High in the Mayacamas Mountains that divide Napa and Sonoma, sits one of Napa’s oldest and most prestigious wineries, Mayacamas Vineyards.Constructed in 1889 by German immigrant John Henry Fisher, grapes have grown continuously at Mayacamas since the first vines were planted almost 130 years ago. When planting Chardonnay, cuttings were used from the Wente vineyard in Livermore. A clone that is now one of California’s most highly regarded.
During Prohibition, then-owners Pietro and Maria Marenco took advantage of Mayacamas’s conveniently remote cellar, using it to produce bootleg wine under the cover of legally made communion wine for the Catholic Church.
In 2013 the Schottenstein family purchased the property and invested heavily in both the winery and vineyards. They installed Andy Erickson as head winemaker and Phil Coturri to oversee the viticulture, the latter guiding the transition to fully organic farming. Erickson is somewhat of a superstar winemaker having worked with some of Napa Valley’s most notable brands, including Harlan, Staglin, and Screaming Eagle.
A nod to the mountain range on which it stands, the word Mayacamas comes from the local indigenous language, meaning “the howl of the mountain lion.” The winery pays homage to this definition by featuring two lions within the “M” on its labels.
In 2017, the mountain environment nearly destroyed the estate when the California wildfires ravaged Napa County, reaching the borders of the Mayacamas estate, claiming a couple of rows of vines and one of the property’s historic outbuildings. Thankfully, the rest of the vineyards and the original 1889 winery remained untouched by the fires.
Mayacamas has become one of Napa's most celebrated wineries, with huge demand to join their mailing list, and today we're delighted to be able to offer the 2021 Mayacamas Chardonnay.
At Mayacamas they use concrete fermenters and older, larger casks which have only a small flavour impact on the wine. Without small new-oak barrels and malolactic fermentation, many stereotypical California Chardonnay profiles – weight, butteriness, vanilla – cease to exist, allowing the grape and site to shine.
This wine will be arriving into AMFW towards the end of the year, so do get in touch if you would like to order and I can confirm subject to remaining unsold.
Mayacamas Vineyards Chardonnay 2021£564 per case 12
95 Points | Antonio Galloni, Vinous
The 2021 Chardonnay is a rich, phenolic wine that shows just how distinctive this site is. Rich and layered, with striking intensity, the 2021 is lights out today. Lemon oil, almond, dried flowers and earthy undertones open beautifully with aeration. Drink 2024-2031.
Also available from Mayacamas: