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This jewel in the crown originates in the remarkable vineyard that shares its name. A proprietary blend aged in primarily new French oak, Maya showcases the site’s exceptional Cabernet Franc; it is graceful and alluring with an unmistakable pedigree. Fewer than 500 cases are produced each year.
The harvest in 2008 was very different from the norm in Napa Valley. Mother Nature turned the year into a real thriller, which held producers in its grip from the start all the way until harvest time.
The year began in stormy conditions: the valley was buffeted by downpours and storm winds. These then gave way to an agonisingly long dry period. The spring’s rainfall only reached 60 per cent of the average, and went down in history as one of the driest springs in Napa Valley. Due to the mild and dry weather, the vines’ growing season started earlier than ever. The early sprouting was fateful, however, when the month-long dry period in the spring was followed by destructive sub-zero night-time temperatures. This was not just on a few isolated nights, but went on for a whole month. The long night-time frosts had a devastating effect on the sprouting vines, cutting harvests by up to one third.
During the long frost period, producers pulled out all of their tricks to protect the vines. Some vineyards in the valley have large fans, which were in intensive use throughout the spring. Areas that did not have fans used sprinklers for watering the vines so that the water would freeze onto the buds to shield them from the icy cold. The flowering season after the frosts was irregular and, due to uneven pollination, led to below-average harvests. The summer started off cool and remained so until late August. As a result, the grapes developed slowly and became intense and concentrated. In the late summer, ripening was accelerated by a one-week heat wave, which was followed by dry weather during the harvest. Although the harvest was smaller than usual, the grape quality was excellent.
A blend of our Estate’s finest Maya Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc vineyards, the 2008 Maya is a giant of a wine. The dark, opaque, black-purple color is impressive, as are the multiple layers of flavors and aromas that emerge from the wine in the glass. Notes of camphor, smoke and sage are intertwined with aromas of very ripe black fruits, and even hints of fresh flowers. The aromas are almost tangible. While the wine has a core of deep, ripe fruit, the excitement comes from the exotic wood and mineral notes that seem to come straight from the soil. Given its structure and density, the 2008 Maya should be decanted when young, and should age for 20+ years.