Mayacamas Vineyards2000 Chardonnay
(Mount Veeder ~ Napa Valley)
Bob Travers has been making wine on Mount Veeder – mostly the same way – since 1969. His reds are notorious for their longevity, probably the longest-lived California wines, because of their big tannins. But did you know that Mayacamas’ Chardonnays are also made to go the distance?
It’s because of the regimen Travers employs on all of his wines: he does not irrigate his 2,000-foot high vineyard, he uses very little new oak and, as was the case with this Chardonnay, he didn’t use malolactic fermentation nor sur-lie aging. In other words, Travers allows the true expression of the vineyard and the grapes to stand on their own.
We like that, especially in a modern world where manipulation of wines in the vineyard and the cellar is de rigueur. Or as Travers told me, “It gets lonely sometimes,” making true wines.
Because of his practices, and as with many wines that have some age, allow this one to breathe for about 15 minutes so that the “bottle stink” blows off. Those of you who are not used to older Chardonnays don’t be put off, because the rewards are many as you unfurl this beauty.
The wine is only slightly oxidized, as one would expect from a six-year-old Chardonnay, but this only adds to the patina of complexity. Don’t worry it has about another five good years of life. As you drink it – hopefully with some rich, buttery dish – the wine is beautifully round, viscous, and lush.
It is common practice for Travers to hold back a certain amount of his wines because he knows their various stages. Thus, he re-released about 150 cases of this Chardonnay about three months ago. Alas, there are only about 50 remaining.
The wine was aged for six months in 1,000-gallon casks and then for a year in French barrels, only 10 percent of which were new. Travers thinks there might have been one American barrel used here “but it won’t show up much.” The listed alcohol is 14¼ percent.
Reviewed August 6, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Other reviewed wines from Mayacamas Vineyards
(Mount Veeder ~ Napa Valley)Alan Goldfarb 8/23/2007
(Napa Valley)Alan Goldfarb 9/26/2006
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.