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Review of the Cakebread 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay

 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay


Appellation: Napa Valley
Price: $37
ALC: 14.5%
Haydn gives this wine: 93pts
You can buy this wine at:

A staple in the Napa Valley, Cakebread recently released a new Chardonnay into their wine portfolio. The2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay (they also make anAnderson Valley Chardonnay) was recently bottled and is now available to the world.

The beauquet on this wine is beautiful. I’m delighted that the acidity is a bit higher than what you’d normally expect out of a California (let alone a Napa Valley) Chardonnay. The butter bandit, if he is there, is hiding out on the nose. My initial thought when I took a quick whiff was apples and pears, with a little butter, but not much at all. I imagine this well-balanced nose is due to the nearly 10% of the wine going through a stainless steel fermentation.

The mid-palate displays the typical butterness sensation, but without the characteristic oakiness. The butter is still very mild and melts easily on your tongue. A slight amount of tannins, however they are very very weak. This is partially due to the fact that Cakebread ran the wine through both neutral & new french oak. The oak is needed, but it’s not over the top.

If you’re looking for a great Chardonnay to have before dinner or with a good friend, this wine is for you. You can easily drink this solo, or with food. Closing my eyes, I could see a Fettuccine Alfredo, or any other dish with a cream sauce; possibly cooked oysters with a clam sauce. The small amount of acidity is what works with the thicker sauces.

This wine could use a little more time to lay down. The small amount of tannins present will dissipate in about 6-8 months I’m guesstimating. However, the wine is still ready to drink now.


Haydn Adams is the author of the book, Wineries Beyond Napa Valley: Dry Creek and Alexander Valley, an insider’s tasting guide to the hidden gems region. He also contributes to the Beyond Napa Valley Wine Blog, writes for, and can be found roaming the hills of Sonoma County looking for the next hidden gems. You can contact him at