The 12 Days of Zin continues with a stop at Napa Valley's Cakebread Cellars. Their story is one of a true family business that starts with Jack and Dolores Cakebread and continues through their sons and extended family. When a lot of people think of Cakebread Cellars the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc come to mind. This isn't surprising as they have both been heralded and scored highly in various publications for many years. Personally I've always been a bigger fan of their reds. Thus I'm happy to include their Zinfandel in this series. The Cakebread Cellars 2005 Zinfandel is 100% varietal. All of the fruit is from the Lake County, Red Hills appellation. Three different Zinfandel clones were aged separately for 9 months. At that point the final blend was put together and the wine spent another 9 months in 35% new French oak barrels. The suggested retail price for this wine is $41.
This 2005 Zin has berry, bramble and vanilla on the nose. It comes out of the gate a little tight and decanting for an hour or so is recommended. Once it's had that chance to open up its layers really come out. This is a thick, rich, opulent and mouth-filling example of Zinfandel. Chocolate covered cherry notes emerge on the entry and carry though the palate. Plum, blackberry and other dark fruit underscore the chocolate notes which remain persistent throughout. Both white and black peppers come out on the finish, accompanied by subtler oak notes. A firm tannic structure is evident as well.
What I like best about this wine is that it's got a really solid, even keeled palate that never seems to fade. It carries solid, rich notes throughout the wine. This is an example of a bigger, riper Zin, with some jam fruit elements. However it's balanced and structured enough that it will not only drink well and hold for several years but will likely improve in the short term.
Up Next: The 12 Days of Zin Continues!
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