by Fred McMillin
for October 5, 1999
They love wine, the students in my
latest class at the Fort Mason Campus of San
Francisco City College. BUT, it's a very tough
love, as we shall see.
at Ft. Mason.
The Rest of the Story
The 20 wines we studied and tasted included some
prestigious Chardonnays, three pricey RESERVE
reds and a Cabernet Sauvignon crafted by one
of California's top winemakers. What did
the class think of them? NOT A SINGLE ONE
even made a RECOMMENDED rating. In fact, the
class flunked 19 of the 20. However, ONE wine
not only was given a passing grade, it received
a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating. Here it is.
The Head of the Class
1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Cakebread Cellars, Rutherford, CA
Winery Time with Cabernet—Bruce's parents, Jack and Dolores
Cakebread planted their first Napa Valley Cab
vines in 1976. Bruce says this 1995 probably
is their best ever. Here are some of the changes
he made for the 1995, compared to the highly-rated 1994.
French Oak Aging—Used a higher percentage of new barrels.
Post-fermentation Skin Contact—Bruce decided
to follow flavor formation in each tank in great
detail. As a result, some of the '95 wine was
taken off the skins after only 2-1/2 weeks, other batches
remained as long as 4 weeks.
Service—Open the bottle three or four hours before
pouring to let the flavors unfold.
Contact—Operations Manager Dennis Cakebread (Bruce's
brother), (707) 963-5221, FAX (707) 963-1067.
Note - For more about the winery see these
WineDays: "A Cakebread Calmity?", June 2, 1999
and "Highbread Cakebread", December 12, 1997.
If you are interested in our Fort Mason wine
classes, FAX me at (415) 567-4468. and whence
the name "Mason?" The War Department named it over
a century ago in honor of the military governor
of California during the start of the Gold Rush,
General Richard B. Mason.
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.
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