(2013 Vintage) The fruit is pressed immediately after harvest partially as whole berries and partially as clusters to control skin contact. Multiple yeast strains are used to enhance the wine's spectrum of aromatic and flavor complexity. To further fine-tune flavors, the alcoholic fermentation of 75 to 80 percent of the must takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and the balance in small French oak barrels.
Approximately half of the tank-fermented component is then transferred to small French oak barrels, with the barrel-fermented component, for three to five months' aging. The barrels range in age from one to two years old, and the majority of the wine is aged in the older barrels. The barrel-fermented component is periodically stirred, a process called "bâtonnage," to redistribute the lees, which enriches the wine's texture and helps integrate the fruit flavors with the oak nuances. Up to ten percent of Sémillon adds mineral and ripe fig notes to the blend, and five percent or less of Sauvignon Musqué, a clone of Sauvignon Blanc, contributes a hint of spiciness to the wine. There is no malolactic fermentation.
Appellation America(2005 Vintage) This wine is a perfect example of why winemakers hardly ever need to use new oak. While a small portion (13 percent) of this Sauvignon Blanc was barrel fermented, the French barrels were once used. After stainless steel tank fermentation for the balance of the wine, 75 percent of the total saw four months in 2-year-old wood, while the remainder never saw a barrel at all.What it all adds up to is a wine of elegance and lushness from only the kiss of wood. But more important, and because of the restrained oak regimen, winemaker Julianne Laks has coaxed Sauvignon Blanc typicity - hints of grassiness and read more...sweet pear. The Semillon adds the acidity, while the Sauvignon Musque - a SB clone with Muscat-like qualities - lends the wine its aromatics. The listed alcohol is 14.1 percent and the wine is extremely well balanced, though it’s a bit young right now. I expect it should age nicely for six to eight years.The grapes came primarily from Cakebread’s estate vineyards in Rutherford, as well as from vineyards in St. Helena and Calistoga to the north, the latter of which is the Maple Lane Vineyard. That vineyard is tucked against the hills just south of Calistoga. The vines are planted on the valley floor and grow into well drained, fertile soils. (hide)
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(2005 Vintage) Rather soft-spoken in fruit and less than convincing vis-a-vis any specific varietal herbs or grass, this clean but limited wine has a nice sense of palatal weight, but it ultimately has more feel than flavor. Its vaguely metallic finish is punctuated by an unwelcome note of bitterness, and nowhere does it display the richness or range to justify its premium price.
International Wine Cellar(2005 Vintage) Rating: 90/100 - As reviewed by International Wine Cellar.
Wine Spectator(2005 Vintage) Rating: 91/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 11/06.
Wine & Spirits(2008 Vintage) Rating: 90/100 - As reviewed by Wine & Spirits Magazine on 10/09. This lightly fragrant sauvignon has the classic "cat pee on a gooseberry bush" character of the grape. It's a clean and tart wine to serve with pasta tossed with English peas.