Cakebread Chardonnay Reserve

We had the most glorious tour and tasting at Cakebread Winery in St. Helena (near Napa) on our recent vacation.  It was incredible to see the care they put into everything, and to see a sea of $1000 French Oak barrels! By far the best wine I tasted was this Chardonnay Reserve.

You can buy it on the Cakebread website, if you can’t find it in your local wine store.  Here’s what they say about it:

We night-harvest 100% of our Chardonnay grapes and whole-cluster-press the fruit to obtain the freshest, purest juice possible. In 2008, we inoculated 80% of the juice with cultured yeast strains to enhance its rich fruit character while using 20% native yeasts from the vineyard to foster greater complexity and a refreshing minerality. One hundred percent of the juice fermented in French oak barrels, 35% new. Due to the wine’s perfect natural balance, we refrained from subjecting it to a secondary, malolactic fermentation. Aging our Chardonnay Reserve in barrel on its primary yeast lees for 15 months, with periodic stirring to enhance body and complexity, further refined its round, creamy texture, vibrant, varietally expressive aromas and rich, concentrated flavors.

Our 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay Reserve boasts vivid, beautifully delineated sweet apple, melon and citrus aromas – with hints of ginger and white peach – layered with toasty, creamy tones from barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. On the round, streamlined palate, bright, creamy, apple, melon, pear, lemon-lime and mineral flavors gain additional richness from judicious toasty oak and yeast tones that prolong a lingering, gingery finish lifted by a refreshing minerality. This youthful Chardonnay Reserve, from a vintage renowned for producing finely focused white wines with concentrated fruit and vibrant acidity, will continue developing in bottle for another 5-7 years.

Here’s a few views of the winery:

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