Today’s Story: Mayacamas Vineyards
Mayacamas Vineyards 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. The Mayacamas portfolio also includes classically-made Chardonnay and Merlot.
I previously reviewed the 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2019 Chardonnay from Mayacamas.
Today’s Wine: 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 12.75% ABV
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is deep ruby in color, still rather youthful in appearance. I decanted this for two hours, as it’s still a very fresh, lively, and youthful wine. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of redcurrant, dried blueberry, brambly blackberry, red plum, anise, violet, cigar box, graphite, pencil shavings, forest floor, charred green bell pepper, eucalyptus, clay, and cedar. Flavors meanwhile are of medium (+) intensity, though the complex palate offers notes of black cherry, redcurrant and blackcurrant, blueberry, crushed violet, licorice, dried tobacco, black truffle, charcoal, cedar spill, and mild baking spice. This dry red is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Superb wine for the vintage, and I look forward to trying it again in 3 to 5 years.
Price: $150. Given the outstanding quality, balance, length, intensity, and complexity of this wine I think this is a very fair price. The 2011s released from Mayacamas last year and finding this with the age and provenance makes for a great buy.
If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.