(2011 Vintage) The grapes are hand harvested, destemmed and immediately crushed, and each vineyard lot is fermented separately with selected yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks over a period of six to seven days. Each lot of grapes is frequently tasted during fermentation to determine when the extraction is at optimum. At that point, the wine is pressed off the skins in membrane wine presses, keeping the press wine separate from the free-run wine. In this way, Cakebread Cellars' red wines, especially the Cabernets, have their natural fruitiness preserved, while the extraction of harsh, drying tannins is avoided. It is then pressed and returned to stainless steel for complete malolactic fermentation. Following this, the wine is racked into French oak barrels, of which roughly half are new and half of one and two years' use for approximately six months.
Throughout the initial aging process, the various individual lots are continually taste-analyzed to determine the final blend. Depending on the vintage, the finished blend will include up to twenty five percent combined Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with Merlot contributing the greater percentage. Once the final blend is assembled, it is returned to the same French oak barrels to age for an additional 12 to 18 months before being bottled. The only treatments preceding bottling are an egg-white fining and a single passage through a rough filter.
Wine & Spirits(1998 Vintage)
Decanter(1997 Vintage) Rating: 5/5 - As reviewed by Decanter. Powerful, smoky, coffee aromas. Opulent, ripe, spicy rich fruit. Amazing intensity with lovely complexity and great length. Delicious.
Decanter(2002 Vintage) Rating: 4/5 - As reviewed by Decanter. Excellent depth of fruit, sweet hazelnut, raspberry. Very well balanced, tight, good acidity, very elegant, strong oak. Drink 2008-16.
Wine & Spirits(2002 Vintage)
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(2000 Vintage) 20% Merlot; 2% Cabernet Franc. As often seems the case for the Cabs of 2000, the aromas of this wine are nicely fruited, fairly deep and enriched with plenty of sweet oak spice. Once in the mouth, however, the wine proves to be ripe yet slightly hollow and lower in fruit than it is in oak. A little lean at the finish and never so rich as advertised, this is a pleasant but uncompelling wine whose reach exceeds its grasp.