Summer is over, put the white wine away for a few months and enjoy the rich robustness of red grape varietals like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel to name a few. The holiday season is here and spending quality time with family and friends while enjoying a powerful red is something I look forward to as soon Labor Day ends and the beach chairs are put in the shed for the next 9 months.
When sitting down to a Thanksgiving dinner or the December holiday meals, for me, it’s all about the wine. Just tell me what’s being served and I’ll bring a few bottles of a wine that will pair beautifully with the food. Since many meals around this time of year consist of heavy meats, potatoes, breads, various pies and cakes, I’ll bring red wines. Pinot Noir is my go to varietal, but Cabs pair well with so many holiday dishes that I usually focus on them. Yes, a white wine goes well with select dishes but on a cold winter night drink a hearty wine.
This year I’ll be spending a few holiday meals with people that not only enjoy wine, they know what they like and have wine cellars that put mine to shame. This makes it a bit more difficult to surprise them with a unique wine that they may never have had. Nevertheless, the wine review for this month is such an exclusive wine that I’m certain my friends will be quite pleased with the choice I’ve made for us to enjoy our food with.
This month’s wine is not messing around when it comes to their namesake or their quality. A family of famous, classic engineers has carried this tradition into a winery. The family is Maybach. If their name sounds familiar it should. The great-grandfather of this family, Wilhelm Maybach, invented the high-speed internal combustion engine! If that is not eye-popping enough, he went on to create the first (keyword - FIRST) motorcycle. In 1901, as he was the chief engineer and business partner to Gottlieb Daimler, he designed and built the first Mercedes car. How is that for heritage?
Wait, I’m not done. Wilhelm’s son Karl Maybach, developed the first high-speed diesel engine and fabricated motors for the Zeppelin airships that circled the globe in the 1920’s and 30’s. Is this family’s legacy sinking in yet? This is not a family that has rested when it comes to the engineering revolution of the 19th century.
Now we enter the 21st century, where descendants of the genius Maybach legacy are making a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from a hillside vineyard above the Silverado Trail. The wine is called Materium; the 100% Cab has been called by Robert Parker, along with many other critics ‘serious wine.’ Fewer than 500 cases are produced yearly. Thomas Rivers Brown is the winemaker, who’s a winemaker that is worthy of having an entire article written about. Hell, a documentary about him is needed on what he’s accomplished in Napa Valley. Maybach also makes a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay that has a real Burgundy style. There are only about 60 cases produced of the white each year. This is what you call a true cult winery; small allocations with high praises attached. That also means it comes with (and is worthy of) a high price tag.
As Maybach Winery nears its 12th year of wine-making (established in 2004) they just keep getting better and better; more refined and more precise. What a beautiful California wine should be. Despite the mixed reviews about this wine by sommeliers and old world wine critics, this is a true California new world wine, which I love. The high heat, the fruit bomb… I’m in. “A son-of-a-bitch Cabernet” is my best description. A proper decanting of 30 minutes brought the nose to insane heights. Thomas Brown has his hands in many wine ventures, but as he proven with Maybach, he takes his time with each bottle, crafts them and finds the true beauty. Brown proves this with every winery he works with.
You will probably not find this wine on many wine lists, even at the best fine dining restaurants. Locating this wine takes some research. I've purchased all my bottles through wine auctions and if you’re lucky enough to have a high-end wine retailer near you, they may have it or at least could get it for you via special order. Trust me; this is one wine to put on your list. Enjoy this powerful cabernet with a nice medium, rare porterhouse and a huge baked potato. Skip the salad. Be sure to save some wine to have with a nice dark chocolate dessert. It’s a weighty cabernet that will loosen up on the finish.
Maybach, Materium, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005
Produced by: Maybach Family Vineyards
Winemaker: Thomas Rivers Brown
Winery: Maybach Family Vineyards
Region: Napa Valley
Location: Northern California
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Appearance (Color): Deep red
Aroma (Complexity): Plum, raspberry
Body (Texture and Weight): Soft tannins with a Bordeaux body
Taste (Balance of Flavor): Spices and a hint of hibiscus
Finish (What lingers): Floral notes are strong
Food Paring: Steak, Dark Chocolate and Strong Cheese
Serving Temperature: 64°
Final Rating: 95
Drink now through 2020
The Y9 Point Rating System
Wine Score | How Good the Wine Is
95-100 Classic: an extraordinary wine
90-94 Outstanding: wine with superior character & style
John Turi has had an impulsive career as a writer, wine critic, and artist. He has two published books of short fiction and poetry. He is a former child actor with the anxiety to prove it. He began college with a major in Mortuary Science, later switched to Creative Writing, and, finally finished at a free love hippie art college in Southern California with a degree in Graphic Design and Marketing. During his college years he worked in the wine industry and acquired a delicate palate for varietals. For the last 20 years he has become a private rare book and wine collector. He desires California Pinot Noir from Sonoma County in Northern California. As a way to pay for his wine and book collection he works as a Senior Marketing Manager for one of the largest adult sex toy companies in the world. For the good of his sanity, he is a columnist at ConnotationPress.com, where he writes a monthly wine column featuring only the best bottles. He currently resides in Southern California with his beautiful wife Shawn Marie, a motivational speaker for female entrepreneurs. Enjoy John's latest book 'A Drinker With A Writing Problem - A Wine Lover's Retrospective' available at Amazon in softcover, ebook and audio book formats.