Food & Drink

These wines take the cake

“In vino veratis” is a well-traveled Latin saying that translates to “in wine there is truth.” This phrase originated during Roman times because public officials believed that if they drank wine during meetings it would be easier to discern if someone was untruthful. Today I would say that the truth can usually be found in the bottle.

Layer Cake makes several wines that taste quite nice, but it is hard to guess the price.

Layer Cake Wines are unique for several reasons, least of which is that they are produced in four of the top wine-growing regions in the world: Napa Valley, Calif.; McLaren Vale, Australia; Mendoza, Argentina; and Puglia, Italy. Layer Cake’s founder and winemaker, Jayson Woodbridge, named the wines from something his grandfather used to tell him “the wine, if properly made, was like a great layer cake, fruit, mocha, chocolate, and hints of spice — and rich, always rich.”

Layer Cake wines are also unique in that each of the different wines is produced using 100 percent of the same type of grape. The idea behind Layer Cake was to produce wines that tasted like they were in the $60 range, but retail between $15 and $25 a bottle.

The 2008 Layer Cake Shiraz looks very deep and dark in color, with a nice aroma of plum. This powerful Shiraz contains a lot of black fruit, and I could taste a significant amount of cherry, all the way to a smooth finish. This wine is produced in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia, an area that is renowned for Shiraz.

The 2007 Layer Cake Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon contains aromas of black currant, and tasted quite creamy and soft with flavors of dark fruit and mocha. Although I didn’t taste this wine with food, it was very obvious that it would be excellent alongside a grilled steak. This Cabernet is priced at the upper end of the range.

The 2007 Layer Cake Primitivo that hails from Puglia, Italy, required some time to open up, but once it did, it tasted of ripe plums and white pepper. These flavors should not come as much of a surprise, as the Primitivo grape is identical to the Zinfandel.

I thought the 2007 Layer Cake Malbec proved to be extremely elegant, with copious flavors of black fruits and a long, spicy finish. This is definitely a wine that would complement just about any roasted meats. The grapes used to make this wine were grown in Mendoza, Argentina — an area that produces some of the best Malbec anywhere in the world.

In closing out the year, I offer a toast using words attributed to John Wayne — “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” Salut!!

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at