Since 1981, Cakebread Cellars has prized the grapes that it gets from the Vine Hill Ranch at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains. In 1995, winemaker Bruce Cakebread began producing a special Cabernet called "Benchland Select" from cabernet grapes grown in this and nearby vineyards along Napa Valley's gentle sloping western foothills. The first and second vintages of Benchland Select were so outstanding, with wines packed with elegant, rich dark fruit that Bruce decided to produce as well a single-vineyard-designated Cabernet from this ranch. This vintage, then, is the debut of Cakebread Cellars' Vinehill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.
Over a two-week period, the Ranch's cabernet sauvignon grapes were harvested from three separate blocks, each being grown on a different rootstock. The wine showed exceptional intensity, rich, ripe black-fruit flavors, plus a firm tannic structure; Bruce was able to integrate these impressive components by ageing the wine in carefully selected French oak barrels from three different coopers. More than simply highlighting the cabernet fruit from an exceptional vineyard in an excellent growing year, this first release of Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is regarded by Cakebread Cellars as being a very special wine indeed.
The Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet is a dense and very darkly colored wine, with aromas reminiscent of sweet black currants or cassis. The flavors are at once intensely rich and smoothly balanced. At this stage, the wine invites one to savor its sweet, full scents and especially its powerful, but fully balanced flavors.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Vine Hill Ranch, Oakville
9/8/97 through 9/14/97
25 months in French oak