the character of the individual lot – the wines remain on their skins for several more weeks to further enhance color and flavor while softening tannins. In 2011, after pressing the wines off the skins, we transferred them to French oak barrels, 36% new, where they aged seven months before the final blend was assembled the following spring and aged eight months in barrel prior to bottling in February, 2013.

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2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa Valley

  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998

PRICE $61.50

Purchase Now

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon sports a beautifully fragrant, complex bouquet of ripe dark cherry and boysenberry fruit complemented by scents of cedar, olive, dried sage, dark chocolate and toasty oak. Rich and smooth on the palate with perfectly integrated tannins and balanced acidity, the wine’s sumptuous black cherry, blackcurrant and blackberry flavors are superbly balanced and persist into a long, elegant finish with hints of chocolate, mineral and savory oak.

View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Oba's Chef Scott Neuman's Babyback Ribs

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon come from top vineyards throughout the valley’s finest cabernet sauvignon appellations. Securing fruit from multiple, diverse sites, including our own estate vineyards, enables us to craft a rich, yet elegant cabernet sauvignon marrying the lush black fruit and sturdy tannins typical of the valley’s warmer northern districts with the bright fruit and acidity characteristic of its cooler southern climes. In 2011, we included small amounts of petit verdot and cabernet franc to create a classic Bordeaux-style blend showcasing the complex, ripe fruit flavors for which Napa Valley wines are renowned.

Vintage

2011 was a unique, challenging vintage. The year began with a wet winter and spring, followed by an atypically cool summer weather and several October rainstorms. Not surprisingly, the grapes ripened slowly, resulting in a prolonged harvest. At Cakebread Cellars, we took an aggressive approach to the situation, thinning fruit from the vines to ensure full ripening of the remaining clusters and sorting meticulously through the grapes at the winery so that only the best berries were sent to the crusher. This achieved our goal of making a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with distinctively varietal aromas and lush, concentrated flavors. It’s worth noting that this is our first vintage of Napa Cabernet this century under 14% in alcohol.

Winemaking

Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of dozens of different lots of grapes, each separately harvested, crushed, fermented and barrel-aged. Each lot is also cold-soaked for two days prior to fermentation to enhance the extraction of color and flavor. Tank size, yeast strain, fermentation temperature and barrel type are tailored to the fruit character of each lot. Some of the wines undergo an extended maceration (keeping the fully fermented wine on its skins for several weeks to extract more flavor and soften tannins) while others are pressed off their skins immediately.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon offers wonderfully fragrant, complex aromas of ripe blackberry and boysenberry fruit augmented by complementary scents of loam, spice-box, dark chocolate and toasty oak. Beautifully balanced and richly textured on the palate, its concentrated black cherry, wild berry, cassis and mocha flavors are supported by supple tannins and extend into a long, chocolate-y finish. The product of a cool growing season, this rich, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious now, but will develop greater nuance with another 5-7 years of cellaring.

November 01, 2013

90 points

Robert Parker Online

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa represents an attractive blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This fruity, still grapy 2010 is nicely concentrated with lots of cassis and plum notes. Medium to full-bodied, pure, juicy, sexy and alluring, it will clearly age for 15 or more years despite its early appeal

March 26, 2012

90 points

Wine Spectator

Aromas of smoldering campfire embers lead to a complex mix of dried berry, mineral and black olive, with a touch of dark berry jam. Nicely layered, clean and focused, firming the finish. Drink now through 2019.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Panzanella Salad and Rack of Lamb

Vineyards

Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of grapes sourced from top vineyards throughout the valley’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon appellations. Securing fruit from multiple, diverse microclimates allows us to craft a rich, yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon marrying the lush black fruit and sturdy tannins typical of the valley’s warmer northern districts with the bright fruit and acidity characteristic of its cooler southern climes. In 2010, we included 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec in the blend to create a classic Bordeaux-style cépage showcasing the rich, ripe fruit flavors for which Napa Valley is renowned.

Vintage

2010 was a notably cool growing season in California. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, allowing our red varieties to hang on the vine an extra few weeks developing ripe, concentrated flavors.

Winemaking

Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of dozens of different lots of grapes, each separately harvested, crushed, fermented and barrel-aged. Each lot is also cold-soaked for two days prior to fermentation to enhance the extraction of color and flavor. Tank size, yeast strain, fermentation temperature and barrel type are tailored to the fruit character of each lot. Some of the wines undergo an extended maceration (keeping the fully fermented wine on its skins for several weeks to extract more flavor and soften tannins) while others are pressed off their skins immediately. Each lot spends six months aging in French oak barrels (35% new in 2010). After the lots are blended, the new wine ages another 12 months in barrel prior to bottling.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grabs the taster’s attention immediately with enticingly fresh, fruit-forward aromas of black currant, blackberry and boysenberry, joined by seductive chocolate and roast coffee scents. Beautifully structured on the palate, it boasts intense, concentrated, dark berry and cassis flavors balanced by supple, well-knit tannins and a long, flavorful finish with fine acidity and savory mocha tones. Delightful to drink now, this rich, elegant Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will blossom fully with another 5 to 7 years of bottle age.

December 06, 2010

92 points

Robert Parker Online

The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is among the finest “regular” Cabernet Sauvignons I have tasted from Cakebread. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, stunning purity, subtle notes of smoke, black currants, blackberries, spring flowers and toast, good acidity and ripe tannin. This full-bodied yet graceful, deep, silky Cabernet Sauvignon is already irresistible, but it will provide provocative and complex drinking for 15-20 years.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Smoked Tri-Tip in Sun-dried Cherry Sauce

Vineyards

Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of grapes from throughout the valley’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon appellations, ranging from Calistoga in the north to the Carneros district in the south. Sourcing fruit from multiple, diverse microclimates allows us to craft a sumptuous, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon melding the opulent black fruit character and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer northern microclimates with the bright fruit and crisp acidity characteristic of its cooler southern districts. In 2007, 95% of the fruit came from our up-valley vineyards with 5% from the Carneros district.

Vintage

The exemplary 2007 growing season commenced with a dry, mild winter and unusually warm spring, which prompted early budbreak and bloom. The summer was consistently mild, which enabled our modest crop of small-clustered Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, developing rich, distinctive varietal flavors. Warm temperatures in early September, followed by classic California Indian Summer weather, allowed us to harvest our Cabernet Sauvignon fruit at optimum maturity between September 1st and October 15th.

Winemaking

To maximize the quality of our 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, we cold-soaked each vineyard lot of grapes separately for between 36 and 48 hours to enhance extraction of color and flavor prior to fermentation. We then fermented and aged the lots separately, tailoring tank size, yeast strain, fermentation length and temperature, and barrel type and aging to the fruit character of each lot. Some of the wines underwent an extended maceration (the fully fermented wine remained on its skins for several weeks for greater extraction and/or to soften tannins), while others were pressed off the skins immediately. Post-fermentation and pressing, each lot spent six months aging in French oak barrels, 50% new, prior to blending. The blended wine then spent another 14 months in barrel prior to bottling in July, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The wonderfully pure, pretty nose of our 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is redolent of warm berry cobbler, with lovely toasted boysenberry and blackberry scents joined by hints of wild cherry, loamy earth and oak vanillin. On the supple, beautifully structured palate, the wine offers rich, vibrant blackberry, plum and black cherry flavors framed by perfectly integrated tannins and a long, savory finish. Delicious now, this elegantly sumptuous Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will develop further nuance with another 5-7 years’ bottle age.

December 05, 2011

90 points

Robert Parker Online

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is a fairly straightforward wine with good varietal character. With time in the glass the wine opens up nicely. Dark plums, tobacco, grilled herbs and licorice take shape nicely in this attractive, mid-weight offering. This is a beautiful, sleek Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2008 the blend is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.

March 26, 2012

90 points

Wine Spectator

Aromas of smoldering campfire embers lead to a complex mix of dried berry, mineral and black olive, with a touch of dark berry jam. Nicely layered, clean and focused, firming the finish. Drink now through 2019.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Lamb Brochettes and Thai Pesto

Vineyards

Our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blends grapes from throughout the valley’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon appellations. Sourcing fruit from multiple, diverse microclimates allows us to craft a sumptuous, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon that melds the opulent black fruit character and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer northern microclimates with the bright fruit tones and crisp acidity characteristic of its cooler southern precincts.

Vintage

The topsy-turvy 2008 growing season seesawed from heavy winter rains to early spring drought to severe frosts in late March and throughout April. Coupled with inclement weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the grape crop throughout Napa Valley, greatly concentrating flavors. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, provided ideal conditions for fully maturing our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which were harvested between September 26th and October 16th with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

The key to the quality of Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the specialized care we lavish on each component of the blend. The 2008 vintage is a cépage of 36 distinct lots of grapes, each separately harvested, crushed, fermented and barrel-aged. Each lot was cold-soaked prior to fermentation from 36 to 48 hours to enhance extraction of color and flavor. We then fermented and aged the lots separately, tailoring tank size, yeast strain, fermentation temperature and barrel type to the fruit character of each lot. Some of the wines underwent an extended maceration (keeping the fully fermented wine on its skins for several weeks to extract more flavor and soften tannins) while others were pressed off the skins immediately. Each lot spent six months aging in French oak barrels, 42% new, prior to blending. The blended wine aged another 14 months in barrel prior to bottling in July, 2010.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Fragrant boysenberry, blackberry, dark cherry, cassis and Mission fig aromas comprise the fresh, fruitful nose of our 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The first sip of the wine reveals a big, boldly structured Cabernet with deeply concentrated black fruit flavors and intriguing dusty, loamy and mineral-y tones that add wonderful dimension and complexity. Boasting an undercurrent of soft, plush fruit that will emerge further with aging, this sophisticated, yet approachable Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will reward another 5-7 years’ cellaring.

August 27, 2012

90 points

Wine Spectator

Creamy vanilla-tinged oak cloaks dried currant and berry fruit, graphite and crushed rock, firming nicely on the finish. A true to form Cakebread Cabernet. Drink now through 2024.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Duck Meat Balls with Foie Gras

Vineyards

Our 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of superior grapes from throughout the valley’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon appellations, with 95% coming from the warmer northern region of the valley and 5% from the cooler Carneros district in the south. Sourcing fruit from multiple, diverse microclimates allows us to craft a rich, yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon that marries the lush black fruit character and sturdy tannins typical of the valley’s warmer northern microclimates with the bright fruit tones and crisp acidity characteristic of its cooler southern reaches. In 2009, we blended in 13% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot to amplify the complexity of this classic Napa Valley red.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Northern California deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in small berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, fostering maturity at moderate sugar levels and resulting in superbly balanced wines. We harvested the grapes for our 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon between September 28th and October 21st with an exemplary balance of ripe fruit flavors, supple tannins and bright acidity.

Winemaking

The key to the quality of Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the specialized care we lavish on each component of the blend. Our 2009 bottling is a cépage of dozens of lots of grapes, each separately harvested, crushed, fermented and barrel-aged. Each lot was cold-soaked prior to fermentation for between 36 and 48 hours to enhance extraction of color and flavor. We then fermented and aged the lots separately, tailoring tank size, yeast strain, fermentation temperature and barrel type to the fruit character of each lot. Some of the wines underwent an extended maceration (keeping the fully fermented wine on its skins for several weeks to extract more flavor and soften tannins) while others were pressed off the skins immediately. Each lot spent six months aging in French oak barrels, 35% new, prior to blending. The blended wine aged another 12 months in barrel prior to bottling in May, 2011.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with fresh, smoky, cassis, blackberry and boysenberry aromas augmented by subtle cedar, black tea spice and sweet oak scents. Supple on entry, the wine’s big, extracted, black fruit flavors coat the palate, while its firm underlying structure transports the rich fruit and zesty black tea spiciness into a long, savory finish. Impressive now, this concentrated, yet elegant Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will age gracefully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Epic Roasthouse's Braised Oxtail with Papperdelle

Vineyards

Our 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of grapes from prime vineyard sites stretching from the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley to the cool Carneros district at its southern tip. Sourcing fruit from multiple, diverse microclimates enables our winemaker, Julianne Laks, to craft a rich, complex Cabernet Sauvignon displaying the opulent black fruit character and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer microclimates balanced by the bright fruit and crisp acidity characteristic of Napa’s cooler districts. In 2006, 92% of the fruit came from warmer up-valley vineyards with 8% from the Carneros district.

Vintage

The long, cool, 2006 growing season – in some respects more Bordeaux-like than Californian – fostered intense, finely structured flavors in our Napa Valley grapes. The growing season commenced with a wet winter, which delayed bud break and led to a late flowering of the vines. Fine weather in June was followed by a heat wave in July, but cool weather returned in August and continued throughout the harvest season, resulting in a long grape ripening period that developed deep, concentrated fruit flavors in our Napa Valley reds. The grapes for our 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux-style blend incorporating 16% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec, were harvested between October 3rd and October 27th.

Winemaking

After crushing and cold-soaking the grapes for 24-36 hours to enhance extraction, the juice from each vineyard lot was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, at warm temperatures, to fully extract color and flavor. Typically, fermentation completes in seven days, with the new wines left to macerate on the skins up to three additional weeks to maximize color and flavor extraction. Cool years like 2006, however, can result in Cabernet Sauvignons with elevated tannins, so we closely monitored evolving tannin levels during fermentation, using both quantitative and sensory analysis to determine the optimum maceration time for each lot. In 2006, each component of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon aged six months in French oak barrels, 35% new, with the lots chosen for the final blend aged another 14 months in barrel before bottling in July, 2008.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a fascinating mélange of aromas, including ripe black fig, blackberry, cassis, caramel, and mocha. On the richly textured palate, the wine’s intense black fruit flavors take on brambly spice, roasted coffee and dark chocolate tones, leading to a long, savory finish. Firmly structured and packed with layers of luxurious flavor, this lavishly endowed Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a treat now with grilled red meats and other hearty dishes, but will develop beautifully in the bottle for another 5-7 years.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Oba's Chef Scott Neuman's Babyback Ribs

Vineyards

We craft our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes grown in a range of prime vineyards stretching from the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley to the cool Carneros district at its southern tip. Sourcing fruit from a variety of microclimates enables us to fashion a rich, complex Cabernet Sauvignon blending the opulent black fruit character and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer microclimates with the brighter fruit and crisper acidity of Napa’s cooler districts. In 2005, approximately 94% of the grapes came from warmer up-valley vineyards with 6% from the Carneros district.

