2014 Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Chardonnay

SKU #1287228 96 points Vinous

 The 2014 Chardonnay is brilliant. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, almonds and smoke are all beautifully delineated in this transparent, super-finessed Chardonnay built on total finesse. The decision to pick a touch earlier plus the blocked malo style result in a focused, energetic Chardonnay that hits all the right notes. Every time I go to Mayacamas there is something new to see. The redevelopment of this historic estate proceeds at what looks like a very rapid pace, even if it will be many years before the results of the work being done today shows up in the wines. Mayacamas is most known for their epic Cabernet Sauvignons, but this year I was equally impressed with the whites, and I say that as someone who has never found the same level of excitement in those wines as I have in the reds. The new team headed by viticulturist Phil Coturri and winemaker Andy Erickson is doing important work in redeveloping the vineyard while keeping the healthier existing vines in production for as long as possible. Many of the improvements are noticeable in the whites already, where the wines tend to be more transparent and susceptible to less than ideal practices. (AG)  (9/2015)

94 points James Suckling

 A bright and vibrant chardonnay with sliced apple, pear and cream aromas and flavors. Hints of yogurt and vanilla bean. Long and flavorful. A wonderful white. Drink or hold.  (6/2016)

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Price: $49.99

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By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/6/2017 | Send Email
Green apple, racy lemon, yellow nectarine with a flash of vanilla and wet stone on the finish. This is an age-worthy, linear style of Chardonnay similar stylistically to Heitz Cellars'. It's steely and crisp, having spent time in neutral wood and stainless steel after fermentation. There's a reason Mayacamas has been in business for 125 years and it's because of bottlings such as this.

By: Keith Palace | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/6/2017 | Send Email
Winemaker Andy Erickson delivers big for this 125th anniversary bottling! Made exclusively with high altitude fruit from Mt. Veeder, this wine has a clean nose of toasted caramel and honeysuckle with a touch of vanilla. The palate is very balanced with a nice stony minerality, bright focused acidity and a clean finish. Neutral oak with no malolactic fermentation results in a superbly balanced wine. Enjoy this one while it lasts!

By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/6/2017 | Send Email
Today has been a benchmark day! I am writing up TWO California Chardonnays, something I have never actually done before. This release from Mayacamas is every bit as good as a fine white Burgundy. From the opening citrus flavors to the closing background of creme fraiche and Anjou pear. A lingering finish that hints at ripe apple and honey, but, keeps them in their place so as not to overwhelm. The acidity throughout keeps it clean, focused and lively. Simply put, just wow! This should also age exceedingly well for the next 10 years. Way to go, Mayacamas Vineyards!

By: Amy Monroe | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/6/2017 | Send Email
There's a lot of Chardonnay out there, so the fact that this effort from Mayacamas stands out as one of the very best I've tasted in a long while is no small feat. It's obvious from the very first sip that the fruit quality is exceptional and that the winemakers had the wisdom to let that quality take center stage. There's a lot to love here - lemon, honeysuckle, mineral, pistachio - without any of it seeming overdone. A lot of words came to mind when I tasted this wine: balanced, complex, seamless, elegant. Each of them spot-on accurate.

By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/6/2017 | Send Email
So many wineries have been releasing 30th and 40th anniversary bottlings recently that it has gotten a little out of hand. Sure those wines have been incredibly good, and the producers of the wines are some of the standard bearers of Napa Valley, but it’s started to feel like everyone is listening to the same marketing team, but a little gimmick can carry a quality product a long way. So when I saw the new 2014 Mayacamas Chardonnay was labeled to celebrate the winery’s 125th anniversary I kind of laughed out loud. I mean they had to have had enough with these measly 40-50 year anniversaries. They threw down the gauntlet and threw it down in a big way.
Mayacamas has long been one of my personal favorite wineries-full stop. Their wines are some of the most age worthy and historic that the North Coast of California has ever produced and not much has changed 125 over 125 years. Sure the winery was sold a few years back to Charles Banks and the Terroir Group but they really didn’t change much as far as the winemaking is concerned, they did bring in superstar winemaker Andy Erickson but he knows enough not to mess with a great thing. The old oak is still there, the enamel lined rectangular tanks are still there and the quality is still certainly there. (Most of the money that is going to refurbishing the winery is going into replanting the old and dying estate vineyard, hence the very little amount of wine they’ve produced in recent years.)
The nose of this Chardonnay is enough to stop you mid-sentence. It is a wild combination of traditional White Burgundy/Chablis notes like wet rock, lime and crushed cashew with a counterweight of Mount Veeder terrior, full of spearmint, chaparral and white sage. Linear and focused with a great wealth of character this is full of flavors of lemon verbena, prickly pear, more spearmint and a mouth feel that is at the same time oily rich and delicately lacy. This is so delicious right now that it will be hard not to chug all these bottles right away but I implore you to hold on to one or two of these wines for a number of years, anything up to 15-20 years, and watch them grow into something even more special. To say that this is one of the top Chardonnays that Napa has to offer is quite an understatement indeed.

Additional Information:



- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.