Thursday, November 21, 2013


Dwight The Wine Doctor with Dennis Cakebread-VP Marketing, Cakebread Cellars at Greystone

Vineyards in the Carneros with grapes ripe for the harvest

NAPA VALLEY--Carneros District grapes are among the most coveted among winemakers in the Napa Valley. It's unique location makes it the ideal place to grow quality grapes that are lush in flavor with the perfect balance of sugar and tannins.  Walking through the vineyards of ripened grapes which are ready for harvest, the aroma is heady and almost overwhelming.

Coveted because of its unique location at the southern tip of the Napa Valley, Carneros District lies at the mouth of San Pablo Bay, which gives it cool, foggy nights and mornings, and tremendous sun exposure and warmth during the day, which makes for a long growing season. Grapes from the area make some of the most complex, flavorful wines imaginable. That is precisely where the winemakers at Cakebread Cellars source grapes for their outstanding Carneros Pinot Noir 2011 ($50), which is our Wine of the Week. Jack Cakebread founded the winery in 1973, it was with the idea of producing limited production, handcrafted wine that would reflect the land from which it came. He has achieved that and more with his newly released Pinot Noir.

A Harvest Moon rises over the Napa Valley

Grapes are harvested in the cool cover of night to preserve their rich flavor. Fragrant, with aromas of black cherries, strawberries and dark red plums, and a hint of pomegranate, the wine has a backnote of rosehips, sandalwood, vanilla and baking spices that speaks to its careful, long aging in small French oak barrels. It's fragrant nose speaks of the Holidays and reminds one of the potpourri often used in table centerpieces with a redolence that fills the room. Full in the mouth, its the perfect partner for the Holiday Turkey, Roast Duck or Pheasant and Sage-infused stuffing. At a price well below that of comparable Pinot Noirs from the regions, this is a real bargain that delivers "Grand Cru" flavor at a very reasonable price.

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