TN: 2005 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder)

  • 2005 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder (10/27/2011)
    Really enjoyed this wine. Popped a .375 about 2 hours before dinner and then directly in the glass. A dark wine with a beautiful blood red color. Very aromatic which was a little surprising given its youth. On the palate it reminded me of Napa in the 80s with a nice balance between fruit and acidity. Tannins were present, but not dominant. The only hesitation I have is the use of oak. I’m not averse to oak, but there was more than I anticipated. That being said, I’m going back for more as I think the oak will integrate with a little more time and even if it doesn’t it was still a very nice wine.

Posted from CellarTracker

Huh, slightly surprised to hear about the oak. I’d always thought of Mayacamas as pretty traditional.

These wines are always really traditionally made with a lot of the wine aging for a year in oak tank before even going down to barrel. I am sure there is some new oak used (and Mayacamas still actually uses the more aggressive American Oak in limited amounts), but I have not noted excessive new oak given the youth of the wines, and more specifically I did not find this wine over-oaked. This is classically modeled Cabernet and I find the new wood to be understated-- even in the realm of its old-guard Corison, Togni, Foreman, Dunn, counterparts. Love Mayacamas! Gonna open some late 70’s Late-Harvest Zin tomorrow night.

I definitely wouldn’t characterize this as “over oaked”, just more oak than I anticipated.

I’ll try and post a pic of their oak tanks they use from a tour I went on a few years back. Funky looking stuff - I loved the 05 Cab and bought a magnum that I intend to open a few decades from now.

The pictures don’t do the room justice - it looks medieval (a positive thing IMHO) with mold and funk everywhere.

I too am surprised that that the wine would be oaky. Their cab is aged for 18 months in 1000 gallon old oak foudres, then 6-12 months in small oak barrels, only a small portion of which is new. Then they hold back the bottled wine for a while, so that I think the 06 is the current release, while for most of Napa it’s 08 or 09 right now. I haven’t tried the 05 yet but I thought the 04 was great.

Peter is right that the barrel room is pretty cool, some of those giant oak foudres have been used for decades. It’s a great place to visit if you don’t mind a long, windy drive up the hill.

I wasn’t planning on opening my bottles for another 10 years or so. Surprised people are already popping these.

It was just a .375 and I like to buy a one each year just to see the vintage differences and how much I want to buy. I liked this so I went and bought 3 more at Vons 30% off sale. With the $15 off coupon and the discount, the price per bottle was $45. [dance-clap.gif]

Peter, thanks for the photos and description.

What is involved with visiting and tasting there? How was the experience? My dad is very fond of their wines, and I’d love to take him there sometime. We drove by it up in the mountains once, but it didn’t look like they took visitors.

Opened a 75 Mayacamas and a 96 Mayacamas, last night to chart aging profiles. I was amazed at 2 things - 1) How youthful the 75 was and 2) How the profiles were so amazingly similar. It is not that the wine has taken on notes that were previously not present (the infamous tertiary aromas) it was more that the notes themselves became more subtle, nuanced and blended. In many ways it seemed like the 96 was the 75 with the volume turned up significantly. As to the flavor profiles, I would not say that either wine was overtly fruit driven. Lots of cedar and graphite, bakers spices and smoke, with blended notes of brambly mountain fruit. A definite crushed gravel element on the mid palate into the finish. Still great length and staying power for a 3 hour meal with no drop off. Both are amazing wines and worth pursuing, IMHO. Glad I have more!

You need an appointment, as they don’t have a standard tasting room. There’s no charge, or at least wasn’t a year or so ago. They were extraordinarily nice to us when we were there, even though we were running about a half hour late. We tasted through most of the current releases as well as the 80 and 81 cabs (the 81 is fantastic) with one of the assistant winemakers (whose name I unfortunately can’t remember, now), which was great as we a had a nice conversation with him about the wines and the wine-making. He then showed us over the whole property, including the barrel room, the building with the bottling line (which I think also doubles as the library storage), etc. Parts of the buildings are more than 100 years old I think. There’s also a pretty nice view up there.

Loren, glad to hear a good report on the 96, as I have one those stashed away.

Chris - we needed an appointment but there was no tasting charge and we got to taste some slightly older stuff like 01 Merlot and an older Chard, if memory serves.

My favorite California tasting experience bar none, given the tour they give you. Some more pics:

Another shot of the barrel room.

Some merlot coming in.

And the wines we tasted, the 2001 Merlot isn’t shown but I loved it and bought a bottle or two.

00 Chard
07 Chard
01 Merlot
06 Merlot
05 Cabernet out of mag

The drive isn’t for the faint of heart, those in a rush or those who might get car sick.