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Sep 2, 2006 03:31 AM

2003 Cakebread Pinot Noir

My husband and I picked up half of case of this last year at the winery. When do you suggest it will be ready to drink? TIA.

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  1. I think pinots are better "young" than old. You should probably try a bottle now and see what you think.

    1. to amend that statement, most california pinots are better young than old, specifically because of the lower acid/tannin levels incorporated into most california winemaking styles. burgundies are long lived primarily because they are made to be that way (ie, high acid, high tannin). they aren't generally very accessible at a young age, and the french are unapologetic about this, citing an impatient new world consumer populace. california, for the most part, has bowed to the demand for wine which is drinkable a few years after bottling. this is especially apparent in pinot noir these days, as the ripple effect from sideways gets people who would normally drink merlot/cab/fruit bomb of your choice to ask for pinot instead (and expect the flavor profile of a fruit bomb). as such, the cakebread probably won't be fabulous for many many years, but should age well for another 4-5 years or so. my advice would be to take rtmonty's advice--try one of your cakebreads now, and continue to drink them in increments--see how the wine progresses. that's the fun part of buying in quantity.

      1. As stated above, I'd opt for a couple now, a couple in a year, and the last two even farther down the road. Depending on what YOU like, there should be almost three different wines over time. As more CA PNs are fruit-driven, than WA/OR, or FR PNs, you should find a nice, fruity PN, with good structure from Cakebread now. Given a year, the fruit will recede, but the structure should still be there. By two additional years in the cellar, the fruit should take a backseat to other nuances, earth, mushroom, damp forest floor, but will probably still be more noticeable, than with a WA/OR PN. Nothing wrong with any of these stages. They are just different. I usaually pick up a case, or two, of the Acacia, Central Coast PN for everyday PN drinking, but find that I normally like it best with a year+ in the cellar. It still holds up nicely at 5 years (if there is any left), but it is a different wine. The Acacia is, IMHO, a bit less refined, than is the Cakebread, upon release.

        Not to argue with HeelsSoxHound, but I'd typify CA PNs as fruit-forward, or fruit-driven, as opposed to "fruit bombs." I personally find that term more appropriate with some Zins and Syrah/Shiraz that are "over the top." PN, being the grape that it is, never can be done in quite that style. However, as was pointed out, compared to a good Burg, it will be a totally different style PN. Back in the very late 70's and early 80's, UC Davis espoused some heavy extraction techniques to get a much fuller body from PN. Some winemakers (mostly UCD grads) tried. The recipe was all wrong for this grape. I've had some that were nearly 30 years in bottle, that were so tannic, as to rip the enamel off of your teeth. PN does not do heavy extraction well. Differences in clones and differences in ripness levels are probably the major differences. And then, there is the terroir, which PN seems to embrace and showcase so very well.


        1. all too true, my friend. i suppose i was using a little hyperbole to make a point in this case. that said, i did go to a very strange luncheon this past spring that featured martinelli pinots made by helen turley. not one of them under 15%, and no spittoons to be found--a bit of a snafu on a tuesday afternoon! i think that that is probably an outlier, though i would point to testarossa, flowers, and even gary farrell as making very largish pinots which certainly don't go in my book as "varietally correct."

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          1. re: HeelsSoxHound

            and I just learned from Eric Asimov's wine blog that CA wines need to have only 75% of a grape to carry the varietal label--even PN! That fruitness and alcohol might be from up to 25% merlot in the mix!

            Yet another reason why I don't drink much CA wine. To be fair, the principle reason is ignorance: I drink mostly inexpensive wines, and I haven't found many cheap CA wines that I like. I have found that cheap stuff from the old world is much better than from the new world...South America maybe being the exception.