Vintage

In 2005, a warm late winter spurred early bud break, but cool, wet, spring weather set back vine development. Atypically cool temperatures continued throughout the summer, which slowed ripening and prolonged the growing season. Fortunately, warm, sunny weather in September and October brought the harvest to fruition in fine fashion. Due to the early start to the season and its late conclusion, the grapes for our 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which includes 10% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, enjoyed a long hang time on the vines, developing concentrated flavors at moderate sugar levels. We harvested the fruit in October with ideal sugar-acid balances.

Winemaking

After crushing and cold-soaking the grapes for 24-36 hours to enhance extraction, the juice from each vineyard lot was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, at warm temperatures, to fully extract color and flavor. Fermentation completed in approximately seven days, but the wines macerated on the skins for an additional three weeks to maximize color and flavor extraction and enhance tannins. The free run juice from each lot was then drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 35% new, for aging. In spring, 2006, the lots chosen for our Napa Valley bottling were blended and subsequently aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling in July, 2007.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Cakebread Cellars 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon boasts an enticing aroma of ripe black cherry, berry and currant fruit complemented by scents of vanilla, sweet herbs, cocoa, and coffee bean. On the palate, the wine’s lush, deep, mouth-filling berry and cassis flavors carry a hint of tea-leaf spiciness and are seamlessly balanced by firm, supple tannins, leading to a lusciously long, rich, oak-enhanced finish. Delicious to drink now, this classic Napa Valley Cabernet will continue to develop for another 5-7 years in bottle.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

The grapes for our 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with 11% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, come from more than a dozen vineyards stretching from the cool Carneros district in the south to the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley, with the majority from the mid-valley Rutherford appellation. Blending fruit from multiple clones and microclimates enables us to craft a complex Cabernet Sauvignon melding the bright, crisp fruit characteristic of Napa’s cooler regions with the lush, black-fruit flavors and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer climes. The grapes for the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested between September 21st and October 14th, 2002.

Vintage

In 2002, Napa Valley enjoyed a long, mild growing season of consistently warm days and cool nights, with just a few manageable heat spikes in late September and early October. With an expectation of healthy yields, many growers significantly thinned their crops and pruned shoots and leaves extensively to guarantee the vines put all their energy into ripening the remaining grape clusters, ensuring highly concentrated, complex fruit flavors. Cakebread Cellars further maximized grape quality by using advanced soil moisture management techniques to precisely calibrate the amount of water required by the vines at critical junctures throughout the season.

Winemaking

After being crushed and cold-soaked for 24-36 hours, each vineyard lot was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, at warm temperatures, to fully extract color and flavor. The fermentations completed in seven days, with an extended maceration of 21 additional days to maximize extraction and enhance the wine’s structure. The free run juice of each lot was then drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 65% new, for aging. During this period, each lot was tasted regularly to assess its aroma and flavor development, varietal character, ripeness and richness levels, and oak character. In spring, 2003, the chosen lots were blended and aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling in July 2004.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

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.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

As in recent years, the fruit for the 1999 Napa Valley 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.

Vintage

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.

Winemaking

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.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

This 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has a clear, dark garnet color. Its spicy, cedar-like scents together with a background aroma of cassis are invitingly rich and complex. On the palate, the texture is rich and smooth with flavors reminiscent of cassis with a hint of chocolate. The overall taste-impression of this wine is one of rich black fruit in a delicious balance.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The fruit for the 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon came primarily from here in Rutherford and neighboring Oakville appellations, with smaller lots from Stags’ Leap, Carneros and St. Helena growing areas. To add additional characters of dark fruit and earthiness we blended in 15% Merlot. A small amount of Cabernet Franc (7%), on the other hand, lent structure plus a wonderful berry-like flavor.

Vintage

Cakebread Cellars’ 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is yet another classic vintage Cabernet of the Nineties. The vintage itself was challenging, to say the least. El Niño-generated weather patterns kept Napa Valley vineyards unusually cool and wet for most of the growing season, until two separate hot spells hit in mid-July and August. However, overall, the 1998 Vintage was the coolest one since 1994. While crop levels were down 20% from 1997’s bountiful yields, quality was kept high due to the prevalent cool temperatures plus “The October Miracle” of an “Indian summer.”

Winemaking

The determining factor in the Cakebread style of winemaking is taste, whether it is to decide when grapes are wholly mature to pick or when to “press-out” an individual lot of fermented Cabernet Sauvignon. In making this 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, as is our practice, we fermented each vineyard lot separately. Then, we put half in new small French oak barrels and half in one and two-year old barrels for approximately six months. Throughout this initial aging process, we continually taste-analyze the various individual lots so as to put together a final blend. Once we assemble a final blend, it goes into the same French oak barrels to age for an additional year before being bottled.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon boasts enticing ripe blackberry, black cherry and blueberry fruit aromas, accented by subtle scents of chocolate, earth and leather. On the palate, the wine’s intense, concentrated, black fruit and wild cherry flavors are enriched by roast coffee and toasty oak tones, with ripe, supple tannins and refreshing acidity anchoring the long, fruitful finish. Delicious to drink now, this classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will develop beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

Our Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley fruit comes from an array of choice vineyards stretching from the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley to the cool Carneros district at its southern tip. Sourcing fruit from a variety of microclimates enables us to craft a rich, complex Cabernet Sauvignon blending the opulent black fruit and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer climes with the bright fruit and crisp acidity characteristic of Napa’s cooler districts. In 2004, approximately 90% of the grapes came from warmer up-valley districts, with 10% from the Carneros district.

Vintage

In 2004, an unusually balmy late winter, consistently warm spring and summer temperatures, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in the earliest Cabernet Sauvignon harvest since 1981. The early budbreak, combined with light crop loads, produced grape clusters with small berries and intense, concentrated flavors, resulting in wines of great depth, concentration and structure. The grapes for our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was blended with 12% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc, were harvested between September 4 and October 27, 2004.

Winemaking

After crushing and cold-soaking the fruit for 24-36 hours to enhance extraction, the juice from each vineyard lot was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, at warm temperatures, to fully extract color and flavor. Fermentation completed in approximately seven days, but the wines macerated on the skins for an additional three weeks to maximize color and flavor extraction and enhance tannins. The free run juice from each lot was then drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 57% new, for aging. During this period, we frequently taste each lot to monitor its aroma and flavor development, texture, and oak character. In spring, 2006, the lots chosen for our Napa Valley bottling were blended, and subsequently aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling in July, 2006.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Cakebread Cellars 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon boasts enticing aromas of ripe black fruits and dark chocolate, with lush, concentrated, blackberry, black cherry and black fig flavors. A supple structure of fine tannins is well-integrated with the wine’s ripe fruit and fresh acidity, leading to a finish full of rich dark chocolate and blackberry flavors. Delicious to drink now, this classic Napa Valley Cabernet should develop beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

The grapes for our 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which was blended with 11% Merlot, 0.7% Cabernet Franc and 0.3% Malbec, come from more than a dozen vineyards stretching from the cool Carneros district in the southern valley to the warm Calistoga region at its northern end. Blending fruit from multiple clones and microclimates allows us to produce a complex Cabernet Sauvignon melding the bright fruit characteristic of Napa’s cooler districts with the lush black fruit and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer climes. The grapes for our 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested between October 2nd and 29th at optimal ripeness.

Vintage

In 2003, a warm early spring gave way to cool, wet weather in April, which set back vine development. Seasonally temperate weather prevailed from May through July, but a cool pattern returned in August, delaying ripening. By early September, warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights were again the norm, and hot weather during the latter half of September sent us scurrying to harvest earlier-ripening varieties. October, however, brought classic autumn weather, with crisp mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings, extending the harvest by several weeks and enabling us to pick our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at moderate sugar levels. Red wines from the topsy-turvy 2003 harvest are rich and deeply colored, with excellent concentration and balance.

Winemaking

After crushing and cold-soaking the fruit for 24-36 hours, the juice from each vineyard lot was fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, at warm temperatures, to fully extract color and flavor. The fermentations completed in approximately seven days, but we kept the wines macerating on their skins for an additional three weeks to maximize color and flavor extraction and enhance the wine’s tannic structure. The free run wine from each lot was then drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 55% new, for aging. During this period, winemaker Julianne Laks tasted each lot regularly to assess its aroma and flavor development, texture, and oak character. In spring, 2004, the lots chosen for our Napa Valley bottling were blended, and subsequently aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling in July, 2005.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The product of a superb red wine vintage in Napa Valley, Cakebread Cellars 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderfully rich, ripe wine with a nearly opaque ruby color and a seductive aroma of ripe, lavish black cherry and currant fruit enhanced by cedar and toasty, vanilla oak tones. On the palate, the wine’s lush berry and cassis flavors are impressively broad and deep with supple, seamlessly integrated tannins and a lusciously rich finish. Delicious to drink now, this marvelous red will continue developing for another 5-7 years in bottle.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which is blended with 16% Merlot,
4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec, come from more than a dozen vineyards stretching from the cool Carneros district in the south to the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley, with the majority from the mid-valley Rutherford appellation. Blending fruit from multiple clones and microclimates enables us to craft a complex Cabernet Sauvignon melding the bright cherry fruit characteristic of Napa’s cooler regions with the intense black-fruit flavors and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer climes. The grapes for the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested between September 18th and October 15th, 2001.

Vintage

The 2001 vintage in northern California was a climatic roller coaster ride. A warm March led to early bud break, followed by April frosts that significantly reduced the crop in some north coast regions. May and June were warm, but the weather turned cool again in July and August, slowing the ripening process and allowing the grapes to achieve full physiological development without dehydration. Ideal weather in early fall brought the season to fruition with a harvest of small-berried Cabernet Sauvignon grapes blessed with intense, balanced fruit flavors.

Winemaking

After being crushed and cold-soaked for 24-36 hours, each vineyard lot was fermented separately. Warm fermentations in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, to fully extract color and flavor, were completed in 7 days, with an extended maceration of 21 days to maximize extraction and enhance the wine’s structure. The free run juice was then drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 65% new. After blending in spring 2002, the wine aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling in August 2003.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon displays a dark ruby/scarlet color and a classic Napa Valley Cabernet aroma of ripe black cherry and currant fruit. This is enhanced by well-integrated toast and vanilla oak tones. The wine’s rich, elegant, blackberry, cassis and plum flavors are beautifully structured by ripe, round tannins and persist through a long, fruit-filled finish. Enticing now, this lovely red will continue developing for 5-8 years and will age well up to 12.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which is blended with 20% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, come from more than a dozen vineyards stretching from the cool Carneros district in the south to the warm Calistoga region at the northern end of the valley, with the majority from the mid-valley Rutherford appellation. Blending fruit from multiple clones and microclimates enables us to craft a complex cabernet melding the bright cherry/berry fruit characteristic of Napa’s cooler regions with the intense black-fruit flavors and firm tannins typical of the valley’s warmer climes.

Vintage

The 2000 vintage featured a cool, even growing season culminating in a classic Indian summer, insuring that our Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes developed fully ripened flavors prior to being harvested at optimum maturity between late September and mid-October.

Winemaking

After being crushed and cold-soaked for 24-36 hours, each vineyard lot was fermented separately, with 5% whole berry fermentation to accentuate the wine’s fruity characters. Warm fermentations in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, to fully extract color and flavor, were completed in 7 days, with an extended maceration of 14-21 days to maximize extraction. The free run juice was then drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 65% new. After blending in spring 2001, the wine aged an additional 14 months in barrel before bottling in August 2002.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon boasts alluring, complex aromas of dense dark cherry, boysenberry and blackcurrant fruit supplemented by enticing toasted oak and dark chocolate scents. Rich and lush on the palate with deeply concentrated cassis, blackberry and black fig flavors, the wine culminates in a remarkably long finish showcasing ripe fruit, dark chocolate and wood spice tones framed by finely grained tannins. Seductive now for its luscious fruit, this classic Napa Valley cabernet will evolve beautifully in bottle over the next 7-10 years.

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon come from top vineyards throughout the valley’s finest cabernet sauvignon appellations. Securing fruit from multiple, diverse sites, including our own estate vineyards, enables us to craft a rich, yet elegant cabernet sauvignon marrying the lush black fruit and sturdy tannins typical of the valley’s warmer northern districts with the bright fruit and acidity characteristic of its cooler southern climes. In 2012, winemaker Julianne Laks tasted each vineyard lot a dozen times, conducting eight blending sessions to determine the final blend.

Vintage

2012 was a near-ideal growing season in Napa Valley, with a warm, dry spring fostering early budbreak and trouble-free flowering and grape set. Consistently mild summer weather free of rain or unwelcome heat spikes allowed us to harvest our cabernet sauvignon grapes with an optimal balance of ripe, concentrated fruit flavors and lively acidity.

Winemaking

Each lot of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is separately harvested, fermented and barrel-aged before blending. Each is also cold-soaked for two days prior to fermentation to enhance color, flavor and tannin extraction. Tank size, yeast strain, fermentation temperature and barrel type are specifically tailored to the fruit character of each lot. In 2012, the component wines aged six months in French oak barrels, 54% new, before they were blended in May, 2013. The final blend then spent another 12 months in barrel before bottling in May, 2014.

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2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Vine Hill Ranch

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon offers a multifaceted bouquet of wonderfully bright, deeply concentrated black fruits – wild blackberry, black cherry and dark plum – complemented by fascinating dusty earth, cocoa, flint, mineral and toasty oak scents. On the full-bodied, seamlessly integrated palate, the wine’s intense and beautifully focused blackberry, cassis, dark cherry, plum and dark chocolate flavors gain a refreshing lift of acidity in the long, persistent finish. With great reserves of fruit, flawless structure, supple, beautifully integrated tannins and a distinctive personality derived from the unique attributes of Vine Hill Ranch, this stunning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, from a great vintage, will age beautifully in bottle for a decade or more, although it drinks deliciously now.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon comes from four distinctive blocks of vines – each planted to a different clone – in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands near Oakville. We have purchased these grapes for nearly 30 years, and they have consistently produced superb, long-lived wines. Each block is hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fruit’s fresh, pure character, and fermented and barrel-aged separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, we blend the four together to forge a uniquely complex and harmonious wine that speaks eloquently of its provenance.

