Return to Cakebread (or Why You Should Always Share the Good Stuff)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This past Valentine's Day I wanted to crack open a special bottle of wine with my sweetheart. As I thought about the bottles I had on hand, only one came to mind as being "really special". And it wasn't necessarily the most expensive. It was a 2005 Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon.

Why is Cakebread so special to me? I guess when I look back and think about one wine that got me into wine, it was a bottle of 1997 Cakebread Cellars Benchland Select. My wife Deanna and I were newly married, living in Belmont, and just started drinking more wine than beer. I mentioned to my friend Michael Munsey that we were starting to enjoy wine, and the next time he stopped by he brought a couple of nicer bottles. One was the 1997 Cakebread (see the cork pictured above next to the 2005 we opened this past weekend.) The other was a 1997 Groth Cabernet.

I remember drinking those two bottles of wine between the three of us as being a turning point in my appreciation for wine. It was *fantastic*- truly a cut above the wines we'd typically drink from Estancia, Turning Leaf, Clos du Bois, Blackstone, or Robert Mondavi Coastal and the like. I remember scoffing at Michael's suggestion that if we ever saw Cakebread Cab in a wine store for $50 to pick it up because it was a great find. $50 I thought! Ha! I'd never spend that much on a bottle of wine.

Cakebread Cab is very hard to come by in MA. Lately, I've seen it only in restaurants. While out for lunch the other day at The Capital Grille I saw it on the menu for $165 a bottle. The bottle we had the other night came from a wine shop in California from a business trip- $62 plus tax. The stuff flows like water out there- they've got Cakebread at the gift shops at SFO! I kid you not.

Maybe it's the relative scarcity. Maybe it's the label. Maybe it's the wine. Whatever it is, Cakebread is just the one wine that gets me excited about opening the bottle. And it didn't disappoint the other night- it was just as good as I remember it being; and distinctive too. I gave it 93 points, non-blind of course.

Above all, what I remember most about the wines Michael brought over is the generosity of a friend sharing a couple of *really* nice bottles of wine with us. How many times have you heard about people not breaking out "the good stuff" for their guests that "wouldn't appreciate it"? How many times have you heard of hosts drinking better wine than they serve their guests? Paying Michael's example of generosity forward, my policy is to break open the good stuff whenever possible with anyone, so long as they don't voice an objection to wine appreciation. You never know when you might be the person who influences a friend to become more interested in wine.

I hope to have Michael here on the WWP to share his thoughts on wine as an Esteemed Contributor in the near future. I think he would bring some valuable insight that you'd all appreciate. Until then...

Related Reading:
Question of the Day: What's the one wine brand that does it for you?


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