Our drought is over, if we even had one. It was beginning to look like it until mid-December. No more. The precipitation total stood at 68 inches as of mid-March, and more is coming. Snow, hail, and more snow into March was a rare surprise but the grapevines are still sleeping so no problem.
The 2003 vintage of Mayacamas Chardonnay, now available, has our usual fresh and slightly lemony tone with a suggestion of pear, almond and wood. And, again as is normal, it will gain depth and complexity for several more years even though we are much enjoying it now. The University of California at Davis winemaking department did a series of tastings to test matching of wine and cheese. Their surprise conclusion was that most cheeses go better with white wine than with red. My extensive testing indicates that Mayacamas Chardonnay fills the bill nicely.
This year’s Sauvignon Blanc offering, the 2004 vintage, has a distinct green apple cast to it, as well as slight hints of mint. Its fresh grape character pervades the aroma and flavor, leading to a flowery finish. Drink now and for the next several years.
Mayacamas Merlot 2001, now for sale, is the tenth one we have released. When we started bottling Merlot with the 1992 vintage, we were not sure that it would become a permanent fixture with us. But, it obviously is and for just the reason we had hoped. Its mountain intensity and depth of character give it the structure to develop in the bottle, not the case with many wines made from this variety. Cherry, tobacco and currant come to mind in the nose and mouth. Delicious now, it will offer even more in four or five more years.
Our re-release Chardonnay this spring is the 2000 vintage. A favorite around here from the get-go, it still pleases us greatly. Now in its prime, it has developed the smooth round mouth feel and deep, rich mineral flavor we strive for.
This vintage is not a typo. Our 1970 Zinfandel (yes 1970) is now available. And, even more amazing, this is not a re-release for we have never sold this wine before. It has never gone through malo-lactic fermentation so the acidity has always been very high and the wine was therefore very tart and puckery when young. Thirty-five and a half years of aging has allowed it to settle down and be enjoyed while the high acid has kept it alive, fresh and fruity. I just wish I was holding up this well. Be sure to drink this wine sometime within the next two hundred years. Well, actually, the corks are getting a little old so I would drink it in the next five years. Ullage has developed, as it always does, due to evaporation of wine through and by the cork so fill levels are a little low in these bottles. And, it has thrown considerable deposit. Incredibly youthful, it is probably the youngest oldest Zinfandel you will ever encounter.
We have been invited to do two Mayacamas wine dinners this spring. The first will be at the Newport Beach Bristol Farms on May 12. Those interested should call (949) 760-6514 for information and reservations. The second one will be at Fior d’Italia restaurant in San Francisco on May 25. The number to call there is (415) 986-1886.
Saul Steinberg once said “wine is the only thing that makes us happy as adults for no reason.” Be happy everybody!