After waking up and eating breakfast at the hotel we headed to Cakebread Cellars.
Jason and I have had Cakebread wines before so we had an idea of what to expect but I was still blown away by the quality of their current releases. Each of the wines we tasted were very well rounded. None were too strong or astringent. They were all perfectly balanced. Each wine was set up at its own location in the winery so we got a tour as well as a tasting. It was great to see exactly what the winery looks like and where the wine that we love so much comes from. We got to see all the storage and cellaring facilities as well as the bottling facilities. We tasted the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, 2007 Chardonnay, 2006 Reserve Chardonnay, the picnic and BBQ wine (which has a cool name I can’t remember), a 2006 Zinfandel, and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The thing that found the most interesting at Cakebread was the power of the processing when it comes to wine making. Tasting the difference between the Chardonnay and the Reserve Chardonnay was a perfect example. Two wines that are completely different in flavor – both made from the exact same varietals and from the same vineyards. The Chardonnay was smooth and subtle. The Reserve was much more bold and buttery. It also had slight floral undertones. These wines were so different that, despite them being the same variety of grape, they couldn’t be compared to each other.
Our guide Paul, talked us into the wine club and some single bottles. Once he realized that we were serious about our wine purchase he offered us a tasting of their single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon called Dancing Bear. Dancing Bear was by far the best wine we tasted while we were in Napa. Needless to say we bought 2 bottles of Dancing Bear and two additional bottles of other single vineyard Cabs.
After Cakebread my world was spinning so we took a break from wine and drove into St. Helena for lunch at this great little café. One burger and French fries later we took off for Silver Oak Cellars.
Silver Oak is unlike most other vinters in Napa and they only produce Cabernet Sauvignon. They make a Cab blend from Alexander valley which is very dry, tannic and astringent and a Cab from Napa Valley which is smooth and rich with a strong floral nose and a creamy finish. I did not drink any wine at Silver Oak – I was wined out by that point. We bought 4 more bottles, all Napa Valley. A 1999, and 3-2004s.
We then drove back to Yountville to take some photos around French Laundry during the day time (when we left the night before it was already dark) and then we hopped on the PCH to Monterey.
Once in Monterey we checked into our hotel – the Spindrift Inn. We had a great corner room with a balcony and a wood burning fireplace.
We made a fire and enjoyed the evening relaxing at the hotel.