Since 1992, Cakebread Cellars has produced a red wine
blend called Rubáiyat, after the famous poem
(". . . a loaf
of bread . . . a flask of wine, a book of verse - and thou beside me
singing in the wilderness . . .") by Omar Khayyám.
of Pinot Noir and Syrah, this deliciously fruity red is the perfect
accompaniment to picnic and barbecue fare, especially when enjoyed with
that special someone.
Our 2004 Rubáiyat is a blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel, produced from vineyards in the Carneros region of Napa Valley (88%), the Red Hills district of Lake County (10%), and the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County (2%). The Napa vineyards, in the cooler southern part of the county, supplied most of the Pinot Noir and all the Syrah grapes, the Lake County vineyards provided the Zinfandel, and the cool-climate Anderson Valley contributed the balance of the Pinot Noir. The fruit was hand-harvested, mainly at night, between August 23rd and September 22nd to ensure an ideal balance of ripe fruit flavors and fresh acidity.
In 2004, an unusually warm late winter, consistently mild spring and summer weather, and several late-summer heat spells resulted in one of the earliest harvests on record in Northern California. Although the harvest was fast and furious, the early start to the season and lower-than-normal crop loads produced grape clusters with small berries and ripe flavors, yielding red wines of impressive depth, concentration and structure.
Eighty-five percent of the grapes were de-stemmed and crushed to ensure a good extraction of color and tannin, while 15% were retained as whole clusters to enhance fruit intensity, perfume and spice. Each lot of grapes from the nine vineyards contributing to the blend was fermented separately, using a mix of open and closed-top tanks. Open-top tanks are ideal for Pinot Noir, which benefits from a gentle, manual punch down to submerge its skins and extract color and tannin. For Syrah and Zinfandel, extraction is best served by periodically pumping the fermenting juice over the cap of skins at the top of closed tanks. After the lots were blended, the wine aged in French oak barrels for 14 months before bottling in December, 2005.
Our 2004 Rubáiyat exudes toasty, ripe black cherry aromas with subtle scents of vanilla and light herbal spice. On the palate, the wine delivers juicy, concentrated, red and black cherry flavors that are accented by subtle smoke and clove-like spice tones. Balanced by ripe, supple tannins and culminating in a long, fruit-filled finish, this delicious red is delightful to drink now, on its own or with grilled and spicy fare, but it will also age nicely in the bottle for another 3-5 years.