Old School Napa Chardonnay for the Cellar

Today’s Story: Mayacamas Vineyards

Mayacamas was established in 1889 by German immigrant John Henry Fisher and is located in the Mt. Veeder AVA of the Napa Valley. Fisher went bankrupt in the early 1900s, however, and the winery ceased production with the onset of Prohibition (although bootleggers are said to have made wine in the cellars during the early years). Mayacamas was owned by the Brandlin family during the 1920s and 1930s, before being purchased by Jack and Mary Taylor in 1941 when the estate received its current name. Mayacamas changed hands yet again in 1968 when Robert and Elinor Travers purchased it, with the couple quickly setting about expanding the aging facilities and vineyard holdings while planting and replanting vines. Charles and Ali Banks purchased Mayacamas in 2007, though the winery has since changed hands again to the Schottenstein family.

Though the history of Mayacamas is long and inclusive of many ownership changes, the one constant is the traditional style of winemaking they practice. Mayacamas was one of the wines in the 1976 Judgment of Paris (they poured their 1971 Cabernet Sauvignon) which showed the estate can stand up with the greatest Californian and French wines of the world. Mayacamas dry farms their vineyards and transitioned a large portion to organic viticulture in 2013, further enhancing the quality of fruit. Very traditional in style, they age the wines in neutral oak to not mask any of the true expressions of the Cabernet Sauvignon variety or the terroir.

I previously wrote about Mayacamas when I reviewed the 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon last June.

Today’s Wine: 2019 Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay; 14% ABV

The 2019 Chardonnay is pale gold in color and transparent. 30 to 40 minutes in the glass does the wine wonders at this youthful stage. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing aromas of green apple, ripe pear, lemon zest, melon rind, honeysuckle, flint, and minerality reminiscent of finely crushed rock. Meanwhile the flavors are also pronounced, with the palate displaying notes of Granny Smith apple skins, lime pith, poached pear, chamomile, wet stone, mild white pepper, and almond. This dry white is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $50. I think this is very well-priced and offers solid value. The intensity, complexity, and structure bode well for the longer term and this is made in a very old school style which I love.

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