Historic Mayacamas Vineyards Acquired by Charles Banks and Jay Schottenstein
Napa Valley, CA – The historic Mayacamas Vineyard, located near the top of Mount Veeder in the Napa Valley, has been acquired by Charles and Ali Banks, in partnership with Jay Schottenstein, and his son, Joey. Known for producing age-worthy, well-structured, classic Cabernet Sauvignon from mountain fruit, Maycamas Vineyards has long been one of the most celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon producers in California.
“We partnered with the Schottensteins because they are dedicated to preserving historic properties. They understand the sensitivity and hard work necessary to undertake projects such as these. We’re long-time friends and the thought of rebuilding Mayacamas with them is enormously exciting and rewarding,” says Banks.
Founded in 1889 by John Henry Fisher, a German-born sword engraver, the estate includes fifty-two acres of vineyards planted on steep mountainsides ranging in elevation from 1,800 to 2,400 feet. Located on the bowl of a volcano crater, Mayacamas Vineyards boasts groves of old Redwoods and much wildlife. A basic winery building, in a gravity-fed design, stands at the center of the estate.
“It’s our intention to respect this historic property, while rehabilitating the vineyards and winery; a process that will need to be undertaken in order to restore Mayacamas to its original celebrated state,” says Banks, who first “fell in love with Mayacamas about 15 years ago, when I had a magnum of the 1970. It’s still one of the greatest Napa Valley Cabernets I have ever tasted.”
The 1971 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon captured the imagination of the world when it placed in the Judgment of Paris tasting of 1976. In the 10- and 30-year replays (1986 and 2006) of the historical Paris tastings, the 1971 Mayacamas placed, respectively, 2nd and 3rd, beating out all of the French entries, and once again solidifying its position as an outstanding vineyard for singular, exceptional Cabernet. The vineyard saw its heyday in the 1970’s, when critics hailed the 1974 and 1975 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernets as some of the finest ever produced in United States.
“Simply put, Mayacamas is the only First Growth caliber Cabernet still produced in California,” author John Gilman famously said. He continued, “And the only wine that one can reliably tuck away in the cellar and know that for twenty or forty years down the road, the wine will have developed brilliantly.”
“The soils of this site are volcanic; ash, lava, sedimentary soils, tufa. The soil profile is very complex. We are looking forward to being stewards of this cherished site, while exploring its potential even further,” adds Banks.