Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
#1 wine in VinePair's Top 50 of 2018
High on the slopes of Mount Veeder, Mayacamas Vineyards has been a source of legendary California wine since 1889. Since the 1950’s the vinification and élevage of Mayacamas remains remarkably consistent and our continued commitment to employ classical techniques and tools is integral to the character of these wines. The mountain terroir at Mayacamas ranges from 1,800 to 2,400 feet in elevation and the estate spans 475 acres, only 50 of which are dedicated to vine.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Aromas of blackcurrant, mushroom, wet earth and bark follow through to a full body, chewy tannins and a stone, berry, chili and spice aftertaste. Muscular and chunky. Very serious. Almost no new oak. This shows the Mayacamas DNA.
This release marks 125 years of winemaking at the estate. With a highly skilled team, including new Napa Winemaker Braiden Albrecht and Consulting Winemaker Andy Erikson, this red is reminiscent of an Old World style with its lower alcohol (13.3%) and high acidity. Dusky aromas include leather, espresso, and olives. The palate is an assertive force with flavors of mountain brush, sour black cherry, and mocha. The team utilizes a combination of cement vat fermenters, open-top foudres and stainless steel, aging the wine 32 months in neutral oak, 20 months in large-format foudres, and 12 months in barriques.
After transitioning from Bob Travers’s long reign at this 465-acre mountain estate, Mayacamas comes to its 125th vintage under the organic viticultural practices of Phil Coturri and the winemaking skills of Andy Erickson. They continue to present the wine as a muscular, youthfully impenetrable cabernet, harvested on the early side of ripeness, requiring long development in the cellar. It’s built like a marathon runner, austere in the power of its mountain-grown tannins, formidable in its foresty red-berry fruit. Dense, tight and herbal, it needs ten to 20 years to fully reveal itself.
Robert and Elinor Travers, Californians both, bought Mayacamas Vineyards in 1968. Bob Travers has created wines of classical, balanced, intense, and deeply authentic character for the more than four decades hence. The roster of former winemakers, assistants, and viticulturalists at Mayacamas runs deep, and today Bob Travers and his son, Chris Travers, continue to specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, with small lots of similarly classically structured Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc also produced.
Centered at the peak for which it is named, Mount Veeder is Napa’s largest sub-AVA. But even though the entire appellation spreads over 16,000 acres, vineyards cover a mere 1,000. Scattered among Douglas firs and bristlecone pines, Mount Veeder vineyards extend south from the upper elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains—the highest point at 2,400 feet—to the border of the Carneros region. Less than 25 wineries produce wine from Mount Veeder fruit.
Winemaking began early in this appellation. In 1864, Captain Stelham Wing presented the first Mount Veeder wine to the Napa County Fair; it came from today’s Wing Canyon Vineyard. Prohibition, of course, halted winemaking and viticulture wasn’t revitalized until the founding of Mayacamas Vineyards in 1951 and Bernstein Vineyards in 1964.
The Bernstein Vineyards was actually home to the first Petit Verdot in California, planted in 1975. Today most of the Petit Verdot in Napa Valley originates from this vineyard.
Rocky volcanic clay and ancient seabed matter dominate Mount Veeder soils—perfect for Bordeaux varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot enjoy spectacular success. These varieties produce wines rich in brambly blackberry and black cherry fruit with herbal and floral aromatics. Structures are moderate to assertive and wines have great staying power.
Chardonnay from Mount Veeder is lush, full and balanced mineral and fresh citrus flavors.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.