1998 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
Last edited on 2/17/2008 by Doublebass
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Cakebread Cellars' 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is yet another classic vintage Cabernet of the Nineties. The vintage itself was challenging, to say the least. El Niņo-generated weather patterns kept Napa Valley vineyards unusually cool and wet for most of the growing season, until two separate hot spells hit in mid-July and August. However, overall, the 1998 Vin-tage was the coolest one since 1994. While crop levels were down 20% from 1997's bountiful yields, quality was kept high due to the prevalent cool temperatures plus "The October Miracle" of an "Indian summer."
The fruit for the 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon came primarily from here in Rutherford and neighboring Oakville appellations, with smaller lots from Stags' Leap, Carneros and St. Helena growing areas. To add additional characters of dark fruit and earthiness we blended in 15% Mer-lot. A small amount of Cabernet Franc (7%), on the other hand, lent structure plus a wonderful berry-like flavor.
The determining factor in the Cakebread style of winemaking is taste, whether it is to de-cide when grapes are wholly mature to pick or when to "press-out" an individual lot of fermented Cabernet Sauvignon. In making this 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, as is our practice, we fermented each vineyard lot separately. Then, we put half in new small French oak barrels and half in one and two-year old barrels for approximately six months. Throughout this initial aging process, we continually taste-analyze the various individual lots so as to put together a final blend. Once we assemble a final blend, it goes into the same French oak barrels to age for an additional year before being bottled.
This 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has a clear, dark garnet color. Its spicy, ce-dar-like scents together with a background aroma of cassis are invitingly rich and complex. On the palate, the texture is rich and smooth with flavors reminiscent of cassis with a hint of choco-late. The overall taste-impression of this wine is one of rich black fruit in a delicious balance.
78% Cabernet Sauvignon
15 % Merlot
7% Cabernet Franc
October 19 through
October 28, 1998
18-1/2 months in French oak