Best of the Best 2016: Leisure | Domestic Red Wines: Mayacamas Vineyards 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Library Release Napa Valley

The rugged Mayacamas Mountains divide Napa and Sonoma, producing the most complex Cabernet Sauvignon...

Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com

Perched atop the rugged Mayacamas Mountains that divide the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, this prized site produces some of the purest, most complex Cabernet Sauvignons in the world. Though the cooler 1998 vintage followed the lauded 1997, this library release is currently outperforming the earlier vintage due to lower alcohol levels and higher acidity. The spectacular wine—soulful with the aromas of black currant, dried cherry, cedar, and leather—is rem-iniscent of great Bordeaux and yet still quintessentially old-school Napa Valley. 

Bob Travers, the owner and winemaker of Mayacamas from 1968 to 2012, picked grapes at the ideal ripeness to make wines that age well. In contrast, today’s cult-Cabernet style demands that grapes be picked as late as possible, resulting in higher-alcohol wines that often peak a few years after release. A Travers bottle needs 15 to 35 years of cellaring to reach its pinnacle.

  • The wine was aged mainly in neutral oak.
  • Roughly 2,000 cases were produced.
  • The estate dates to 1889 and comprises 475 acres of mountain landscape.

Mayacamas Vineyards, mayacamas.com ($175)

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