Vintage

2007 was an exceptional vintage for cabernet sauvignon in Napa Valley. A dry, mild winter and unusually warm spring prompted early budbreak and bloom, followed by a perfect grape set in June. Summer was consistently mild, with warm days and cool nights, ideal conditions for achieving maximum ripening and flavor development while retaining healthy levels of acidity. A warm early September and a modest crop got the harvest off to an early, fast-paced start, allowing us to pick our four special blocks of Vine Hill fruit between September 18th and 25th.

Winemaking

To ensure maximum extraction of color, flavor and tannin from our Vine Hill grapes, Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs traditional artisan winemaking techniques. After the grapes are crushed, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked for 48 hours prior to initiating fermentation with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, three-week maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. The 2007 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon spent 22 months aging in French oak barrels, 54% new, prior to bottling in August, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2008 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon boasts marvelously fresh, high-toned and complex aromas of blackberry, fig, floral spice, mineral, earth, flint and cocoa. This beautiful bouquet introduces intense, densely textured and finely focused black fruit flavors that track seamlessly across the palate and culminate in an extremely long, supple and fruitful finish enhanced by bright acidity and savory dark chocolate tones. Possessing deep reserves of fruit, classic structure and the inimitable personality of a truly great vineyard, this stunning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, from a small-yielding, but fine vintage, will age beautifully in bottle for a decade or more, although it drinks beautifully now.

An excellent companion to beef, rich pork dishes and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

We craft our Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon from four special blocks of vines – each planted to a different clone – grown in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands in the Oakville AVA. We have purchased these grapes for 30 years, and they have consistently produced superb, long-lived wines. Each block is hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fruit’s fresh, pure character, and fermented and barrel-aged separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, we blend the four together to forge a uniquely complex and harmonious wine that speaks eloquently of its provenance.

Vintage

The topsy-turvy 2008 growing season seesawed from heavy rains in winter to drought conditions in early spring to severe frosts in late March and throughout April. Coupled with inclement weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the grape crop throughout Napa Valley, greatly concentrating flavors. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, provided ideal conditions for the full maturation of our Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which were harvested between September 25th and October 11th with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs traditional artisan winemaking techniques to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin from our Vine Hill Ranch fruit. After the grapes are crushed, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked for 48 hours prior to initiating fermentation with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, three-week maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. In all, the 2008 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon spent 22 months in French oak barrels, 48% new, prior to bottling in August, 2010.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2009 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a beautifully deep, dark ruby hue and characteristically intense, youthfully brooding black fruit aromas complemented by wonderfully complex scents of earth, slate, mineral, spice and cocoa. Dense, sinewy and immensely concentrated on the palate, it offers extremely rich boysenberry, fig, wild blackberry, plum compote and cassis flavors accented by the intriguing earth, mineral and spice tones that suffuse its long, flavor-packed finish. Although this classic Napa Valley single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderfully appealing now, its incredible depth, length and intensity suggest it will develop beautifully in bottle for at least a decade.

April 30, 2013

91 points

Wine Spectator

Very appealing, with a pleasant mix of dark berry, mocha, dried herb and underbrush, tightly focused, firmly tannic and persistent. Drink now through 2024. Wine Spectator Magazine as rated our 2009 Vine Hill Ranch with 91 points. (April 30, 2013)

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

We craft our Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon from four special blocks of vines – each planted to a different clone – grown in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands near Oakville. We have purchased these grapes for over 30 years, and they have consistently produced superb, long-lived wines. Each block is hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fruit’s fresh, pure character, and fermented and barrel-aged separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, we blend them together to forge a uniquely complex and harmonious wine that speaks eloquently of its provenance.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Napa Valley deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in especially small Cabernet Sauvignon berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, resulting in superbly balanced wines. We harvested the grapes for our 2009 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon between September 28th and October 9th with an exemplary balance of ripe fruit flavors, supple tannins and bright acidity.

Winemaking

Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs traditional artisan winemaking techniques to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin from our Vine Hill Ranch fruit. After the grapes are crushed, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked for 48 hours prior to initiating fermentation with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, three-week maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. In all, the 2009 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon spent 20 months aging in French oak barrels, 48% new, before bottling in July, 2011.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2010 vintage of our Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the wine’s typically dense, complex aromas of ripe black fruits, plum compote, earth, slate, mineral and spice. Its intensely rich and deeply concentrated blackberry, fig, boysenberry and dark plum flavors – with undertones of mineral, spice and roasted coffee – are framed by firm, but supple tannins and culminate in a long, beautifully structured finish. Tightly wound in its youth, the Vine Hill Ranch is always impressive on release, but handsomely repays up to a decade of cellaring.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

Our Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon comes from four special blocks of vines – each planted to a different clone – in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands near Oakville. We have purchased from this vineyard for over 30 years, and they have consistently produced superb, long-lived wines. Each block is hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fruit’s fresh, pure character, and fermented and barrel-aged separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, we blend them together to forge a uniquely complex and harmonious wine that speaks eloquently of its provenance.

Vintage

2010 was a notably cool growing season in California. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, extending the growing season and ensuring that our Vine Hill Ranch grapes were harvested with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs traditional artisan winemaking techniques to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin from our Vine Hill Ranch fruit. After the grapes are crushed, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked for 48 hours prior to initiating fermentation with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, three-week maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. The 2010 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon spent 19 months aging in French oak barrels, 32% new, before bottling in April, 2012.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2005 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon boasts fresh, ripe, cassis, blackberry and black fig aromas complemented by dark chocolate, roasted coffee, briary spice and earthy mineral tones. Impressively dense and concentrated on the palate, with tightly woven, spicy blackberry and dark chocolate flavors, the wine showcases its depth and intensity in a dramatically lengthy, mineral-infused finish. Although this potent, single-vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is tempting now, it will blossom fully with 8-10 years of additional bottle age.

July 14, 2008

93 points

Wine Spectator

Beautifully defined fruit, with layers of red currant, black cherry, plum and wild berry, shaded by hints of cedary oak, spice and floral scents, all of which are well-proportioned, elegant and stylish, with a long, tight, persistent finish. Drink now through 2016.
Wine Spectator gave this wine a score of 93 points.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our 2005 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from four special blocks of grapes grown in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. We have been purchasing grapes from Vine Hill Ranch owner Bob Phillips and his family since 1981, and they consistently yield exceptionally intense, concentrated and complex Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons, especially in great red-wine vintages like 2005.

Vintage

In 2005, a warm late winter spurred early bud break, but cool, wet, spring weather set back vine development. Atypically cool temperatures continued throughout the summer, which slowed ripening and prolonged the growing season. Warm, sunny weather in September and October, however, brought the harvest to fruition in fine fashion. Due to the early start to the season and its late conclusion, the grapes for our 2005 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon enjoyed a long hang time on the vine and were harvested between October 15th and 20th.

Winemaking

Cakebread Cellars’ winemaker Julianne Laks utilizes traditional artisan winemaking techniques with our Vine Hill Ranch fruit to ensure maximum extraction of color, flavor and tannin. After crushing the grapes, the juice is cold-soaked for 48 hours before fermentation is initiated with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances mid-palate texture, depth and intensity. After fermentation completes, the wine enjoys an extended, 20-day maceration on the skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. We then gently drain the free run wine from the skins and age it in French oak barrels. The 2005 Vine Hill Ranch aged 22 months in French oak, 35% new, before bottling in July, 2007.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 1998 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of red berries, cedar, vanilla and a touch of oak. Hints of blackberries, blueberries, herbs, black pepper and vanilla show on the palate. Following tradition, this Cakebread Cellars’ reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful integration of rich, ripe black-fruit flavors, a soft, round texture and a finish of firm, lingering tannins.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Since 1981, Cakebread Cellars has worked hand-in-hand with the Phillips Family, owners of the highly acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards grown at their Vine Hill Ranch in Oakville. Their vineyards are situated along the gently sloping western foothills known as the “benchlands.” The grapes from this property have a long history of producing an elegant, rich wine that until now has been reserved exclusively for our finest Cabernet blends.

Vintage

Following the example of the outstanding 1997 vintage, the 1998 Cakebread Cellars Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested a vineyard block at a time over a two-week period. We then kept the wine made from each block separate as each one is grown on a different rootstock, creating decidedly different flavors and aromas. Working with separate, small lots of wine from this vintage, Winemaker Bruce Cakebread then assembled the best and most representative Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon possible.

Winemaking

More than simply highlighting the fruit from an exceptional vineyard in an excellent growing year, the Cakebread and Phillips’ families regard this second release of Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon as a tribute to their decades-long relationship.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2006 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon offers fresh, deeply concentrated aromas of ripe black currant, dark cherry and wild blackberry fruit, with whiffs of cocoa, earth and mineral adding dimension and intrigue. On the palate, the wine’s remarkably focused blackberry, cassis, cherry, plum and dark chocolate flavors persist and expand throughout a long, fruitful finish, with mineral tones adding length and refreshment. A big structured wine, with full firm tannins, bright acidity and a core of intense fruit, this exceptional Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will profit from up to a decade of bottle aging, although Vine Hill enthusiasts may be hard-pressed to resist it now.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our 2006 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from five specific blocks of grapes – each planted to a different clone – in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. We have purchased these grapes from Vine Hill since 1981, and they consistently yield exceptionally intense, concentrated, long-lived Napa Valley cabernet sauvignons. The blocks are hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fresh, pure character of the grapes, and also fermented separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, the wines are blended the following spring to ensure a complex, harmonious wine.

Vintage

In 2006, a wet spring delayed budbreak and set back vine growth through June. A hot spell in mid-July quickened vine development and sugar accumulation, but August brought a return to cooler temperatures, which persisted through the balance of the growing season. This mild, classic late-summer and early-fall weather pattern allowed for slow, even ripening of our Vine Hill grapes, which were harvested on October 23rd and 24th.

Winemaking

Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks utilizes traditional artisan winemaking techniques with our Vine Hill fruit to ensure maximum extraction of color, flavor and tannin. After crushing the grapes from the various vineyard blocks, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked 48 hours prior to being fermented with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances mid-palate texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, 20-day maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins. The 2006 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, blended in March, 2007, spent a total of 27 months aging in French oak barrels, 50% new, prior to bottling in April, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2004 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon boasts intense, concentrated aromas of dusty black fruits, ripe figs, violets, dark chocolate, warm baking spices and minerals. The big, concentrated palate delivers impressively deep, expansive flavors of cassis, black fig, spicy blackberry, and chocolate with an intriguing streak of minerality asserting itself in the long, firmly structured finish. Although this powerful, single-vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is difficult to resist now, especially with grilled red meats, it will cellar beautifully for another 8-10 years.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our single-vineyard Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from several special blocks of grapes grown in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. We have been purchasing these grapes from Vine Hill Ranch owner Bob Phillips since 1981, and they consistently yield exceptionally intense, concentrated and complex Cabernet Sauvignons that annually rank among Napa Valley’s finest.

Vintage

In 2004, a balmy late winter, consistently warm spring and summer temperatures, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in the earliest Cabernet Sauvignon harvest in Napa Valley since 1981. The early budbreak, combined with light crop loads, produced grape clusters with small berries and intense, concentrated flavors, resulting in wines of great depth, concentration and structure. The grapes for our 2004 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested with a superb balance of ripe fruit flavors and fresh acidity between September 4th and September 17th.

Winemaking

We utilize traditional artisan winemaking techniques with the Vine Hill Ranch fruit to ensure the maximum extraction of color, flavor and tannin. After crushing the grapes, the juice is cold-soaked for 48 hours before fermentation is initiated with a cultured yeast strain. In 2004, we used a single French strain that enhances mid-palate texture, depth and intensity. After fermentation completed, and the wine enjoyed an extended maceration on the skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins, we gently drained the free run wine from the skins and aged it in French oak barrels for 22 months, 63% new, before bottling in August 2006.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2003 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon opens with complex, come-hither aromas of ripe blackberry fruit mingled with notes of milk chocolate, fig and sweet brown spices. On the palate, the wine delivers intense, concentrated, spicy blackberry flavors full of the classic ‘dusty’ character for which mid-Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is famed. Youthfully compact, with sturdy, well-integrated tannins, this classic Napa Valley Cabernet is difficult to resist now, but it should be cellared for a minimum of five years to ensure maximum enjoyment, and will continue developing in the bottle for at least five years after that.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, which is produced in very limited quantities, come from two special blocks of the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands which is owned by the Phillips family. We have been working with Bob and Alex Phillips since 1981 and continue to do so with Bruce Phillips. These blocks produce fruit with exceptionally intense, concentrated flavors. In 2003, the grapes were harvested on October 16th and 17th at peak maturity.

Vintage

In 2003, a warm early spring gave way to cool, wet weather in April, which set back vine development. Seasonally temperate weather prevailed from May through July, but a cool pattern returned in August, delaying ripening. By early September, warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights were again the norm, and hot weather during the latter half of September sent us scurrying to harvest early-ripening varieties. October, however, brought classic autumn weather, with crisp mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings, extending the harvest by several weeks and enabling us to pick our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at ideal sugar levels. Red wines from the topsy-turvy 2003 harvest are rich and deeply colored, with excellent concentration and balance.

Winemaking

We utilize traditional fermentation techniques with the Vine Hill fruit to ensure complete extraction of its deep color, intense flavors and smooth, ripe tannins. After crushing, the juice is cold soaked for 48 hours before fermentation is initiated. Once fermentation begins, the juice is drained from one tank to another, allowing the skins in the first tank to fall to the bottom, only to be thoroughly re-macerated once the juice is splashed back into the tank, a technique known as rack-and-return. In addition to extracting more color and flavor, the aeration this technique affords converts short-chain (harsh) tannins to long-chain (suppler) tannins. After an extended maceration, the wine is gently drained from the skins and the free run juice transferred to French oak barrels. The skins are then pressed, and the resulting ‘press fraction’ kept separate. The 2003 Vine Hill aged 22 months in 37% new French barrels before being bottled in August 2005.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2002 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon reveals a wealth of toasty blackberry fruit in the nose overlaid with a pronounced creamy, milk chocolate tone. In the mouth, the wine is deep and concentrated, with intense black fruit and chocolate flavors that turn spicy in the long finish. Compactly structured, with firm, balanced tannins, this beautiful Napa Valley Cabernet should be cellared for a minimum of five years for maximum enjoyment and will continue developing in the bottle for at least five years after that.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, which is produced in very limited quantities, come from the acclaimed Vine Hill Vineyard along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. The vineyard has long been owned by grower Bob Phillips and his family, and we’ve been fortunate to work with them for over two decades, using Vine Hill grapes in our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon since 1995. In 1997, we decided the fruit from this exceptional vineyard merited its own bottling, so we began producing a Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon from two special blocks of Bob’s vines. Vine Hill has since become one of Cakebread Cellars’ most coveted wines. In 2002, the fruit was harvested October 4th - 8th in ideal condition.

