Fruit for the Napa Valley Chardonnay comes primarily from the cool-climate Carneros district at the southern tip of the valley, with approximately 40% from Estate vineyards. Subject to fog and cooling breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay, Carneros enjoys a long growing season that ripens its fruit fully while retaining the bright acidity that gives Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay its freshness and vitality. Carneros fruit is complemented with grapes from warmer sites in the valley such as Oak Knoll that yield riper, fuller chardonnays, resulting in a rich, yet elegant and complex Chardonnay that drinks beautifully on release, but ages gracefully in the bottle. Grapes are hand-harvested at night to retain purity of flavor and bright natural acidity, then whole-cluster-pressed to further preserve freshness and varietal intensity, with the free-run juice transferred to a mix of French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for fermentation. A portion of the wine undergoes secondary, malolactic fermentation to enrich its flavors and texture. The barrel-fermented portion of the wine ages sur lie (on the yeast lees) in French oak barrels, with bi-weekly stirring of the lees to layer the wine’s crisp, vibrant fruit with an appealingly creamy, slightly yeasty tone.
Bright, creamy, golden apple, white peach, pear and melon aromas, with hints of mineral, yeast and oak spice, introduce rich, full-bodied, apple, pear and melon flavors that persist throughout a lingering finish refreshed by vibrant citrus and mineral tones. With a round, supple texture, superb concentration, great depth, and balanced acidity, the Napa Valley Chardonnay is a treat upon release but develops even greater complexity and appeal with 5-7 years’ aging.