by Fred McMillin
for June 2, 1999


A Cakebread Calamity?


It was a beautiful, warm summer in the Napa Valley. Bruce Cakewood could see another medal-winning year for his 25 acres of Sauvignon Blanc. They were the first vines planted by his dad when Cakebread Cellars was founded in 1973. Then DISASTER! In mid-August, huge black clouds filled the summer sky and a heavy rain fell. Bruce had visions of BUNCH-ROT ruining his precious Blanc.

The Rest of the Story

Now you can't go out and towel off acres and acres of growing grapes...but how about air-drying with a helicopter? Yep, it worked and my panel just tasted the resulting 1997 vintage. Their comments:

    Smooth, fruity, good balance
    Rich, oaky, Chardonnay style
    Lovely, silky in the mouth

To summarize their opinions...

    Every panelist voted it Best White, though it cost only half as much as some of the competition.
    It was the first Sauvignon Blanc to be rated EXCELLENT in over a year.

Wine of the Day

Cakebread Cellars 1997 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
Cakebread Cellars, Rutherford, CA
Aging—7 months in French oak
Prior Vintages—Nearly 20 years ago author Roy Andries De Groot listed the Blanc first in his evaluation of Cakewood Cellars. About that same time, Anthony Dias Blue gave the 1983 three stars and commented, "clean, balanced, fruity and lovely."
For More—See the Dec. 12,1997 WineDay titled "Highbred Cakebread", the Winery of the Week.
Contact—Sara Cakebread, (707) 963-7443, FAX (707) 963-1067
Price—$14 range


Founder Jack Cakebread is familiar with excellence. Earlier he was a professional photographer...and who was his mentor?.. none other than one of America's greatest...ANSEL ADAMS.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


WineDay Annex

More articles by
Fred McMillin


Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.


A Bride Guide


Current WineDay

January WineDays
February WineDays
March WineDays
April WineDays
May WineDays

1998 WineDays

1997 WineDays


Copyright © 1999—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.