Vintage

In 2002, Napa Valley enjoyed a long, mild growing season of consistently warm days and cool nights, with just a few manageable heat spikes in late September and early October. With an expectation of healthy yields, many growers significantly thinned their crops and pruned shoots and leaves extensively to guarantee the vines put all their energy into ripening the remaining grape clusters, ensuring highly concentrated, complex fruit flavors. Cakebread Cellars further maximized grape quality by using advanced soil moisture management techniques to precisely calibrate the amount of water required by the vines at critical junctures throughout the season.

Winemaking

After the fruit was crushed, the juice and skins were moved to tank and allowed to cold soak for 72 hours before fermentation was initiated, a procedure designed to extract color and enhance flavor. Once fermentation got underway, the juice was drained from one tank to another, allowing the skins in the first tank to fall to the bottom, only to be thoroughly re-macerated once the juice was splashed back into the tank. Known as rack-and-return, this procedure helps diffuse pigment and tannins from the grape and also converts short-chain (harsh) tannins to long-chain (suppler) tannins. After an extended, four-week maceration, the wine was transferred to French oak barrels, 75% new, where it spent 18 months aging before being bottled in August 2004.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2001 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon displays the deep, rich fruit and superb tannin structure characteristic of this magnificent Oakville vineyard. The aroma is classic Napa Valley: ripe, dusty blackberry, black plum and black currant fruit laced with a hint of briary spice and a whiff of sweet, toasty oak. At first taste, the wine reveals a big, thick, harmonious texture followed by waves of deep, concentrated black fruit that expand on the palate and take on a spicy, licorice-like tone in the remarkably lengthy finish. Truly “hedonistic,” but with a splendid balance of supple tannins and bright underlying acidity, this immensely generous Cabernet is hard to resist now, but will develop and provide pleasure for another decade.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our acclaimed Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, which is produced in very limited quantities, come from the Vine Hill Vineyard, situated along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. The vineyard has long been owned by grape grower Bob Phillips and his family, and we’ve been fortunate to work with them for over two decades, using Vine Hill grapes in our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon since 1995. In 1997, we decided the fruit from this exceptional vineyard was so special it merited its own bottling, so we began producing a Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon from two special blocks of Bob’s vines. Vine Hill has since become one of Cakebread Cellars’ most sought-after wines. In 2001, the fruit was harvested between October 4th and October 8th in ideal condition.

Vintage

The 2001 vintage was a bit of a roller coaster ride. A warm March led to early bud break, followed by April frosts that reduced the crop in some north coast regions. May and June were warm, ensuring a healthy bloom and grape set, but the weather turned cool in July. A brief mid-August heat spell reignited the ripening process, which slowed again with cool weather in late August and early September. Fortunately, a classic California Indian summer ensued, bringing the harvest to fruition in October with a moderate crop of fully ripened, small-berried Cabernet Sauvignon grapes blessed with ripe, intense flavors.

Winemaking

After the fruit was crushed, the juice and skins were moved to tank and allowed to cold soak for 48 hours before fermentation was initiated, a procedure designed to extract color and flavor. Once fermentation got underway, the juice was drained from one tank to another, allowing the skins in the first tank to fall to the bottom, only to be thoroughly re-macerated once the juice was splashed back into the tank. Known as rack-and-return, this procedure helps extract more color and flavor and also converts short-chain (harsh) tannins to long-chain (suppler) tannins. After an extended, four-week maceration, the wine was pressed and then transferred to French oak barrels, 75% new, where it spent 23 months aging before being bottled in August 2003.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2000 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon displays the superb fruit and tannin structure characteristic of cabernets produced from the Oakville appellation. The wine offers intensely focused fruit, from its complex, layered aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, plum, cassis and spice to its deep, opulent, mouth-coating flavors. Delicious to drink now, it will age gracefully for another 5-8 years.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Fruit for our Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon comes from four blocks of the Vine Hill Vineyard, situated along Oakville’s gently sloping western benchlands. The vineyard is owned by long-time grape grower Bob Phillips and his family. We’ve been fortunate to work with them since 1981, using grapes from their vineyard in our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1997, we decided the vineyard was too special not to have its own bottling, so we began producing a Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, which has become one of our most sought-after wines.

Vintage

In 2000, Napa Valley benefited from a cool, even growing season, enabling us to harvest our Vine Hill Vineyard cabernet sauvignon grapes at full maturity between September 27th and October 12th. Although a brief heat spike hit the valley in June, the region for the most part enjoyed cool summer temperatures, keeping the ripening process on an even keel. Some light rain in September served to preserve a high level of acidity in the grapes and to further extend their “hang time” on the vine, resulting in fruit with deep color and ripe, intense flavors. Small cluster and berry sizes further concentrated flavors, enabling us to produce an especially deep, focused 2000 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaking

After the fruit was crushed, the juice and skins were moved to tank and allowed to cold soak for 72 hours before fermentation was initiated, a procedure designed to extract color and flavor. Once fermentation got underway, the juice was drained from one tank to another, allowing the skins in the first tank to fall to the bottom, only to be thoroughly re-macerated once the juice was splashed back into the tank. Known as rack-and-return, this procedure helps extract more color and flavor and also converts short-chain (harsh) tannins to long-chain (suppler) tannins. After an extended, four-week maceration, the wine was pressed and then transferred to French oak barrels, 75% new, where it spent 26 months aging before being bottled in December 2002.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Following in the tradition we established with our first vintage in 1997, our 1999 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is layered and complex. From the deep, dark color to the intense aromas of blackberry, plum, vanilla and cassis, to the mouthwatering flavors of dark berries and chocolate, each layer unfolds slowly and deliberately. The smooth texture, firm tannins and long finish complete the picture. Although this wine drinks nicely when young, it would also benefit from 4 to 8 years of bottle age.

Excellent with rich red meats and game.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

This Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Vine Hill Ranch, owned by long-time grape grower, Bob Phillips, and his family. We’ve proudly worked with the Phillips since 1981, using grapes from their vineyard situated along Oakville’s gently sloping western hillsides in our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1997, we decided that the vineyard was too special not to be bottled as a single vineyard wine so we bottled a small amount that year. That bottling confirmed our belief in the quality and uniqueness of this special site and exemplified the Phillips’ dedication to it.

Vintage

Each growing season is unique. 1999 was certainly no exception, and will be remembered as one of the coolest seasons of the decade. It kicked into gear with a long, cold winter, followed by a moderate spring. Bud break came in late March and early April, with bloom complete by mid-June. A cool, dry summer resulted in a rather late harvest, giving the vines extra “hang time” and allowing the grapes to reach optimum ripeness. The end results were wines with deep color and an excellent balance of fruit and tannins.

Winemaking

Cakebread’s winemaker, Julianne Laks, combines traditional and innovative wine making techniques in crafting our red wines. For starters, she cold soaks the juice and skins, or must, prior to fermentation to intensify color and flavors. During the fermentation process, Julianne uses pumpovers and, whenever necessary, a technique called “rack and return,” whereby the must is transferred from tank to tank to stimulate the production of phenolic compounds that help to balance and round out the wine’s tannins. Four weeks of extended maceration and daily tastings also aid in crafting the most complex wine possible. Our Cabernet Sauvignons are then aged in 80% new French oak for 26 months prior to bottling, and aged an additional year before release to the public.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Distinctively high-toned, concentrated and complex aromas of earthy black fruits, violets, slate, dark chocolate and spice characterize the nose of our 2011 Vine Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep, dense and powerful on the firmly structured palate, the wine’s intense, dramatically concentrated blackcurrant, blackberry, dark plum and mineral flavors are bolstered by firm, yet refined tannins and balanced acidity, leading to a long, savory finish accented by earth, mineral, chocolate and toasted oak tones.

View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon comes from four special blocks of vines – each planted to a different clone – in the acclaimed Vine Hill Ranch in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands near Oakville. We have purchased these grapes for over 30 years, and they have consistently produced superb, long-lived wines. Each block is hand-harvested separately at night to preserve the fruit’s fresh, pure character, and fermented and barrel-aged separately. After assessing the distinctive personality of each lot, we blend them together to forge a uniquely complex and harmonious wine that speaks eloquently of its provenance.

Vintage

2011 was a challenging vintage. The year began with a wet winter and spring, followed by atypically cool summer weather and several October rainstorms. Not surprisingly, Napa Valley’s grapes took a long time to ripen, resulting in a prolonged harvest. To address the situation, we thinned fruit from our vines to ensure full ripening of the remaining clusters, and sorted meticulously through the grapes at our winery so that only the best berries were sent to the crusher. This reduced our red wine production for the year, but achieved our goal of making characteristically intense, beautifully structured cabernet sauvignons.

Winemaking

Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs traditional artisan winemaking techniques to maximize the extraction of color, flavor and tannin from our Vine Hill Ranch fruit. After the grapes are crushed, the juice from each lot is cold-soaked for 48 hours prior to initiating fermentation with a cultured French yeast strain that enhances texture, depth and intensity. Once fermentation completes, the wines enjoy an extended, three-week maceration on their skins to further extract color and flavor while softening tannins.

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2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Benchland Select

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

This sumptuous, exquisitely structured Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays bright, ripe blackberry, boysenberry and plum fruit aromas mingled with seductive scents of loamy earth and dark chocolate. On the full-bodied, beautifully composed palate, the wine delivers wonderfully fresh, deep and concentrated blackberry and dark plum flavors framed by round, supple tannins and a long, succulent finish enriched by savory cocoa and mocha tones. Dense, lush and seamless, with perfect underlying structure, this delicious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon drinks beautifully now, but will display even greater complexity with another 6-8 years’ aging.

December 06, 2010

96 points

Robert Parker Online

The stunning 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select is a cross-village blend of Oakville and Rutherford fruit. Aromas of graphite, burning embers, crushed rocks/flint, plums, licorice and blackberries are vaguely reminiscent of a top vintage of La Mission-Haut-Brion. Full-bodied, deep, chewy flavors, admirable purity and stunning concentration result in a profound Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 20+ years. Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of this quality rarely exists at this price point.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon with Stuffed Pasilla Chiles

Vineyards

Our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted from several prime vineyard sites in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands. These sites enjoy ideal eastern sun exposures, well-drained soils and mild afternoon temperatures, resulting in uniform fruit ripening and cabernet sauvignons of impressive depth and elegance. In 2007, 54% of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon grapes came from the acclaimed Rutherford appellation, with 46% from its equally esteemed southern neighbor, Oakville. Each lot of grapes was hand-harvested at night to ensure the freshest flavors, and then fermented and aged separately prior to blending.

Vintage

2007 was an exceptional vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. A dry, mild winter and unusually warm spring prompted early budbreak and bloom, followed by a perfect grape set in June. Summer was consistently mild, with warm days and cool nights, an ideal scenario for achieving maximum grape ripening and flavor development while preserving healthy levels of acidity. A warm early September and a modest crop got the harvest off to an early, fast-paced start, allowing us to pick our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at optimal maturity between September 21st and 29th.

Winemaking

To maximize color extraction, tannin structure and vineyard personality, Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs a mixture of small and larger tanks to ferment the components of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Julianne carefully tailors tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques to the attributes of each wine lot, which vary by location, ripeness level and clonal type. Such specialized fermentations, combined with lot-specific barrel aging regimens, ensure that the finest attributes of each vineyard site are reflected in the final blend. Our 2007 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon spent a total of 22 months aging in French oak barrels, 54% new, before bottling in August, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2008 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with vibrant dark fruit aromas (blackberry, boysenberry and dark plum) complemented by seductive spicebox, cocoa, loamy earth and leather scents. Rich, juicy and mouthfilling on the palate with deeply concentrated blackberry and plum flavors, its luxuriously supple mouthfeel and long, elegant finish are abetted by savory toasted oak and dark chocolate tones. Dense, lush and seamless, this opulent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon drinks beautifully now, but will reveal even greater dimension with another 6-8 years’ aging.

December 05, 2011

93 points

Robert Parker Online

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select is made from fruit sourced in Rutherford (57%) and Oakville (43%). Ripe dark fruit, flowers and spices are some of the tones that flow from this supple,
inviting Cabernet. Hints of mocha, spices and espresso develop in the glass, adding further complexity, but this is essentially a fruit-driven Cabernet for early-term enjoyment, and that should not be a problem. This is elegant and finessed from start to finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Thumb_csb_venison_pot_pie

Vineyards

Our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted from two exceptional vineyards in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands, including Jack Cakebread’s Hill Ranch in the heart of the famed Rutherford appellation not far from the winery. These sites enjoy ideal eastern exposures, well-drained soils and mild afternoon temperatures, resulting in uniform fruit ripening and wines of impressive depth and elegance. In 2008, 60% of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon grapes came from the Hill Ranch, with 40% from the esteemed Oakville appellation.

Vintage

The topsy-turvy 2008 growing season seesawed from heavy rains in winter to drought conditions in early spring to severe frosts in late March and throughout April. Coupled with inclement weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the grape crop throughout Napa Valley, greatly concentrating flavors. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, provided ideal conditions for the full maturation of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which were harvested between September 25th and October 11th with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

To maximize color extraction, tannin structure and vineyard expression, Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs a mixture of small and larger tanks to ferment the components of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Julianne carefully tailors tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques to the attributes of each lot of grapes, which vary by location, ripeness level and clonal type. Such specialized fermentations, combined with lot-specific barrel aging regimens, ensure that the finest attributes of each vineyard site are reflected in the final blend. Our 2008 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon spent a total of 22 months in French oak barrels, 48% new, before bottling in August, 2010.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2009 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays a beautifully deep, dark ruby color and a characteristically lavish nose of dense ripe boysenberry, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit mingled with pronounced loam and mocha scents. Full-bodied and lush on the palate, its deeply concentrated boysenberry, blackberry, cassis and dark chocolate flavors have a wonderful freshness and purity that extend into a long, savory finish framed by ripe, supple tannins and sumptuous toasted oak tones. Although this opulent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon drinks beautifully now, it will reveal even greater dimension with another 6-8 years’ aging.

