The Dozen Vol. 26 No. 05

The Dozen – A Toast to Jack Cakebread

Saying farewell to a Napa Valley pioneer.

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Jack Cakebread, who died late last month at 92, was one of the pioneer winegrowers along Route 29 – Napa Valley’s Main Street – having established a winery there a couple of doors up the road from Bob Mondavi in the early 1970s. And although I have been visiting Napa Valley since 1979, somehow, our paths never crossed, unfortunately.

But I have been a good customer of the Cakebread family’s wines and had in recent years spent some time with Jack’s and Dolores’s sons, Bruce and Dennis.

In addition to making good wines, the Cakebreads almost matched the Mondavis in their hospitality, helping to make Napa Valley a wine-and-food lovers’ destination. Dolores’s cooking classes alone were legendary. So let’s give a farewell toast to Jack Cakebread with a glass of Cakebread rosé.

2019 Guido Marsella Fiano di Avelino ($29).  Lively, piquant flavors of citrus and kiwi – long and fresh on the palate.

2019 Bouchaine Carneros Chardonnay ($30). Well-structured with nice fruit, lightly buttery notes, and a fairly crisp finish.

2019 Pazo Barrantes Rias Baixas Albarino ($39). Lively and rich in flavors of tangy apples with good minerality.

2019 M. Chapoutier “Les Meysonnieres” Crozes-Hermitage Blanc ($42). A very enchanting wine with lush tropical flavors and notes of figs, full-bodied with a great mouthfeel and a long finish.

2019 M. Chapoutier La Combe Pilate “Esteban” Vin de France Brut Nature ($35). This bubbly falls between elegant and bold with green fruits and some minerality.

NV Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Champagne ($61). A “soft” cushion of bubbles with juicy strawberry flavors.

2021 Cakebread Cellars “Vin de Porche” Anderson Valley Rosé ($30). Elegant, very light in color and taste with candied fruit flavors, and both crisp and creamy.

NV Gamble Family “The Mill Keeper” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($31). A blend of vintages, it has blackberry, cassis, and strawberry preserves fruitiness with smooth, walnutty tannins – great for the price.

2019 Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir ($32). Enjoyable dark cherry fruit with some cola and rooty flavors – smooth and very nice.

2018 San Felice “Vigorello” Tuscan IGT ($55). Almost limpid, with rich, granular tastes of black raspberries, figs, and conserves with nice barrel notes.

2016 Vallone “Graticciaia” Salento Rosso ($66). Very fruity, with rounded ripe cherry and dark berry flavors, nice acidity, and smooth tannins.

2018 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($70). Rich blackberry flavors, but with beautiful balancing herbal and earthy savory notes and supple tannins – sit and mull it over or have it with a steak.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

The feature photo is courtesy of Cakebread Cellars.

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