The steep rocky slopes of the vineyards at Mayacamas yield small crops of tiny grapes. This small fruit is intensely flavored and results in very full character development in the wines. Winemaker Robert Travers designs winemaking procedures to preserve this intensity.
About 1,500 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon are made each year. Small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Merlot (generally totaling 10% to 15% of the final wine) are blended into the Cabernet Sauvignon. Seven to fourteen days of fermentation on the grape skins are preceded by crushing and destemming. The grapes are then pressed and racked several times in the next few weeks. Two years of large American oak cask aging is followed by a year in 60 gallon French oak barrels. After bottling, these wines are given an additional two years of aging in the bottle before being released for sale at about five years of age. Full development requires many more years. We recommend that Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon be consumed at twelve to twenty five years of age although some vintages will be at or near their best for even longer.
Annual production of Chardonnay also averages nearly 1,500 cases. It is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes. Pressing is accomplished immediately after crushing and destemming. Cool fermentation follows and lasts about three weeks. Secondary malolactic fermentation is not induced. Then Mayacamas Chardonnay is given several rackings and a light fining during the next six months of aging in 600 to 1,200 gallon American oak casks. A year of aging in 60 gallon French oak barrels preceeds bottling. These wines usually reach maturity at five to eight years of age but some hold near their peak for many more years.
Pinot Noir takes only about five days to ferment and just Pinot Noir grapes are used here. After pressing, the wine is racked several times while aging for its first half year in our American oak casks. Then the wine spends a year in French oak barrels. Bottled at 18 to 20 months of age, Mayacamas Pinot Noir is usually released for sale when four years old and is usually at its best between its seventh and twelfth years. Just a few hundred cases are made each year.
Mayacamas produces several hundred cases a year of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is made entirely from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Crushing, destemming and pressing are followed by three weeks of cool fermentation. Several rackings and a fining during the eight to ten months of cask aging precede bottling. Usually released when a year and a half old, Mayacamas Sauvignon Blanc is usually at its best when three to five years of age, but some vintages age well for several more years.
We also produce a few hundred cases per year of Merlot. Eight to twelve days of fermentation on the skins is followed by six months of large cask aging, then a year in barrels. Our Merlot always includes about 10% Cabernet Sauvignon in the final blend. Peak maturity generally arrives in the eighth to twelfth year.