December 31, 2008

92 points

Wine Advocate

The star here is the beautiful 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select. Its dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by aromas of gravelly earth intermixed with notions of lead pencil shavings, blue as well as blackberries, and spice. Medium-bodied with solid yet ripe tannins, good structure, a Bordeaux-like weight, and a clean, pure finish, it displays admirable purity and texture. It will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age, and should drink well for two decades.

October 31, 2013

95 points

Robert Parker Online

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select offers abundant blueberry and black currant fruit intermixed with notions of spring flowers. Deep, rich and full-bodied, it comes across like a great classic Napa Cabernet. Nothing is out of place and the wine has a certain accessibility, but it will not hit its prime for another 5-7 years, and should last for two to three decades, possibly longer.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Lamb and Pistachio Pesto

Vineyards

Our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted from two exceptional vineyards in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands, including Jack Cakebread’s Hill Ranch in the heart of the famed Rutherford appellation not far from the winery. These sites enjoy ideal eastern exposures, well-drained soils and mild afternoon temperatures, resulting in uniform fruit ripening and wines of impressive depth and elegance. In 2009, 80% of our Benchland Select grapes came from the esteemed Oakville appellation, while 20% came from the Hill Ranch in Rutherford.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Napa Valley deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in especially small Cabernet Sauvignon berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, resulting in superbly balanced wines. We harvested the grapes for our 2009 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon between September 29th and October 9th with an ideal balance of ripe fruit flavors, supple tannins and bright acidity.

Winemaking

To maximize color extraction, tannin structure and vineyard expression, Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks employs a mixture of small and larger tanks to ferment the components of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Julianne carefully tailors tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques to the attributes of each lot of grapes, which vary by location, ripeness level and clonal type. Such specialized fermentations, combined with lot-specific barrel aging regimens, ensure that the finest attributes of each vineyard site are reflected in the final blend. Our 2009 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon spent a total of 20 months in French oak barrels, 36% new, before bottling in July, 2011.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a wonderfully fragrant, captivating nose of dark cherry, fig, boysenberry and blackberry enriched by scents of loam, milk chocolate and brown spices. Sumptuous and mouthfilling on the palate with supple tannins and deeply concentrated black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry and plum flavors, this opulent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon culminates in a long, lush finish full of savory chocolate and toasted oak tones. Delicious now, it will develop even greater allure with another 6-8 years of bottle aging.

November 01, 2013

95+ points

Robert Parker Online

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select offers abundant blueberry and black currant fruit intermixed with notions of spring flowers. Deep, rich and full-bodied, it comes across like a great classic Napa Cabernet. Nothing is out of place and the wine has a certain accessibility, but it will not hit its prime for another 5-7 years, and should last for two to three decades, possibly longer.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon with Stuffed Pasilla Chiles

Vineyards

Our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted from two exceptional vineyards in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands, including Jack Cakebread’s Hill Ranch in the heart of the famed Rutherford appellation not far from the winery. These sites enjoy ideal eastern exposures, well-drained soils and mild afternoon temperatures, resulting in uniform fruit ripening and wines that are simultaneously opulent and elegant.

Vintage

2010 was a notably cool growing season in California. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, extending the season and allowing us to harvest our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at full maturity.

Winemaking

In order to maximize color extraction, tannin structure and vineyard expression, we use a mixture of small and larger tanks to ferment the components of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Our winemaker carefully tailors tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques to the attributes of each lot of grapes, which vary by location, ripeness level and clonal type. Such specialized fermentations, combined with lot-specific barrel aging regimens, ensure that the finest attributes of each vineyard are reflected in the final blend. Our 2010 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon spent a total of 19 months aging in French oak barrels, 41% new, prior to bottling in April, 2012.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

This sumptuous Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon offers fragrant aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and ripe fig coupled with seductive loam, leather, dark chocolate and spice scents. Full and well-rounded on the palate, its lavish blackberry, black cherry and dark chocolate flavors are framed by powerful, yet supple tannins and extend into a long, lush finish. Seamlessly structured, with dense, concentrated fruit, this latest edition of our luxurious Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon drinks beautifully now, but will reward another 5-7 years of bottle aging.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with Lamb and Pistachio Pesto

Vineyards

Our 2006 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from two prime vineyard sites in the heart of Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands, with 63% of the grapes coming from the Oakville appellation and 37% from the Rutherford appellation. These sites enjoy ideal eastern exposures, mild afternoon temperatures and well-drained soils, ensuring their fruit ripens slowly and evenly throughout the growing season. We hand-harvest, ferment and age each block separately to capture its unique qualities, then blend the lots to create a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of exceptional fragrance, depth and character.

Vintage

In 2006, a wet spring delayed budbreak and set back vine growth through June. A hot spell in mid-July quickened vine development and sugar accumulation, but August brought a return to cooler temperatures, which persisted through the balance of the growing season. This mild, classic late-summer and early-fall weather pattern allowed for slow, even ripening of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which were harvested between October 23rd and October 25th.

Winemaking

To craft our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks ferments the fruit from each vineyard site separately, employing the tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques best suited to each lot, which vary not only by location and ripeness level, but also by clonal type. These specialized fermentations and the lot-specific barrel aging regimens Julianne employs ensure that the finest attributes of each vineyard site are reflected in the final blend. Our 2006 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon spent a total of 21 months aging in French oak barrels, 47% new, before bottling in July, 2008.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

This rich, suave Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon offers lavish aromas of ripe dark fruits (blackcurrants, blackberry and boysenberry) mingled with loamy earth, dark chocolate, vanilla cream and briary spice scents. Full and lush on the palate, its dense, mouthfilling, black fruit and dark chocolate flavors are framed by fine, ripe tannins, which give the wine a seamless, sumptuous texture and long, savory finish. Beautifully structured, with great reserves of lush, ripe fruit, this luxurious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious now, but will age well for another 7-10 years.

December 31, 2008

92 points

Wine Advocate

The star here is the beautiful 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select. Its dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by aromas of gravelly earth intermixed with notions of lead pencil shavings, blue as well as blackberries, and spice. Medium-bodied with solid yet ripe tannins, good structure, a Bordeaux-like weight, and a clean, pure finish, it displays admirable purity and texture. It will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age, and should drink well for two decades.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon with Stuffed Pasilla Chiles

Vineyards

Our 2005 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon was produced from three prime vineyard sites located along the gently sloping western benchlands of Napa Valley’s Oakville appellation. These sites enjoy ideal eastern exposures, mild afternoon temperatures and well-drained soils, ensuring their fruit ripens slowly and evenly throughout the growing season. We hand-harvest, ferment and age each block separately to capture its unique qualities, then blend the lots to create a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon of exceptional fragrance, depth and character.

Vintage

In 2005, a warm late winter spurred early bud break, but a cool, wet spring set back vine development. Atypically cool temperatures continued throughout most of the summer, which slowed ripening and prolonged the growing season. Warm, sunny weather in September and October, however, brought the harvest to fruition in fine fashion, enabling us to harvest our benchland grapes at perfect ripeness between October 15th and 17th.

Winemaking

To craft our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks ferments the fruit from each vineyard site separately, employing the tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques best suited to each lot, which vary not only by location and ripeness level, but also by clonal type. These specialized fermentations and the lot-specific barrel aging regimens Julianne employs ensure that the finest attributes of each vineyard site are reflected in the final blend. The 2005 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon aged a total of 21 months in French oak barrels, 38% new, before bottling in July, 2007.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2001 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon offers a seductive aroma of perfectly ripened black fruits laden with scents of black figs, chocolate and smoky, toasty oak. On the palate, the wine delivers opulent, mouth-filling, ripe blackberry and black plum flavors balanced by firm tannins and crisp natural acidity. This lavishly flavored Napa Valley Cabernet, packed with deep, lush fruit, is delicious to drink now, but will handsomely repay 7-10 years of cellaring.

November 15, 2005

92 points

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

The big 01's are still rolling out. This one's very fine and Oakville-y, showing well-oaked, lush black currant and cassis fruit, with aq cocoa finish. It has soft, intricately sweet tannins. It's quite delicious now, but seems balanced enough to age through the medium term. Drink before 2010.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon with Stuffed Pasilla Chiles

Vineyards

The grapes for our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon come from two outstanding vineyards in the Oakville (55%) and Rutherford (45%) appellations of Napa Valley. Both are located in the benchlands of the Mayacamas Mountain Range, on the western side of the valley. The eastern exposures of these gently sloping, well-shaded hillside vineyards allow the grapes to mature at a slow, even pace, and their gravelly loam soils provide excellent drainage, permitting a precise calibration of the amount of water required to nourish the vines. Because of the superb quality of these vineyards, we’ve used them since 1995 to produce our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon bottling. In 2001, we harvested the fruit at full ripeness between October 4th and October 10th.

Vintage

The 2001 vintage was a bit of a roller coaster ride. A warm March led to early bud break, followed by April frosts that reduced the crop in some north coast regions. May and June were warm, ensuring a healthy bloom and grape set, but the weather turned cool in July. A brief mid-August heat spell reignited the ripening process, which slowed again with cool weather in late August and early September. Fortunately, a classic California Indian summer ensued, bringing the harvest to fruition in October with a moderate crop of fully ripened, small-berried Cabernet Sauvignon grapes blessed with ripe, intense flavors.

Winemaking

After the grapes were crushed, the unfermented juice and skins (must) were cold-soaked in tank for two days prior to fermentation to enhance color and flavor extraction. After fermentation commenced, the juice was drained from one stainless steel tank to another and back again (a technique known as rack-and-return), to foster even more color and flavor extraction and encourage the formation of the phenolic compounds that produce smoother tannins. After fermentation completed, the juice and skins were allowed to macerate for an additional 3.5 weeks, with daily pumpovers, to further extract flavor and soften tannins. The wine was then pressed and transferred to French oak barrels, 75% new, where it aged 23 months prior to bottling in August 2003.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2000 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays an elegance that derives from the loamy soils and afternoon cooling enjoyed by vineyards located in the western hills of Napa Valley. It exhibits a deep, dark ruby color with a rich, complex aroma of ripe black fruits, cedar, dusty chocolate, tar and leather. On the palate, the wine is round and supple, with soft, rich, dark fruit flavors of black cherries and cassis mixed with hints of chocolate. Although this wine will reward several years of additional bottle age, it is delicious to drink now.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon with Stuffed Pasilla Chiles

Vineyards

Fruit for the Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon comes from two outstanding vineyards in the Oakville and Rutherford appellations, both located in the rolling hills, or benchlands, of the Mayacamas Mountain Range, on the western side of Napa Valley. The eastern exposures of these gently sloping, well-shaded hillside vineyards allow the grapes to mature at a slow, even pace, and their gravelly loam soils provide excellent drainage, permitting a precise calibration of the amount of water required to nourish the vines. As a result of their superb quality, we’ve highlighted these magnificent vineyards since 1995 in our Benchland Select bottling, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Vintage

The 2000 growing season in Napa Valley was atypically cool, which resulted in the grapes for our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon ripening slowly and evenly before being harvested at optimum maturity between September 27th and October 19th. With the exception of a brief heat spell in June, the valley experienced cool summer temperatures and an early fall. Combined with a few days of light rain in September, these conditions kept the grapes fresh, maintained high levels of acidity, and allowed the fruit extended “hang time” on the vine, which produced deep colors and ripe, bright flavors. While the crop size was healthy, the clusters themselves were small, as were the berries, ensuring impressively concentrated cabernet flavors in the grapes.

Winemaking

After the grapes were crushed, the unfermented juice and skins (must) were cold-soaked in tank for three days at 52 degrees prior to fermentation to enhance extraction of color and flavor. After fermentation commenced, the juice was drained from one stainless steel tank to another, and back again (a technique known as rack-and-return), to foster even more color and flavor extraction and encourage the formation of the phenolic compounds that produce smoother tannins. After fermentation completed and the juice and skins were allowed to macerate for an additional few weeks, the wine was pressed and transferred to French oak barrels, three-quarters new, where it aged for 26 months prior to bottling in December 2002.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 1999 Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select is a stunning example of the power and beauty of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. If the deep, dark ruby color isn’t enticing enough, then the rich aromas of ripe black cherries, dusty chocolate and cedar certainly will be. On the palate, ripe, dark fruit flavors of cherry, blueberry and cassis mix with hints of chocolate and dried herbs. Supple tannins and a long, smooth finish are the final rewards.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon with Stuffed Pasilla Chiles

Vineyards

Our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon is made from specially selected vineyards planted on the rolling hillsides, or benchlands, of the Mayacamas Mountains on the Napa Valley’s western side. An eastern exposure, which provides for slightly cooler temperatures, combined with well-drained gravelly loam soils creates the perfect environment for growing slow-ripening, high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. For this reason, since 1995, we’ve chosen to highlight these magnificent vineyard sources in this enticing 100% varietal blend.

Vintage

At Cakebread Cellars, we find that each growing season is unique. 1999 was certainly no exception; it turned out to be the coolest season of the decade. The season kicked into gear with a long, cold winter, followed by a moderate spring. Bud break came in late March and early April, with bloom complete by early June, a week earlier than the previous year. A cool, dry summer resulted in a rather late harvest, with 124 days from bloom to harvest. This extra “hang time” allowed the grapes to reach optimum ripeness. Additionally, due to rain during bloom in 1998, the 1999 yields were extremely low. The end results were wines with deep color and an excellent balance of fruit and tannins.

