Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro is one of the most underrated wine bars in the region. The food is consistently excellent and wine list is phenomenal. Jason, the manager of Vinifera, has a lot of contacts in the wine industry and those contacts are reflected in the unique selection of wines.
A few weeks ago Vinifera hosted a wine dinner featuring wines from Cakebread Cellars and hosted by Dennis Cakebread.
In addition to being a great winemaker, Dennis Cakebread is an entertaining story teller. Between each course he talked about the wine, answered questions, and shared stories about the wine.
It was great to get perspective on the Napa wine industry from a winemaking legend. He continually referred to most Napa Chardonnays as being produced by "Château 2 x 4". He also talked at length about night harvesting and the perils of biodynamic winemaking.
The story that really captured everyone's attention was the origin of the name Cakebread. The Cakebread family hired a genealogist to determine the origins of their family name. The name originates from a type of peasant food that was popular in England in the middle ages. The genealogist was able to track down a recipe and share it with the Cakebreads, who thought it would be cool to make it and serve it in the tasting room as a signature dish.
The only problem is that peasants in England in the middle ages did not eat very well, and Cakebread is awful.
Fortunately, the wine and food that evening were significantly better. Which shouldn't be a surprise. Cakebread Cellars makes excellent wines. For the dinner we were able to try the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Chardonnay Reserve, 2007 Zinfandel, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2007 Dancing Bear Ranch.
The standout for me was the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine received a 90 point score from both Wine Spectator and Robert Parker and had aromas of plum, cassis and tobacco. It was a nicely balanced wine with good black fruit up front and a soft finish with well-structured tannins.
The wine paired extremely well with the veal chop stuffed it's smoked shallots and cauliflower purée and purple potatoes that Chef Bo chose to pair it with.
I also really liked the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, it is a light wine with green apple and citrus notes. It is a bright wine, with lots of effervescence. Great fruit and acidity make this a really enjoyable wine.