2009 Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc

Year: 2009
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Connoisseurs' Guide: 87
White Wine
Price :
$23.95
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"Elements of Meyer lemons, minerals and freshly-cut grass come together in the clean, medium-deep aromas of this very easy to access Sauvignon, and, despite picking up a few ragged edges along the way, the wine is tasty and focused throughout. The effects of its acidy angularity are bound to diminish with a bit of time in the bottle, just as they will when the wine is matched up with food. Reviewed: September 2011" (CG)

Winery Notes:
Cakebread Cellars has produced Sauvignon Blanc since the 1975 vintage, and has developed a style of wine which has become a benchmark for this varietal. The vineyards from which the wine is produced are primarily in the Rutherford and St. Helena areas near the Cakebread property, as well as the 20 acres of vines within the Cakebread estate. The warm microclimates in these areas allow the grapes to mature without excessive growth.

Proper canopy management influences the flavors of Sauvignon Blanc more than most grape varieties. Fruit from one vineyard may naturally show flavors of melon, grapefruit, and pear, while the fruit from another may be herbaceous. By regulating the vine's proportion of leaves to fruit by leaf pulling and managing degrees of partial shade or filtered sunlight on the fruit clusters, flavors can be diminished or intensified. Harvest typically occurs from mid-August to late September, and is carried out at night or in the early morning hours to assure a cool must temperature.

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 "b'tonnage," 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 Semillon adds mineral and ripe fig notes to the blend, and five percent or less of Sauvignon Musque, a clone of Sauvignon Blanc, contributes a hint of spiciness to the wine. There is no malolactic fermentation.

Cakebread's interpretation of this wine is a classic expression of the varietal, with 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 crisp impression. The wine's lovely fruit intensity and subtle vanilla oak notes carry into the clean, persistent finish.