Winemaking

Cakebread’s winemaker, Julianne Laks, uses a variety of techniques to create our signature red wines. For starters, she keeps all vineyard lots separate prior to blending so that she can monitor their individual progress. She then can pick and choose the best lots from the Benchland vineyards to create the final blend. Additionally, she cold soaks the juice and skins (must) prior to fermentation to intensify color and flavors and racks the wine from tank to tank during fermentation to stimulate the production of phenolic compounds that help to balance and round out the wine’s tannins. Four weeks of extended maceration and daily tastings also aid in crafting the most well rounded wine possible. Aging in 80% new French oak for 26 months prior to bottling adds another layer of complexity to the wine.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The resulting wine reflects the exceptional quality of the fruit sourced from three select vineyards in the Napa Valley’s western foothills; including Jack and Dolores Cakebread’s own “Hill Ranch.” The 1998 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays aromas of an intense red fruit character and the spiciness of mocha, cocoa and nutmeg. The flavors seamlessly echo those of its aromas, showing a soft, elegant wine that offers plenty of ripe fruit with a lingering balance of vanilla, cedar and supple, well-integrated tannins.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

Our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon is made from specially selected vineyards planted on the rolling hillsides, or benchlands, of the Mayacamas Mountains on the Napa Valley’s western side. An eastern exposure, which provides for slightly cooler temperatures, combined with well-drained gravelly loam soils creates the perfect environment for growing slow-ripening, high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. For this reason, since 1995, we’ve chosen to highlight these magnificent vineyard sources in this enticing 100% varietal blend.

Vintage

The 1998 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon represents the fourth vintage of this wine. It was produced with fruit specifically selected from the gently rolling foothills (or “benchlands”) of the Mayacamas Mountains on the western side of the Napa Valley. The vineyards’ eastern exposure offers cooler temperatures that allow the grapes to mature slowly while the gravelly loam soil provides excellent drainage.

Winemaking

Our winemaking regimen for the Benchland Select included using the “rack and return” process of draining the fermenting juice off the skins and then returning it to the stainless steel tanks. This procedure greatly reduces the young wine’s astringency by softening its tannins while deepening its dark color. As the wine was fermented dry, it was taste-tested for optimum flavor levels before it was separated from the skins and then aged for twenty-six months in a combination of new (65%) and one year old (35%) French oak barrels.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2004 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays forward, fragrant aromas of concentrated blackcurrant, blackberry and black plum fruit with fascinating secondary scents of cocoa powder, hazelnuts, earth and warm spices. On the densely packed palate, rich black fruit, dark chocolate and briary spice flavors are framed by supple, elegant tannins, leading to a long, savory finish. With a firm, deep structure and great reserves of lush, ripe fruit, this well-endowed Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will drink deliciously for another 7-10 years.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our 2004 Napa Valley Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon, which contains 3% Syrah, came from several prime hillside vineyards in the Oakville and Rutherford appellations, including our own Hill Ranch in Rutherford. Situated along Napa’s gently sloping western benchlands, these superb sites enjoy ideal eastern exposures (resulting in cooler afternoon temperatures) and well-drained soils, allowing their grapes to mature at a slow, even pace. We hand-harvest, ferment and age each vineyard block separately to optimize its distinctive character, then blend the lots to create a Cabernet Sauvignon of exceptional fragrance, depth and character.

Vintage

In 2004, an unusually balmy late winter, consistently warm spring and summer temperatures, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in the earliest Cabernet Sauvignon harvest in Napa Valley in over 20 years. The early budbreak, combined with light crop loads, produced grape clusters with small berries and intense, concentrated flavors, resulting in wines of great depth, intensity and structure. The grapes for our 2004 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested between September 4th and September 8th.

Winemaking

We fermented the fruit from each vineyard site separately, using the tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques best suited to each lot. During fermentation and maceration (the period after fermentation when the juice and skins remain in contact), winemaker Julianne Laks daily assessed color, flavor and tannin extraction. After draining the wine off the skins, the 2004 Benchland Select was aged for a total of 22 months in French oak barrels, 48% new, selected to maximize the wine’s character, development and expression of terroir. It was bottled in August, 2006.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2003 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays a warm, inviting aroma of coffee, dark chocolate and ripe black fruits, with subtle hints of earth, tar and sweet oak. Plump and round on the palate, it offers lush, broad flavors of black figs, currants, plums and chocolate, balanced by supple tannins and a long, luxurious finish. Precocious, yet beautifully structured, this plush, generous Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious to drink now, but will handsomely reward another 7-10 years of cellaring.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our 2003 Benchland Select Napa Valley, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, came from vineyards in Oakville (75%) and Rutherford (25%) that lie on Napa’s gently sloping western benchlands. The eastern exposures of these well-drained hillside vineyards enjoy cooler afternoons than many Napa vineyards, allowing the grapes to mature at a slow, even pace. Each vineyard block is hand-harvested and the fruit processed separately to maximize its singular character, enabling us to craft a blend boasting an exceptional concentration of color, fragrance and flavor. In 2003, the grapes were harvested at optimal ripeness between October 16th and 21st.

Vintage

In 2003, a warm early spring gave way to cool, wet weather in April, which set back vine development. Seasonally temperate weather prevailed from May through July, but a cool pattern returned in August, delaying ripening. By early September, warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights were again the norm, and hot weather during the latter half of September sent us scurrying to harvest early-ripening varieties. October, however, brought classic autumn weather, with crisp mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings, which extended the harvest by several weeks, enabling us to harvest our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at ideal sugar levels. Red wines from the topsy-turvy 2003 harvest are rich and deeply colored, with excellent concentration and balance.

Winemaking

The fruit from each vineyard was processed separately, so we could employ the tank size, yeast strain, fermentation temperature, and maceration technique best suited to each lot. During fermentation and maceration, the wine was tasted daily to assess color and flavor extraction and tannin levels. The 2003 Benchland Select was aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, with the barrels for each lot carefully selected to maximize that wine’s character, development and expression of terroir prior to blending. The finished wine was bottled in August, 2005.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2002 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays a complex, seductive aroma of ripe blackberry and plum fruit augmented by scents of tar, coffee and sweet oak. On the palate, the wine is full-textured and lush, with rich plum, black fig and cocoa flavors supported by smooth tannins. Boasting excellent structure and balance, this delicious Napa Valley Cabernet is delightful to drink now, but will handsomely repay another 7-10 years of cellaring.

Pairs well with rich beef, pork or lamb dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Vineyards

The grapes for our Napa Valley Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon, which in 2002 was blended with 14% Malbec, come from vineyards in Oakville and Rutherford that lie on Napa’s western benchlands, with 50% issuing from Cakebread Cellars' estate vineyards. The eastern exposures of these gently sloping, well-shaded hillside vineyards allow the grapes to mature at a slow, even pace, which results in wines with optimal color, fragrance and flavor intensity. In 2002, we harvested the fruit at full ripeness between September 16th and October 8th.

Vintage

In 2002, Napa Valley enjoyed a long, mild growing season of consistently warm days and cool nights, with just a few manageable heat spikes in late September and early October. With an expectation of healthy yields, many growers significantly thinned their crops and pruned shoots and leaves extensively to guarantee the vines put all their energy into ripening the remaining grape clusters, ensuring highly concentrated, complex fruit flavors. Cakebread Cellars further maximized grape quality by using advanced soil moisture management techniques to precisely calibrate the amount of water required by the vines at critical junctures throughout the season.

Winemaking

After the grapes were crushed, the “must” (unfermented juice and skins) was cold soaked in tank for two days to enhance color and flavor extraction. Once fermentation begins, the temperature is carefully monitored and adjusted to control the rate of fermentation, as well as keeping favorable conditions for the yeast. The “cap” of skins that forms at the top of the tank is dispersed throughout the fermenting juice for optimal tannin extraction during a procedure called “pumpover” (sprinkling juice over the cap). Another technique called “rack and return” where the juice is drained and returned back over the cap thoroughly macerates juice and skins and helps to soften tannins. The winemaker tastes the wine daily to assess tannin levels, wine texture and mouthfeel. When the wine shows good fruit intensity, and is balanced with ripe tannin, the wine is gently drawn off of the skins as “freerun”. The “freerun” was transferred to French oak barrels, of which 55% are new, where it aged 20 months prior to bottling in April 2004.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Lavish dark cherry, boysenberry, blackberry and blackcurrant aromas, complemented by intriguing loam, mocha and toasty oak scents, introduce our 2011 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Smooth and round on the palate, with wonderfully soft tannins, its plush boysenberry, blackberry, black fig and ripe cherry flavors take on savory earth, chocolate, mineral and toasted oak tones in the wine’s long, fruitful finish.

View recipes that complement this wine

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Vineyards

Our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted from two exceptional vineyards in Napa Valley’s gently sloping western benchlands, including Jack Cakebread’s Hill Ranch in the heart of the famed Rutherford appellation not far from the winery. These sites enjoy ideal eastern exposures, well-drained soils and mild afternoon temperatures, resulting in uniform fruit ripening and wines that are simultaneously opulent and elegant.

Vintage

2011 was a challenging vintage. The year began with a wet winter and spring, followed by atypically cool summer weather and several October rainstorms. Not surprisingly, our Napa Valley grapes ripened slowly, resulting in a prolonged harvest. To address the situation, we thinned fruit from our vines to ensure full ripening of the remaining clusters and sorted meticulously through the grapes at the winery so that only the best berries were sent to the crusher. This helped achieve our goal of making a characteristically layered and opulent Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaking

In order to maximize color extraction, tannin structure and vineyard expression, we use a mix of small and larger tanks to ferment the components of our Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon. Our winemaker, Julianne Laks, carefully tailors tank sizes, yeast strains, fermentation temperatures and maceration techniques to the attributes of each lot of grapes, which vary by location, ripeness level and clonal type. Such specialized fermentations, combined with lot-specific barrel aging regimens, ensure that the finest attributes of each vineyard are reflected in the final blend. Our 2011 Benchland Select spent a total of 19 months aging in French oak barrels, 45% new, prior to bottling in July, 2013.

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2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
Dancing Bear Ranch

Howell Mountain

  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002

Quantity is limited. Call the winery at (800) 588 - 0298

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2010 Dancing Bear presents a nose of dense, earthy, ripe black fruits – primarily blackberry and dark plum – complemented by cocoa, anise, pepper and Asian spice scents. Beautifully structured on the palate, its rich, deeply concentrated, boysenberry, fig, mountain spice and dark chocolate flavors are framed by fine-grained tannins and culminate in a long, spicy finish featuring savory oak, blackberry and mineral tones. Aged 19 months in 39% new French oak, this youthful mountain Cabernet is delicious now with hearty foods, but will develop even greater dimension and complexity over the next decade.

November 01, 2013

96+ points

Wine Advocate

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch is a Howell Mountain blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Merlot. This prodigious 2010 tastes like a cross between a great Napa Cab and a top-notch Chateau Latour (no joke!). Wonderful notes of graphite, crushed rock, black currants and blackberries as well as stunning purity, terrific precision and a full-bodied mouthfeel that lingers for 50+ seconds make for a modern day classic. This iconic wine should last 30 or more years.

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Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Dancing Bear Ranch Bordeaux Blend with NY Strip Steak

Vineyards

Our high-elevation Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley yields small, intensely flavored berries with excellent tannin and acidity levels. This is especially true in cool vintages like 2010, which accentuate the fruit’s unique, high-toned mountain character. To ensure the grapes reach full physiological maturity, we carefully manage the crop on each vine for optimal ripening and flavor development. Planted on steep hillsides reaching elevations over 1,800 feet, these hardy vines are rooted in well-drained volcanic soils and enjoy excellent sun exposure, prompting their fruit to ripen earlier in the season than do our valley floor grapes.

Vintage

2010 was a notably cool growing season in California. The year began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started full ripening. Cooler temperatures returned in early September, extending the season and allowing us to harvest our Dancing Bear grapes with an optimal balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

The challenge in crafting Dancing Bear is to fully capture the intense mountain character of the fruit without extracting overly aggressive tannins. Winemaker Julianne Laks' approach is to carefully monitor tannin levels in the juice and wine during fermentation and maceration. After the component lots of the 2010 Dancing Bear achieve an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wines are drained from their skins and transferred to French oak barrels. In all, the 2010 vintage spent 19 months in barrel, 39% new, prior to bottling in April, 2012.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The nose of our 2009 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon offers the pure, high-toned, deeply concentrated aromas we have come to associate with this wine: ripe dark cherry, boysenberry, blackberry and plum fruit complemented by subtle earth, floral spice, forest floor and cocoa tones. In the mouth, the wine is rich, deep and juicy with mouthfilling dark cherry, boysenberry, cassis, plum and cedar flavors that take on a pronounced brambly spice tone in the remarkably long, savory finish. While this vintage of Dancing Bear is precociously forward in its youth, its superb structure and deep, expansive fruit suggest it will develop beautifully in bottle for at least a decade.

January 07, 2013

90 points

California Grapevine

Medium-dark ruby; attractive, forward, relatively herbal, dark cherry and dark berry fruit aroma with hints of green olive and cocoa; full body; big, rich, textured, cedary, cassis and dark fruit flavors with a pleasing mouthfeel; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very approachable now with precocious rich fruit and well controlled tannin. Very highly recommended.

April 30, 2013

91 points

Wine Spectator

A pleasantly rustic and rugged red, with savory herb, espresso, dried berry, and crushed rock flavors woven among gutsy tannins. A textbook Howell Mountain, showing excellent length. Drink now through 2024. Wine Spectator Magazine as rated our 2009 Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain with 91 points.

Pair with steak, braised meats, ribs or roasts.
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Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Dancing Bear Ranch with Caramelized Onion, Walnut Biscuits with Blue Cheese Butter

Vineyards

The grapevines in our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in eastern Napa Valley are planted on steep hillsides reaching elevations over 1,800 feet. These hardy vines are rooted in well-drained volcanic soils and enjoy excellent sun exposure, prompting their fruit to ripen earlier in the harvest season than do our valley floor vineyards. To ensure the grapes reach full physiological maturity, we carefully manage the crop load on each vine for optimal ripening and flavor development. The blend changes each year; the 2009 Dancing Bear Ranch is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon (representing four different clonal selections) and 6% Cabernet Franc.

Vintage

In 2009, plentiful spring rains in Napa Valley deferred the need for early irrigation, resulting in small berries with deeply concentrated flavors. Summer was consistently cool, which allowed for slow, steady ripening and the parallel development of grape sugars and flavors, resulting in superbly balanced wines. We harvested the grapes for the 2009 Dancing Bear Ranch between October 2nd and 5th with a superb balance of ripe fruit flavors, supple tannins and bright acidity.

