Sunday, January 3, 2010

Impressive and promising Maybach

Car enthusiasts know about Maybach, now the turn has come to wine lovers to learn the family name. It was back in 1901 when Wilhelm Maybach and partner Gottlieb Daimler built the first Mercedes car, and 18 years later the first edition of Maybach saw the daylight in Germany. Almost a century later, Maybach family founded their Napa Valley wine estate, 300 meters above the valley floor – next to the famous vineyard Maya of Dalla Valley. Since the inaugural vintage, top notch winemaker Thomas Brown (former assistant winemaker at Turley Cellars, now at Schrader, Outpost and his own label Rivers-Marie), has made their wines.

2006 Materium / 94 p
This 100 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon from a single vineyard block on red volcanic soil has spent 24 months in French oak barrels, of which 80 per cent were brand new. Tasted it blind for the first time in August 2009, I actually thought it was Dalla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, or perhaps a wine from the adjacent vineyard. The fingerprint of the red soil was so obvious even though the wine was ripe, full bodied and impressive rather than silky and enormously complex. Yet the wine offered enough of mineral qualities to stay in mountains, but compared to the more seductive wines of Dalla Valley, the oak is more present here. Of course the wine is very young, actually far too young, but I just love the upfront but also deep and intense dark fruit that keeps on evolving during the one to two hours I had the wine in decanter this time. Tannins are marked, but ripe and well balanced by the rich body. This is a very promising wine (and wine company), and I just can’t wait to taste future releases, and this wine again in 10 years time. Drink it 2011-2026.

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