Robert Parker Review
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch, a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot from Howell Mountain, is a superstar of the vintage. Beautiful notes of graphite, mulberries, blueberries and blackberries jump from the glass of this dense purple-colored 2012. Its full-bodied opulence, luscious texture, 45+-second finish, purity, texture and uncanny integration of all the component parts are beautiful to behold. This is a sensational, world-class Cabernet Sauvignon to drink early in life, or cellar for 10-15+ years.
Critics Challenge
98 Points - Platinum Award, Wine of the Year and Best Red
For more than 30 years the Cakebread name has been synonymous with outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. Founder Jack Cakebread had the vision, which he has passed along to his sons, Dennis and Bruce, who've taken that vision and run with it. So a once good thing is now even better. The Cakebread's Dancing Bear Ranch, situated on a west-facing slope of Howell Mountain, has emerged under Bruce and Dennis as one of Napa's most impressive sites for Cabernet. The 2012 is a monumental wine that should continue to improve over the next 20 years and then some. It shows classic notes of cassis and blackberry, with a note of cedar and oak vanillin. In the land of great Cabernet, this is without a doubt one of the finest.  Platinum award winner at the 2015 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition. Robert Whitley
Robert Parker online 96+ POINTS
The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch is a Howell Mountain blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Merlot. This prodigious 2010 tastes like a cross between a great Napa Cab and a top-notch Chateau Latour (no joke!). Wonderful notes of graphite, crushed rock, black currants and blackberries as well as stunning purity, terrific precision and a full-bodied mouthfeel that lingers for 50+ seconds make for a modern day classic. This iconic wine should last 30 or more years.
Drink: 2013 - 2043 Wine Advocate #209, Oct 2013
Robert Parker logo 94+ POINTS 2002 Cabernet Retrospective
The riper, more showy 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch is gorgeous. Nearly 100% Cabernet Sauvignon with a tiny dollop of Cabernet Franc, it boasts an inky/purple color as well as copious notes of bay leaf, espresso, blackberry liqueur, vanilla, flowers and crushed rocks. Rich, full-bodied, exuberant and opulent, this sensational Howell Mountain effort should improve even more over the next 5-10 years and last for two more decades. Drink: 2017-2037 Wine Advocate #201, June 2012
Robert Parker logo 94+ POINTS
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Dancing Bear Ranch, from a vineyard on Howell Mountain, is the darkest and deepest of these offerings from Cakebread. Sweet grilled herbs, flowers, oak and raspberry jam are some of the nuances that emerge from this vivid, textured wine. It possesses striking inner perfume and fabulous balance from start to finish. This is all power and class. In 2008 the final blend includes 5% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023. Wine Advocate #198, December 2011
San Diego International Wine Comp

Rating 96
"The 29th edition of the San Diego International Wine Competition, staged the weekend of March 10-11, was clearly a case of colliding cliches." Our 2008 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded "Best of Class" for Cabernet Sauvignons.

Michael Franz, a judge at the event, these notes: "This is a show-stopper. It is broodingly dark and very dense on the palate, and yet the wine is extremely generous in both aroma and flavor, with a soft texture that proves more inviting than forbidding. The fruit notes are all dark in tone--blackberry and black current--and yet again there’s a soft sweetness and a textural roundness that is enduringly endearing. Obviously this is a big-ticket wine, but also one that really delivers the goods. Platinum award winner at the San Diego International Wine Competition". Michael Franz

Robert Parker logo

The dense purple-colored 2007 Dancing Bear Ranch Proprietary Red reveals more chocolate fudge and coffee notes. It does not have the nuances or complexity of the Benchland Select or the sheer joy of the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, but there is a lot going on in this cuvee. Slightly monolithic, it is well-endowed, rich and full, so my rating may be slightly conservative. Wine Advocate #192, December 2010


Winemaker Challenge

Gold Medal
January 2012, found 21 judges tasting over 800 wines from 12 countries in the third International Winemaker Challenge held in San Diego, CA. Cakebread Cellars' 2007 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon from our Estate on Howell Mountain received the gold medal.

The outstanding 2006 Dancing Bear Ranch Proprietary Red (79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc) is a medium-bodied, elegant Cabernet-based wine with a dense purple color as well as a sweet bouquet of loamy soil, crushed rock, black currant, plum, licorice, and a hint of subtle, well-integrated new oak. Approachable now, this 2006 promises to evolve for 12-15+ years. Drink: 2009 - 2024. - Wine Advocate #186, December 2009
Kansas City, Missouri
The Jefferson Cup
2009 Jefferson Cup Winner - 2006 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Invitational has celebrated its tenth year as the only competition that honors the best of the best among wineries from all of Americaís wine regions. Each year we select great wines from across America; the 2009 competition included wines from twenty-three states. At the end of the second day of this year's tasting, November 20th, wines from SIX different states had captured top honors. Just as the eventís namesake would have it, democracy reigned at this yearís Jefferson Cup Wine Competition. - The Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition November, 2009
San Diego Wine Competition - Silver Award
The 2006 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon features aromas of ripe black fruits, forest-floor spice, and rich fig and chocolate tones. On the beautifully structured palate, the wine delivers intensely concentrated blackberry, blackcurrant, wild cherry and ripe fig flavors balanced by firm acidity and round, silky tannins. Built for aging and with a deep core of fruit that unfolds in a lengthy, spice-and-mineral tinged finish, this dramatic mountain red makes compelling drinking now, yet its tight-knit structure argues for another 7-10 years of bottle age.

Our lovely 2006 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain has been awarded the silver medal by the judges of the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
The 2005 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon offers wonderful harmony, finesse and balance, with rich, ripe, supple tiers of spice, currant, black cherry and plummy Cabernet fruit that's pure, focused and long on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2015. - July 14, 2008
San Diego Wine Competition - Gold Sweepstakes Award
The 2009 Annual San Diego International Wine Competition has awarded our 2005 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon a Gold Sweepstakes award. Wine writer Robert Whitley has made some nice comments in his blog that you can view by clicking here.
The 2005 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is very dense and darkly pigmented, with exceptionally expressive aromatics and deep flavors, this is a big-time Cabernet that shows its potency at every turn. What is most impressive about it, however, is how gracefully all that power is expressed, and how seamlessly all of the component aromas and flavors are integrated with one another. The fruit notes of blackberries and black currents are very intense and very persistent on the palate, and the accent notes of vanilla, smoke and spices make this as enduringly interesting to taste as it is impressive. Awarded a gold medal in the San Diego International Wine Competition. - Michael Franz Apr 7, 2009
The judges have give the 2005 Dancing Bear Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain a Gold medal! The 2009 professional wine judging took place at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair during the week of January 5, 2009. Professional wine judges representing trade, education, media, retail, and restaurants throughout the United States evaluated a record 4,736 wines entered by wineries from across the country.
Silver Award
The Denver International Wine Competition just completed its 4th year this past September. Our 2005 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded a silver medal. This competition is the largest professionally run double-blind wine competition in the Rocky Mountain Region. The competition culminates with a three day festival Oct. 28 - Nov 1, 2008. For details and tickets to this festival, please see the website at
Silver Medal - 2005 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon