A downtown Napa outpost for classic, mountain-grown Cabernet and Chardonnay.
The Mayacamas estate is located 2,400 feet high on Mount Veeder, in the western hillsides of Napa Valley. Diehard fans of this historic winery’s rugged, chewy Cabernet Sauvignon and energetic Chardonnay can arrange to visit the mountain property for a $115 fee, but for those not quite ready to brave the mountain roads, there’s the downtown Napa tasting room, which feels like a chic wine bar. The outdoor seating on First Street offers prime opportunities for people watching, and the $35 basic tasting feels exceedingly fairly priced for these wines. (That tasting gets you a pour of the current vintage of Mayacamas’ Cabernet Sauvignon, a bottle of which goes for $135.) Older bottles of Mayacamas are available here, too, if you’re curious to see how these concentrated wines hold up after a decade or two. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Mayacamas Chardonnay, which balances fresh, salty notes with intense, ripe fruit flavors. It just might be the sleeper hit.