Cakebread Merlot Review

From Napa Valley, California, Cakebread Merlot is a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Per the winemaker, 93% of the grapes for Cakebread Merlot came from the northern part of Napa Valley.  The remaining 7% came from the cooler Carneros area to the south.

Blending the two allowed this Cakebread Merlot wine to be rich, yet balanced by crisp acidity and bright fruit.

Also, according to Cakebread Cellars, the 2009 crop resulted in smaller berries with more concentrated flavors.  The grapes were harvested between August 31st and October 12th, that year.

Cakebread Merlot Tasting

Cakebread MerlotSample received for review purposes.

For this tasting, it was myself and two close friends with discriminating palates.

We tasted the 2009 vintage of this wine on its own first and then paired it with food.


To start, the wine appeared very dark in the glass.  Deep rich Merlot in color and quite thick.  Light did not penetrate though this wine.

It was very leggy in the glass, with legs appearing quickly and en masse.


The aroma was extremely lofty and very enjoyable.  We described it as earthy and buttery.  One taster said it reminded him of pine bark mulch or moldy firewood.

It should be stated that the aroma was very pleasant.

Little to no alcohol was noticed in the nose.

Cakebread Merlot alcohol content 14.1% by volume per the bottle.


On the palate, Cakebread Merlot was heavy in flavor and of dark fruit.  A little oaky along with a classic flavor of rich Merlot.  Black cherry and plum were also noted.


The mouthfeel was described by one as buttermilk and as cotton balls by another.


The wine finished medium to long.  Good smooth tannins were noted all over the mouth.

Overall Opinion

Overall we gave a collective thumbs-up on this wine.  It’s a bit pricey but if you’re looking for a fabulous Merlot, Cakebread Cellars is hard to beat.

One taster said, “I could drink a whole bottle of this!”

We felt the flavors were well balanced and harmonious.

With Food Pairing

For a food pairing, we went with a smooth brie.

By muting the wine’s acidity a bit, the cheese even further exposed the wine’s fruit.  It allowed the Cakebread Merlot sweetness to charge forward.

Highly recommend!

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