Harvest 2001 arrived earlier than usual in the Napa Valley.
Overall, it was a nicely balanced crop year with the quality being quite
good: this, despite the fact that the weather throughout the growing
year was a bit topsy-turvy. In March, the vineyards experienced summer-like
temperatures of 80 degrees, followed by a rare frost in April with temperatures
plunging to the upper 20's. On a couple of mornings, we had to fire
up our wind machines. Their twirling props succeeded in protecting the
vines' tender shoots by keeping warmer air at vine level. Record-breaking
heat followed in May and June, until near-perfect weather conditions
prevailed in July, August and September.
In the vineyards, we can affect the flavors of Sauvignon
Blanc with proper canopy management much more than most other grape
varieties. For example, the fruit from one vineyard may offer flavors
resembling melon, grapefruit, and pear, while the fruit from another
may simply be herbaceous. By regulating the vines' ratio of leaves to
fruit through leaf pulling and allowing partial shading or scattered
sunlight on the fruit clusters, we can diminish or intensify flavors.
In the cellar, we naturally continue fine-tuning Sauvignon
Blanc's flavors by how we proportion its fermentation and aging regime.
Specific to Cakebread Cellars' 2001 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, we
fermented less than a quarter in small French oak barrels. One third
went into stainless steel tanks to be fermented and aged; while approximately
half (47%), after being fermented in tanks, was aged in French oak.
These small French oak barrels ranged in age from one to two years old,
with the majority of the wine being aged in the older barrels.
A small amount of Semillon (8%) was added to the blend
in order to give the finished wine a more mineral-like flavor and texture,
while also contributing a ripe fig-like component to the wine. Finally,
we blended even a smaller amount of Sauvignon Musqué (5%). The
Musqué, which is a clone or offshoot of Sauvignon Blanc, adds
a bit of spiciness to the wine.
Our 2001 Sauvignon Blanc exhibits aromas of fresh pink
grapefruit, mineral, and stone fruit. On the palate, the flavors mirror
the aromas. Refreshing and lively fruit acids with hints of mineral,
gooseberry, melon and grapefruit all contribute to this wine's overall