Markham Vineyards – Napa Valley

| September 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Ben Bodenstein –

Markham Vineyards has an old and not very interesting history, it was founded in 1854 by Jean Laurent, a Frenchman who came to California in search of his fortune as part of the gold rush. It was not very long before he found some land in the then totally unknown Napa Valley and, being French, started a vineyard. There is no story of traveling across the desert and using his last drop of water to keep his vines alive. No story of climbing the Rockies and saving his vines from freezing with his last match for fire, No story of bravely single handedly fighting off thousands of Indians to claim his Napa Valley land; nothing at all like that. It was simply he came to Napa, he saw the land, he bought the land, he grew grapes on the land and he made wine. The wine that he made however, must have been good because longevity in the wine business is proof of that.

Catapulting ahead into the future, the grapes grown on the land that Jean Laurent found is among the finest in the Napa Valley. Years of conditioning the soil to make it perfect for wine grape growing by returning the spent grape refuse to the soil as fertilizer has paid off, and the wines of the vineyard and winery he founded, now known as Markham Vineyards, still maintains its historic excellence

Markham Vineyards 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($37). This wine is made in the true Bordeaux style but, being made from California grapes, the fruit flavor and aroma burst through. This is a big, bold wine, heavy with the aromas of vanilla, cola and dark summer berries while the flavor centers around red currant, blackberries, cranberries and oak with an intriguing chalky flavor in the background. The finish is almost infinitely long and although the wine is ready to drink right now or it can be aged for more than a decade to allow the latent fruit flavors to develop and the tannins to soften. No matter when you enjoy this wine, now or in a decade, it will be outstanding and comes with an A+ recommendation from us.

Markham Vineyards 2009 Napa Valley Merlot ($23). About fifteen years ago, the up and coming star of the wine world was Merlot. Unfortunately, the Merlot craze did not last long and what remained was just a glut of what had become an uninteresting wine. There were still a few areas where Merlot continued to shine and one of those was, you guessed it, the Napa Valley. The Markham Vineyards 2009 Napa Valley Merlot is one of those luminaries. This wine displays the aromas of ripe cherries enhanced with cranberry and hints of orange peel and allspice. Its flavors are creamy and lush on the palate, filling the mouth with black cherry and pomegranate. The finish is soft, supple and lingering. It is exactly what a fine Merlot wine should be, outstanding.

Markham Vineyards 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay ($19). The Markham Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay is an old fashioned Chardonnay; one in which the grapes and not the winemaker determine the direction of the final product. This Chardonnay is totally natural, with the winemakers merely guiding the grapes to their final conclusion and not interfering with the natural course of events. When fermentation had ended, the wine was transferred to French oak barrels for that quiet period that turns a new wine into a modern masterpiece. The Markham Vineyards 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay has a rare balance of fruit and oak. The aroma stresses tropical fruits, orange and guava while the flavors of fresh melon, figs and other summer fruits dance in the background. These flavors carry over to the finish, which is long and very complex. Few, if any, American Chardonnay’s can even come close to the intensity and flavor displayed by this wine. The Markham Vineyards 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay is, in our opinion, a work of art.

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Category: Wine Zombie Articles

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