I know that I was supposed to finish up my take on the wine regions of Israel… but a) this is my blog, so I’ll do what I want, and b) I’m so late on that anyway that another week (or two?) won’t matter, right?
The wonderful distraction in this case comes by way of a sample of Mayacamas Vineyards’ stunning 2017 Chardonnay, about which I will type much more in a minute or several. First, it’s worth detailing a bit of the storied history of Mayacamas, older vintages of which may have passed my eager lips at previous points, because it’s both literally and figuratively the stuff of movie scripts.
Maycamas’ winery was built in the late 1800s by a German immigrant who then went bankrupt, and, supposedly, its stone cellar was used to make bootleg wine during Prohibition. The winery’s shadiness had a respite in the `60s, when the Travers family purchased and revitalized it (with deliciously long-lived wines from primo vintages being produced during their tenure), and fame coming in the early 1970s when they were chosen to take part in the famous (or infamous, if you’re French) “Judgment of Paris,” which is the USA’s fine wine equivalent of the Miracle on Ice. In the mid-1990s, Mayacamas became a location-cum-pseudo-character on celluloid, in a romantic dramatic film starring national treasure Keanu Reeves.
Things took a potentially darker turn in the 2000s, when investor Charles Banks purchased Mayacamas for an undisclosed amount; I write “potentially darker” because Banks (with whom I once had dinner, come to think of it) eventually plead guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to four years in federal prison…Read the rest of this stuff »