Winemaking

The challenge for Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks in crafting our Dancing Bear Ranch is to fully capture the intense mountain character of the fruit without extracting overly aggressive tannins. Julianne’s approach is to carefully monitor tannin levels in the juice and wine during fermentation and maceration. After the component lots of the 2009 Dancing Bear Ranch had achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wines were drained from their skins and transferred to French oak barrels, 41% new, for aging. In all, the 2009 vintage spent 20 months in barrel prior to bottling in July, 2011.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2007 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon displays the intriguing dance of intensity and elegance that has become this mountain wine’s trademark. High-toned aromas of freshly crushed boysenberries, dark cherries and forest-floor spice (imagine walking in a pine forest after a light summer rainfall) introduce a big, dense, tightly wound palate packed with marvelously rich and concentrated black cherry, boysenberry and blackberry flavors, which are enhanced by savory clove, cocoa and vanilla tones. Beautifully structured and with great reserves of intense fruit supported by round, beautifully integrated tannins, this dramatic mountain red will delight wine lovers now and over the next decade.

December 06, 2010

91 points

Robert Parker Online

The dense purple-colored 2007 Dancing Bear Ranch Proprietary Red reveals more chocolate fudge and coffee notes. It does not have the nuances or complexity of the Benchland Select or the sheer joy of the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, but there is a lot going on in this cuvee. Slightly monolithic, it is well-endowed, rich and full, so my rating may be slightly conservative.

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Thumb_csd_heirloom_summerbeanstew

Vineyards

Now a decade old, the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines in our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in eastern Napa Valley are coming into their own. Hugging steep hillsides at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,900 feet, these hardy vines are rooted in well-drained volcanic soils and enjoy excellent sun exposure, prompting their fruit to ripen earlier in the harvest season than do our valley floor vineyards. To ensure the grapes reach full physiological maturity, we carefully manage the crop load on each vine for optimal ripening and flavor development. The 2007 Dancing Bear Ranch is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc.

Vintage

2007 was an exceptional red wine vintage in Napa Valley. A dry, mild winter and unusually warm spring prompted early budbreak and bloom, followed by a perfect grape set in June. Summer was consistently mild, with warm days and cool nights, ideal conditions for achieving maximum ripening and flavor development while retaining healthy levels of acidity. A warm early September and a modest crop got the harvest off to an early, fast-paced start, allowing us to pick our Dancing Bear Ranch grapes in perfect condition between September 14th and 27th.

Winemaking

The trio of red Bordeaux varieties in our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain presents Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks with both challenges and opportunities. The primary challenge is to capture the intense mountain character of the fruit without extracting overly assertive tannins, which Julianne addresses through constant monitoring of the juice and wine during fermentation and maceration. One opportunity is to co-ferment a portion of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to soften the former’s tannin and enhance complexity, a technique utilized in 2007. After all the component lots of the 2007 Dancing Bear Ranch had achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wines were drained from their skins and transferred to barrels for aging prior to blending in spring 2008. In all, the 2007 vintage spent 22 months in French oak, 47% new, before being bottled in August, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

The 2008 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon delights the senses with heady, deeply concentrated and wonderfully complex aromas of black plum, crushed boysenberry, ripe olallieberry, fig, earth, baking spices and chocolate. On the dense, weighty palate, the wine delivers intense, mouthfilling, blackberry, black cherry, boysenberry and forest-floor spice flavors supported by supple, chewy tannins and a long, mouth-coating finish enriched by dark chocolate and toasted oak tones. Big and youthful with layers of intensely concentrated flavors, this dramatic mountain red drinks well now, but it will continue to evolve and become complex in bottle over the next decade.

December 05, 2011

93 points

Robert Parker Online

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch, from a vineyard on Howell Mountain, is the darkest and deepest of these offerings from Cakebread. Sweet grilled herbs, flowers, oak and raspberry jam are some of the nuances that emerge from this vivid, textured wine. It possesses striking inner perfume and fabulous balance from start to finish. This is all power and class. In 2008 the final blend includes 5% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.

August 06, 2012

91 points

Wine Spectator

Tight and well-built, offering a dense mix of dried currant, blackberry, cedar and tobacco flavors, with just enough flesh. Ends with firm, chewy tannins and good length. Drink now through 2025. 1,800 cases made.

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Thumb_csd_ny_strip_steak_tapendade_butter

Vineyards

In 2008, the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines in our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in eastern Napa Valley reached their 10th year, attaining a level of maturity that ensures consistently excellent, complex wines. Hugging steep hillsides at elevations ranging from 1,100 to 1,813 feet, these hardy vines are rooted in well-drained volcanic soils and enjoy excellent sun exposure, prompting their fruit to ripen earlier in the harvest season than do our valley floor vineyards. To ensure the grapes reach full physiological maturity, we carefully manage the crop load on each vine for optimal ripening and flavor development. The blend changes each year; the 2008 Dancing Bear Ranch is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Vintage

The topsy-turvy 2008 growing season seesawed from heavy winter rains to early spring drought to severe frosts in late March and throughout April. Coupled with inclement weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the grape crop throughout Napa Valley, greatly concentrating flavors. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, provided ideal conditions for fully maturing our Dancing Bear Ranch grapes, which were harvested on October 1st with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

With Dancing Bear Ranch, the challenge for Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks is to capture the intense mountain character of its fruit without extracting overly aggressive tannins. Julianne’s approach is to constantly monitor tannin levels in the juice and wine during fermentation and maceration. She also co-ferments a portion of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to soften the former’s tannins and enhance the wine’s complexity, a technique used successfully in 2008. After all the component lots of the 2008 Dancing Bear Ranch had achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wines were drained from their skins and transferred to barrel for aging prior to blending in spring, 2009. In all, the 2008 vintage spent 21 months in French oak, 45% new, before being bottled in August, 2010.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Showcasing the interplay of intensity and elegance that is Dancing Bear Ranch’s trademark, the 2006 edition of our Howell Mountain red entices with perfumed aromas of ripe black fruits, forest-floor spice, and rich fig and chocolate tones. On the beautifully structured palate, the wine delivers intensely concentrated blackberry, black currant, wild cherry and ripe fig flavors balanced by firm acidity and round, silky tannins. Built for aging and with a deep core of fruit that unfolds in a lengthy, spice-and-mineral tinged finish, this dramatic mountain red makes compelling drinking now, yet its tight-knit structure argues for another 7-10 years of bottle age.

December 04, 2009

90+ points

Wine Advocate

The outstanding 2006 Dancing Bear Ranch Proprietary Red (79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc) is a medium-bodied, elegant Cabernet-based wine with a dense purple color as well as a sweet bouquet of loamy soil, crushed rock, black currant, plum, licorice, and a hint of subtle, well-integrated new oak. Approachable now, this 2006 promises to evolve for 12-15+ years. Drink: 2009 - 2024.

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Thumb_csd_pancetta_wrapped_lamb_loin

Vineyards

Our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in eastern Napa Valley is planted to classic red Bordeaux varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon predominating. Hugging steep slopes at elevations ranging from 1,800 to 2,200 feet, the vineyard is named for the omnivorous black bear that has long enjoyed feasting on our mountain grapes as they approach ripeness. Fortunately, our ursine friend leaves behind enough fruit for us to craft this classic Napa Valley mountain red, which in 2006 is a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc.

Vintage

In 2006, a wet spring delayed budbreak and set back vine growth through June. A hot spell in mid-July quickened vine development and sugar accumulation, but August brought a return to cooler temperatures, which persisted through the balance of the growing season. This mild, classic late-summer and early-fall weather pattern allowed for slow, even ripening of our Dancing Bear Ranch grapes, which were harvested between September 30th and October 2nd.

Winemaking

The terroir of our Howell Mountain estate vineyard produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes with deep color, bright acidity and full tannic flavor. As a result, our winemaking goal is to capture Dancing Bear Ranch’s intense fruit character without extracting overly aggressive tannins. During fermentation and maceration, winemaker Julianne Laks carefully monitors the ‘cap’ of skins at the top of the fermenting tank, whose contact with the juice determines the degree of tannin extraction. When she believes the wine has achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wine is drained from the skins and transferred to French oak for aging. The 2006 Dancing Bear Ranch was aged for a total of 26 months in barrel, 60% new, before being bottled in April, 2009.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Reflecting its mountain terroir, our 2005 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon displays fresh, high-toned floral aromas mingled with ripe, spicy, brambleberry fruit tones and earthy/truffle-y scents. (Julianne compares the aroma to walking through a forest after a warm summer rain). In the mouth, the wine is intense and concentrated, with a core of beautifully pure wild cherry fruit, yet its texture is supple and elegant. Beautifully structured and amazingly focused, it culminates in a long, savory finish full of rich dark chocolate and mineral tones. While Dancing Bear Ranch is tantalizingly delicious now, it will evolve beautifully in bottle over the next 8-10 years.

July 14, 2008

92 points

Wine Spectator

Offers wonderful harmony, finesse and balance, with rich, ripe, supple tiers of spice, currant, black cherry and plummy Cabernet fruit that's pure, focused and long on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2015.
Wine Spectator gave this wine a score of 92 points.

Pair with steak, braised meats, ribs or roasts.
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Vineyards

Planted in 1999 to red Bordeaux varieties, our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in eastern Napa Valley has come of age, as evidenced by this exceptional 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Hugging steep slopes at elevations ranging from 1,800 to 2,200 feet, the vineyard is named for the omnivorous black bear that has long enjoyed feasting on our mountain grapes as they approach ripeness. Fortunately, our ursine friend leaves behind enough fruit for us to craft this classic Napa Valley mountain red, which in 2005 contains 6% Cabernet Franc.

Vintage

In 2005, a warm late winter spurred early bud break, but cool, wet, spring weather set back vine development. Atypically cool temperatures continued throughout the summer, which slowed ripening and prolonged the growing season. Fortunately, warm, sunny weather in September and October brought the harvest to fruition in fine fashion. Due to the early start to the season and its late conclusion, the grapes for our 2005 Dancing Bear Cabernet Sauvignon enjoyed a long hang time on the vines, with harvest occurring between October 12th and 18th.

Winemaking

Our 2005 Dancing Bear incorporates two distinctive clonal selections of Cabernet Sauvignon: Clone 4 and Clone 7. These clones, and the terroir of our Howell Mountain estate vineyard, produce Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with deep color, bright acidity and more tannin than our valley-grown fruit. As a result, we strive to capture Dancing Bear Ranch’s intense fruit character without extracting overly aggressive tannins. During fermentation and maceration, winemaker Julianne Laks carefully monitors the ‘cap’ of skins at the top of the fermenting tank, whose contact with the juice determines the degree of tannin extraction. When she believes the wine has achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wine is drained from the skins and transferred to French oak barrels for aging. The 2005 Dancing Bear Ranch was aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, prior to bottling in July, 2007.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

True to its mountain provenance, our 2004 Dancing Bear Cabernet Sauvignon boasts intense, complex, high-toned aromas of Bing cherry, brambleberry and spicy dark plum fruit mingled with enticing floral, sage, tobacco, chocolate, earth and mineral scents. Incredibly pure and focused on the palate, its beautifully structured wild cherry, ripe fig, spicy black fruit and dark chocolate flavors reveal a pronounced minerality in the wine’s long, persistent finish. Delicious now with grilled steaks, venison, and hearty stews, this wonderfully rich, complex, chiseled mountain Cabernet Sauvignon will handsomely repay long-term cellaring.

Pair with steak, braised meats, ribs or roasts.
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Vineyards

Our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain in eastern Napa Valley, perched at an elevation between 1800 and 2200 feet, is named for the omnivorous black bear who likes to feast on our mountain grapes as they approach ripeness. Fortunately, as the bear dances down the vine rows munching grape clusters, he leaves enough behind for us to craft this classic Napa Valley mountain red, a Bordeaux-style blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

Vintage

In 2004, an unusually balmy late winter, consistently warm spring and summer temperatures, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in the earliest Cabernet Sauvignon harvest in Napa Valley since 1981. The early budbreak, combined with light crop loads, produced grape clusters with small berries and intense, concentrated flavors, resulting in wines of great depth, concentration and structure. Our Dancing Bear grapes were harvested between September 6th and 16th with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity.

Winemaking

Our Howell Mountain grapes possess deeper color, higher acidity and more tannin than our valley-grown fruit. As a result, our winemaking approach with Dancing Bear is to capture the distinctive, intense character of the fruit without extracting overly aggressive tannins. To do so, we carefully monitor fermentation temperatures and the ‘cap’ of skins at the top of the fermenting tank, whose contact with the juice determines the degree of tannin extraction. Winemaker Julianne Laks carefully manages these processes during fermentation and maceration (the period after fermentation when the wine remains in contact with the grape skins), tasting the wine daily to assess tannin levels and ‘mouth-feel’. When Julianne senses the wine has achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, we drain the free run wine from the skins (no ‘press wine’ is used) and transfer it to French oak barrels for aging. The 2004 Dancing Bear was aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 45% new, prior to bottling in August, 2006.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2003 Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon displays a wonderfully complex aroma of sweet black fruits (currant, plum and blackberry) mingled with notes of chocolate, clove and ginger. The wine’s rich flavors are juicy, deep and long, with a spicy/herbal tone that evolves into an intriguing tea-leaf spiciness in the wine’s long, satisfying finish. The firm tannins and youthfully compact structure of this lovely Bordeaux-style red, a classic mountain wine, argue for extended cellaring, although it provides great pleasure now when decanted and paired with grilled steaks marinated in a zesty pepper sauce.

Pair with steak, braised meats, ribs or roasts.
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Vineyards

The grapes for our Dancing Bear Ranch on Howell Mountain were planted in 2000. With elevations from 1,800 to 2,200 feet above sea level, this 200 acre ranch is planted to approximately 27 acres of vineyard. It is owned by the Cakebread family. The vineyard has 5 different soil types, 10 vineyard sections with different sun exposures and features steep, rocky, volcanic soils. Because of its remote location it also has a wonderful myriad of wildlife. We named it for a black bear that has developed a taste for our elegant wine grapes. Fortunately, the bears leave enough fruit behind for us to craft this distinctive, Bordeaux-style red, a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. In 2003, the grapes were harvested between September 24th and October 14th with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity.

Vintage

In 2003, a warm early spring gave way to cool, wet weather in April, which set back vine development. Seasonally temperate weather prevailed from May through July, but a cool pattern returned in August, delaying ripening. By early September, warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights were again the norm, although late September included a few torrid days that sent us scurrying to harvest early-ripening varieties. Fortunately, October ushered in classic autumn weather, with crisp mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings extending the harvest by several weeks and enabling us to pick our Dancing Bear Ranch grapes at ideal sugar levels.

