deeply concentrated and wonderfully complex aromas of black plum, crushed boysenberry, ripe olallieberry, fig, earth, baking spices and chocolate.


On the dense, weighty palate, the wine delivers intense, mouthfilling, blackberry, black cherry, boysenberry and forest-floor spice flavors supported by supple, chewy tannins and a long, mouth-coating finish enriched by dark chocolate and toasted oak tones

Growing Conditions

The topsy-turvy 2008 growing season seesawed from heavy winter rains to early spring drought to severe frosts in late March and throughout April. Coupled with inclement weather during bloom and stress-inducing heat during grape set, these conditions significantly reduced the size of the grape crop throughout Napa Valley, greatly concentrating flavors. Clear, mild summer weather, with warm days and cool nights, provided ideal conditions for fully maturing our Dancing Bear Ranch grapes, which were harvested on October 1st with a perfect balance of sugar and acidity.


With Dancing Bear Ranch, the challenge for Cakebread Cellars winemaker Julianne Laks is to capture the intense mountain character of its fruit without extracting overly aggressive tannins. Julianne’s approach is to constantly monitor tannin levels in the juice and wine during fermentation and maceration. She also co-ferments a portion of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to soften the former’s tannins and enhance the wine’s complexity, a technique used successfully in 2008. After all the component lots of the 2008 Dancing Bear Ranch had achieved an optimal balance of fruit intensity and ripe tannins, the free run wines were drained from their skins and transferred to barrel for aging prior to blending in spring, 2009. In all, the 2008 vintage spent 21 months in French oak, 45% new, before being bottled in August, 2010.


21 months in French oak, 45% new