Cakebread Cellars Merlot Napa Valley 2003
Vintage In 2003, a warm late winter gave way to cool, wet weather in April, setting back vine development. Seasonally temperate weather prevailed during the summer months, however, with cool evenings maintaining an even pace of ripening. The latter part of September brought several heat spikes, which accelerated ripening, but classic autumn weather arrived in October, extending the harvest by several weeks and enabling us to pick our deeply colored Merlot grapes with wonderfully concentrated flavors and ideal levels of acidity. Vineyards The grapes for our 2003 Merlot came primarily from mid-Napa Valley, where warm summer temperatures produce fruit with ripe blackberry and plum flavors and healthy tannins. The balance were from the cool-climate Carneros district in the southern part of the valley, which provides bright, black cherry fruit with crisp acidity. The grapes for our 2003 Merlot, which was blended with 13.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec and 2.5% Syrah, were harvested between September 24th and October 24th, 2003. Winemaking Winemaker Julianne Laks uses several cutting-edge techniques to maximize the quality of our superb Merlot fruit. First, she cold-soaks the must (unfermented juice and skins) prior to fermentation to extract color and flavor. Then, she employs a technique called rack-and-return, in which fermenting juice from one tank is drained and transferred to a second tank, leaving the "cap" of skins to fall to the bottom. The juice is then pumped back into the original tank, re-macerating the skins and maximizing color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. The separately fermented vineyard lots are blended and transferred to French oak barrels for aging. Our 2003 Merlot spent 18 months in French oak, 50% new, prior to bottling in April 2005.
Cakebread Cellars is located in the heart of the Napa Valley on Highway 29 between Oakville and Rutherford. Family owned and operated for 36 years, we pride ourselves on making full flavored, balanced and elegant wines.
External Reviews for Cakebread Cellars Merlot Napa Valley
This unusual blend made by winemaker Julianne Laks adds up to a very substantial, interesting, and well-made wine from a family that has been making wine in the Napa Valley for more than 30 years.The blend is comprised mostly, of course, of Merlot (81 percent) and the little-used Malbec (less than 3 percent), which is the least popular of the five classic red Bordeaux varieties grown in the Napa Valley. There’s also a touch (little more than 2.5 percent) of Syrah.What it adds up to is a wine that has lots of blackberry aromas with a touch of earthiness and tar. The structure is substantial, which means it’ll age well (for up to 15 years I think), but it’s tight right now. Nonetheless, the wine is balanced, with evident tannins and hints of chocolate and cocoa powder and good black fruit. Hold onto it for a couple of years and then dig in.Eighty-six percent of the grapes come from Cakebread’s up-Valley holdings, while the remainder comes from its southern-most vineyards in the Carneros. The listed alcohol is 14.9 percent. The wine was aged for 1½ years in French wood, half of which was new.