The winemaking regimen for the Benchland Select included using the "rack and return" process of draining the fermenting juice off the skins and then returning it to the stainless steel tanks. This procedure greatly reduces the young wine's astringency by softening its tannins while deepening its dark color. As the wine was fermented dry, it was taste-tested for optimum flavor levels before it was separated from the skins and then aged for twenty-six months in a combination of new (65%) and one year old (35%) French oak barrels.
The resulting wine reflects the exceptional quality of the fruit sourced from three select vineyards in the Napa Valley's western foothills; including Jack and Dolores Cakebread's own "Hill Ranch." The 1998 Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon displays aromas of an intense red fruit character and the spiciness of mocha, cocoa and nutmeg. The flavors seamlessly echo those of its aromas, showing a soft, elegant wine that offers plenty of ripe fruit with a lingering balance of vanilla, cedar and supple, well-integrated tannins.