2020 Mayacamas Chardonnay Mount Veeder
Region: Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
The most famous American wine region, and one of the most highly regarded in the world. The first grapes were planted here, northeast of San Francisco (with a climate influenced by an arm of San Francisco Bay), in the mid-19th century; one of the earliest commercial wineries, Charles Krug, still in operation, was founded in 1861. Wineries proliferated in the late 19th century and, after a downturn during Prohibition, the Napa wine scene continued to expand. The so-called "Paris tasting" (later renamed "The Judgment of Paris") in 1976 — in which a panel of French wine experts rated cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay from the Napa Valley higher than their famous and far more expensive French counterparts — brought international renown (and higher prices) to the valley's wines. While these remain the two most widely grown grapes in Napa (the cabernet is particularly highly regarded), scores of other varieties are planted and do well here. There are now at least 450 wineries in the Napa Valley (700 or so in Napa County as a whole), from modest warehouse facilities to multi-million-dollar showplaces mimicking European castles, and the area has become a major tourist attrwinehours.com.
Three words come to mind when tasting the 2020: textural, richness, and focus. The wine opens with lifted aromatics of white flowers and fresh tarragon supported by a lovely fruit set of Anjou pear, tart pineapple, and cantaloupe. On the palate the wine expands, broadening the frame, bringing layers of texture and energy. Secondary flavors of lemon oil, mineral, and almond round out the mid-palate. The finish is long with lingering saline notes, subtle tropics, orchard fruit, and flint rock.
94 Pts, Wine Enthusiast
"Grown at high elevation, this structured, elegant white is balanced and beautifully composed. Crushed rock, ripe pear and melon flavors combine around bright, well-integrated acidity and oak, with a lasting imprint of flinty minerality. (VB)"