Winemaking

Our Howell Mountain grapes have a higher acidity and typically more tannins and deeper color than most other vineyards. Consequently, it’s important that we capture the special, intense qualities of this mountain fruit without extracting harsh, aggressive tannins. We do this by carefully monitoring fermentation temperatures and the ‘cap’ of skins at the top of the fermenting tank, whose contact with the juice determines tannin and flavor extraction. Winemaker Julianne Laks carefully manages these processes, including the number of ‘pumpover’ (sprinkling juice over the cap) and ‘rack and-return’ procedures (draining and refilling a tank to thoroughly macerate juice and skins and soften tannins). During fermentation and maceration, she tastes the wine daily to assess tannin levels and ‘mouth-feel’. When she feels it has achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run juice is drained from the skins and transferred to French oak barrels for aging. (The juice subsequently pressed from the skins is not used in the blend.) The 2003 Dancing Bear Ranch was aged 22 months in French barrels before bottling in August 2005.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2002 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is an impressively rich, concentrated red wine with tremendous depth of flavor. The nose reveals sweet vanilla oak tones, ripe, extracted blackberry fruit with hints of cocoa and mocha, and scents of wild herbs such as mint and lavender. In the mouth, the wine is rich and powerful, with deep, intense, blackberry fruit that has a decidedly chocolate-y edge and extends into a very long, lush finish bolstered by firm, well-integrated tannins. This voluptuous Napa Valley cabernet, reflecting its mountain origins, is delicious to drink now with grilled red meats or flavorful cheeses, but should age beautifully in bottle for another 6-8 years.

Pair with steak, braised meats, ribs or roasts.
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Vineyards

Ranging in elevation between 1,800 and 2,200 feet and boasting wonderfully rocky, volcanic soils, our Dancing Bear Ranch vineyard enjoys slightly warmer, drier conditions than our valley floor vineyards, while benefiting from cool evening breezes and fog, which help maintain good acidity in the grapes. These conditions result in small-berried grape clusters with distinctive, concentrated flavors. In 2002, the grapes were harvested, with near-perfect chemistry, on September 18th and 19th.

Vintage

In 2002, an early April frost and May rains gave way to a mild summer with ideal growing conditions: warm days and cool, sometimes cold, nights. Warm weather in late September accelerated ripening, concentrating fruit flavors and condensing the harvest. While yields were lower than average, the grapes displayed excellent color and flavor concentration, enabling Napa Valley wineries to produce superb red wines.

Winemaking

After the fruit was crushed and cold-soaked for four days, we initiated fermentation, with daily pumpovers to thoroughly macerate the skins and maximize extraction of color, flavor and tannin. This process was enhanced further by several rack-and-return procedures, which involves draining a tank of fermenting juice, then splashing it back over the cap of skins that fall to the bottom of the tank. Because small-berried mountain grapes tend to have higher acids and tannins, we were careful to carefully manage the fermentation/maceration to ensure a harmonious Cabernet Sauvignon with balanced fruit and tannin. Once the wine was pressed off the skins, the free run juice was drained and transferred to French oak barrels, 60% new, where it aged 19 months in barrel before bottling in April, 2004.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Dancing Bear Ranch – a blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon, 13% cabernet franc and 2% merlot – presents a characteristically perfumed nose of blackberry compote, dark plum, blueberry and loganberry complemented by sweet oak and forest-floor spice scents. Dense and powerful on the palate, it offers deeply concentrated black fruit flavors that are augmented on the long, savory finish by briary spice, mineral and dark chocolate tones. Boasting great structure and balance, firm, but supple tannins and tremendous reserves of fruit, our 2011 Dancing Bear will age beautifully in bottle for at least a decade.

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Vineyards

Our Dancing Bear Ranch on the slopes of Howell Mountain in northern Napa Valley ranges in elevation from 1,100 to over 1,900 feet and enjoys a near 360 degree exposure, offering a wide range of growing conditions. Planted in shallow, rocky, volcanic soils in 24 separate blocks based on varietal type (cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc), sun exposure, soil profile and clonal selection, the vines are routinely stressed, yielding small crops of intensely flavorful grapes. To ensure the fruit reaches full physiological maturity, we carefully manage the crop on each vine to achieve optimal ripening and flavor development. Observing the process – and sometimes partaking of the goods – are bear, bobcats, mountain lions and wild turkeys.

Vintage

2011 was a challenging vintage. The year began with a wet winter and spring, followed by atypically cool summer weather and several October rainstorms. Not surprisingly, our Dancing Bear grapes ripened slowly, resulting in a prolonged harvest. To address the situation, we thinned fruit from our vines to ensure full ripening of the remaining clusters and sorted meticulously through the grapes at the winery so that only the best berries were sent to the crusher. This helped achieve our goal of making a typically intense and complex Dancing Bear.

Winemaking

The challenge in crafting Dancing Bear is to fully capture the intense mountain character of the fruit without extracting overly aggressive tannins. Winemaker Julianne Laks’ approach is to carefully monitor tannin levels in the juice and wine during fermentation and maceration. After the component lots of Dancing Bear achieve an optimal balance of fruit intensity and tannin, we drain the free run wines from their skins and age them in French oak barrels. The 2011 vintage spent a total of 19 months in barrels, 46% new, prior to bottling in December, 2013.

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2013 2012 2011 2010
Vin de Porche

Anderson Valley

  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2012 Vin de Porche is redolent of a summer fruit basket loaded with freshly picked raspberries, strawberries and Bing cherries – red fruits galore! – accented by a lovely whiff of lavender and hints of watermelon and pink grapefruit. Round and smooth on the palate, it thoroughly delivers on its aromatic promise with juicy, mouthwatering, red berry and Bing cherry flavors that culminate in a long, lip-smacking, mineral-tinged finish.

True to its name, this elegant dry rosé is best enjoyed on your front porch or back patio with everything from grilled salmon, chicken and sausage to pasta salads, country ham and spicy Southwestern, Latin and Asian dishes.
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Screen_shot_2013-07-31_at_3.22.21_pm Cakebread Cellars Vin de Porche with Manila Clams

Vineyards

Our 2012 Vin de Porche is a blend of 95% Pinot Noir from our vineyards in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley and 5% Napa Valley Syrah. (The wine bears an Anderson Valley appellation because it fulfills the requirement that at least 85% of the volume of the wine derive from grapes grown in the labeled viticultural area.) The fruit was harvested between September 13th and October 20th with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity.

Vintage

After several cool, rainy growing seasons, the 2012 vintage was picture-perfect, with consistently mild summer weather free of rain or significant heat waves. As a result, grape growers were able to harvest their fruit at precisely the right moment, capturing an optimal balance of ripe, concentrated fruit flavors and lively acidity. Given these ideal conditions, 2012 produced a cornucopia of outstanding wines, including our delicious Vin de Porche.

Winemaking

The grapes for Vin de Porche were night-harvested for freshness and fruit purity, then lightly pressed as whole clusters. Juice color was carefully monitored at the press, and several press ‘fractions’ (portions of the juice drained from the press at intervals based on color extraction) were drawn off to increase blending opportunities, with each ‘cut’ cold-settled for 36 hours before being transferred to a mix of stainless steel tanks (19%), stainless steels barrels (53%) and neutral French oak (28%) for a cold fermentation. In 2012, we used a special yeast strain to produce a slow, steady fermentation (two weeks at 52 degrees F.) that preserved Vin de Porche’s vividly fruity aromas and smooth mouthfeel. The wine aged three months in 50% neutral French oak and 50% stainless steel barrels before being bottled early for freshness in February, 2013.

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Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2013 Vin de Porche offers a fresh, extremely inviting nose of bright raspberry, strawberry and Bing cherry fruit with hints of orange and spice. On the palate, the wine is dry, yet round and juicy, with rich berry, cherry, citrus and mineral flavors framed by a light, savory, black pepper spiciness that extends into the refreshing, mineral-tinged finish. A delightful sipping and aperitif wine, Vin de Porche also makes a delicious accompaniment to grilled seafood and chicken, barbecued meats, pasta salads, country ham and spicy Latin and Asian dishes.

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Vineyards

Our 2013 Vin de Porche is a blend of 86% Pinot Noir from our Annahala Vineyard in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley and 14% Syrah from our Suscol Springs vineyard in southeastern Napa Valley. (The wine bears an Anderson Valley appellation because it meets the requirement that at least 85% of the wine derive from grapes grown in the labeled viticultural area.) The Pinot Noir was harvested on September 15th while the Syrah was harvested on October 15th .

Vintage

In 2013, a warm, dry spring initiated early budbreak and consistent flowering of the vines, leading to an excellent grape set (the appearance of grape berries on the vine). Summer days were mildly warm, which prompted steady, even ripening and resulted in wines with excellent structure, flavor intensity and balance.

Winemaking

The Pinot Noir grapes for our 2013 Vin de Porche were hand-picked and night-harvested for freshness and fruit purity, then lightly pressed as whole clusters. Our Syrah grapes, also hand- and night-harvested, went through the saigneé process, in which free run juice is bled from the grape must (skins and pulp) before the skins impart too much color to the juice. Both lots were treated as white wines: cold-settled for 36 hours prior to fermentation and then cold-fermented at between 55o and 58o F. in a mix of stainless steel tanks, stainless steel barrels and neutral French oak barrels, with limited exposure to oxygen. These techniques preserved Vin de Porche’s vividly fruity aromas and smooth, bright flavors. The wine aged two months in 57% neutral oak barrels and 43% stainless steel barrels before being bottled early for freshness in January, 2014.

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Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

Our 2011 Vin de Porche displays a luminous salmon color and vividly fresh and enticing strawberry, raspberry, cherry and watermelon aromas complemented by notes of citrus, mineral and vanilla. Fluid and silky on the palate, the wine’s juicy cherry and raspberry flavors pick up a zesty pepper spice tone in the long, lip-smacking, mineral-edged finish. .

An elegant, European-style dry rosé, Vin de Porche is a marvelous accompaniment to many foods, from picnic fare and pasta salads to grilled salmon and chicken, country ham and spicy Asian and Latin dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Vin de Porche with Manila Clams

Vineyards

Our 2011 Vin de Porche marries 90% Syrah from Napa Valley’s cool-climate Carneros region with 7% Zinfandel and 3% Primitivo (a close cousin of Zinfandel) from the Red Hills appellation of Lake County. The grapes were harvested between early and mid-October with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.

Vintage

In 2011, California experienced one of its coldest, wettest and latest vintages in memory, a true “European-style” year. Wet winter and spring weather extended into mid-June, delaying and disrupting budbreak, bloom and fruit set and setting the stage for a cool summer growing season that culminated in a prolonged harvest beset by autumn rains. Experienced growers compensated for these challenging conditions by removing leaves from the vines to admit more sunlight and thinning bunches to ensure the remaining grape clusters ripened fully. These practices enabled us to produce many fine, elegant, full-flavored wines in 2011, including our Vin de Porche rosé.

Winemaking

Making a world-class dry rosé requires handling the fruit very gently to extract just the right amount of color and achieve an ideal balance of fresh, vivid aromas, bright acidity and delicate, fruit-forward flavors. To accomplish these goals, we lightly press the whole clusters and maintain a blanket of CO2 over the juice at all times to limit oxidation. Juice color is carefully monitored, with several press ‘fractions’ (portions of the juice drained from the press at intervals based on color extraction) used to increase blending opportunities. In 2011, we cold-settled each press ‘cut’ for 36 hours, then transferred 55% of the juice to 75-gallon stainless steel barrels for fermentation, with the other 45% fermenting in neutral French oak barrels. To fully capture the wine’s fresh, vibrant fruit character, we bottled this lovely rosé after just three months’ aging.

Not Available For Purchase

Tasting Notes & Food Pairings

A pretty salmon color with orange tints introduces fresh cherry and raspberry aromas complemented by pleasing hints of vanilla, straw and candle wax. On the round, softly textured palate, Vin de Porche offers mouthfilling toasted cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors that segue into a crisp, lively finish imbued with refreshing mineral tones. Enjoy this delightful rosé wine over the next 12-18 months with a wide range of foods, including grilled salmon and chicken, country ham, pasta salads, and spicy Asian, Caribbean and Mexican dishes.

Enjoy with a wide range of foods, including grilled salmon and chicken, country ham, pasta salads, and spicy Asian, Caribbean and Mexican dishes.
View recipes that complement this wine

Mqdefault Cakebread Cellars Vin de Porche with Manila Clams

Vineyards

The grapes for our 2010 Vin de Porche came from a vineyard in the cool-climate Carneros region with a history of producing Syrah with bright floral aromas and rich, ripe fruit flavors. Precision harvesting by hand during the coldest evening hours of October 10th preserved this prime fruit’s crisp acidity and fresh fruit flavors, and ensured the perfect level of flavor maturity.

Vintage

The 2010 growing season began with substantial rainfall, which pushed back bud break, flowering and grape set by several weeks. After an unusually cool summer, heat spikes in late August kick-started veraison (coloring of the grapes) and ripening. Cool weather returned in early September, but a glorious Indian summer yielded a late harvest of fruit with mature, concentrated flavors at lower alcohol levels, resulting in a bevy of beautifully structured wines boasting fresh, elegant flavors.

Winemaking

The keys to making a high-quality dry rosé are gentle handling of the fruit; achieving the right balance of expressive aromas, fresh acidity and delicate fruit flavors; and extracting the proper intensity of color. (The longer the juice is in contact with the skins, the deeper the color.) To accomplish these goals, we lightly pressed the whole clusters, maintaining a blanket of CO2 over the juice at all times to limit oxidation. Juice color was carefully monitored, and we drained three separate lots of juice at intervals based on color extraction to increase blending opportunities. We cold-settled all three lots for 36 hours, then transferred the first to a small stainless steel tank and the second and third to neutral oak barrels and 75-gallon stainless steel barrels for fermentation. A cultured yeast strain was selected for its ability to showcase the fruit’s fresh aromas and delicate flavors. The stainless steel fermentations helped bring out the wine’s raspberry and cherry aromas while the neutral oak added softness to the flavors. After three months in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels, we bottled the wine in January, 2011 for maximum freshness and enjoyment.

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