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Flat front label of wine

Cakebread Benchland Select Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • WS91
14.4% ABV
  • RP95
  • RP94
  • JS92
  • RP95
  • JS93
  • RP93
  • RP96
  • WS92
  • RP92
  • RP91
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14.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
Subtle earthy sour cherry, mineral and dusty sage notes are complex, elegant and well-balanced, offering a sweet spot midpalate. Good length. Drinking exceptionally well.
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Cakebread

Cakebread Cellars

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Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley, California
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Over 30 years ago, Jack Cakebread came to photograph the Napa Valley for a book and while there, he casually mentioned his interest in one day owning a vineyard to some family friends who had a ranch in Rutherford. When he returned home that afternoon, the phone rang and it was the family friends offering to sell their property. He headed back up to the valley that same afternoon to make his best offer, and Cakebread Cellars was born.

As the Cakebread family reflects upon the many profound changes in the wine industry over the last 33 years, such as innovative farming techniques and new methods of reaching out to consumers, they note that their key values have remained the same. Dedication to making the highest quality wines and a commitment to family has followed a continuum as their first small vineyard has grown into a thriving internationally distributed wine company.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

JNCBENCHLANDS_1998 Item# 54132