|Color & Type
The 2015 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley is 100% Chardonnay from that AVA. 90% of the grapes came from cool-climate Carneros. Cakebread’s estate vineyards in Carneros accounted for 40% of the total.
The usually warm, dry winter led to early bud break in 2015. Harvest for this Chardonnay took place between August 13 and September 4, the earliest ever of Cakebread’s 43 harvests. This, coupled with big crops in the preceding three years, resulted in lower than average yields. That’s good news for wine quality though, as the small berry size has created great intensity of flavor.
Workers hand-harvested the grapes at night to maximize freshness. Whole-cluster pressing at the winery followed and the free-run juice fermented in French oak. 29% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged eight months sur lie in barrel, 35% new, with periodic stirring for complexity and texture. 14.1% alcohol,
Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley is 100% varietal and comes primarily from the Carneros AVA, the coolest climate of all Napa Valley AVAs. With temperatures moderated by the San Pablo Bay but very low rainfall, Chardonnay is able to attain good ripeness while maintaining excellent acidity.
Cakebread’s Cellars Chardonnay is fermented primarily in French oak barrels, but not all new. To preserve crispness, only a portion of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation.
Jack and Dolores Cakebread bought their first vineyard in 1972, a 22-acre site. The next year, they founded their Rutherford-based winery, Cakebread Cellars. The winery now holds 1,100 acres spread over 13 sites in Napa Valley and Anderson Valley with about 560 of those acres under vine. Cakebread is still owned and operated by the family.
Cakebread Cellars is best-known for its Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. It also produces Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, Lake County Zinfandel and Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Merlot.
The wine styles are flavorful and generally fruit-driven, but still reflective of terroir. New French oak is used moderately and enhances the wine without obscuring natural complexity.