Wine Notes: Cakebread Chardonnay

California wines have come a long way.  There was the time when Napa and Sonoma were just sleepy farming communities.  Then there was the Judgment of Paris.  The butter bombs of the ’80s and ’90s.  The anti-oak backlash.  Sideways.  And today, I’d like to think that we’ve come to a place where we can respect all wines for the different qualities they bring to the party (pardon the pun) – no matter where they come from, or whether they are aged in American oak, French oak, or stainless steel.  Personally, I usually prefer the crisper flavors that stainless steel barrels impart, but every so often, a girl wants some oak.

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The wine: Cakebread Cellars 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay

The bouquet: Beautiful notes of apple, pear and honeydew, with a lemony undertone – very crisp.  The aromas were slightly richer than you would find in, say, a Sauvignon Blanc, which was really the only hint of oak.  That’s how I like my oak – as an enhancement, not as the main flavor – so I was very pleased.

The taste: Light and crisp, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel and a perfectly balanced, refreshingly tart finish.

Food pairing: We uncorked this wine to go with our special anniversary dinner of Garlic and Citrus Roasted Cornish Game Hens, and it was a perfect match.  It would work well with most poultry dishes, being light and refreshing but still maintaining enough body to pair with a hearty chicken or turkey dish.

Overall, this wine was a joy.  Cakebread is one of my favorite wineries, but I usually drink the Sauvignon Blanc.  It was exciting to branch out and drink one of their other wines.  Certainly a special occasion wine, it won’t disappoint.

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