Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Mayacamas 2001 Merlot

Mayacamas Vineyards

2001 Merlot
(Napa Valley)

Bob Travers is always behind his winemaking colleagues. Not necessarily behind in competence, mind you (after all, he taught and mentored many of them), but behind in his release regimen. While most of the rest of the Napa Valley is busy this time of year sending their 2003 reds to market, the Mayacamas vintner still has his 2001 Merlot out there.

That’s because Travers believes in the old-fashioned way of making wine. That is, he dry farms his vineyard at the 2,000-foot elevation on Mount Veeder; he almost always brings his wines in at under the “magical” 14-percent alcohol mark; and he waits and waits and waits to release them.

Even at that, most of his reds, upon release, need many years in the cellar to come to maturity; but not necessarily with this one. Perhaps it’s because it’s mostly Merlot and not Cabernet, the wine is surprisingly smooth now with warm black cherry fruit and fine-grained tannins. There’s tar, minerals, cinnamon and clove aromas with some plum flavors also.

So, go ahead and drink it now but it will continue to age over the next dozen years. The wine spent a half-year in large oak casks and another 18 months in smaller barrels. Oh, and did I tell you that the listed alcohol is 13.5 percent? That’s an almost unheard-of number in a red wine from the Napa Valley these days. There were less than 350 cases produced.

Reviewed September 26, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.

Other reviewed wines from Mayacamas Vineyards


The Wine

Winery: Mayacamas Vineyards
Vintage: 2001
Wine: Merlot
Appellation: Napa Valley
Grapes: Merlot (91%), Cabernet Sauvignon (9%)
Price: 750ml $35.00

Review Date: 9/26/2006

The Reviewer

Alan Goldfarb

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.