Mission Codename Lady Love
Chardonnay fans, here’s a question… Haut Brion or Olivia Brion? We know the answer… Bordeaux 1st Growth Haut Brion does not make a Chardonnay! Meanwhile, our Operative favorite Olivia Brion continues to release some of the most satisfying and age-worthy Napa Valley Chardonnays out there. A past WIA winner (the prestigious Wine Spies Wine Intrigue Awards that is), one of the secret ingredients with this Chardonnay is its cool Wild Horse Valley roots in the Heron Lake Vineyard at 1,200 feet. High in elevation, while down to earth in value for a genuine Napa single-vineyard Chardonnay, thanks to the generous 44% break we share with you…
There’s no way of telling that this is five vintages ago with its bright golden hue. The perfume is gorgeous, blooming with white flowers, pear, nectarine, lemon zest, and toasty hazelnuts. Vivid once sipped, while creamy, with liveliness deftly balanced against riper citrus and spice. Long, silky, complex and pure on the echoing finish, with savory notes of mineral, and chamomile tea. Pan-seared scallops in butter and white wine, saffron risotto, and haricots verts would be a perfect plate to pair with it.
The gorgeous label is a tribute to the inspiration behind the label, Miss Olivia Brion, aka. Annie, who was the first woman to ride her bike around the world just before the dawn of the 20th Century! Winemaker David Mahaffey’s mother in law, another Miss Brion, immigrated from France to the United States shortly thereafter. From that story, the name of this wine originates; to honor and salute the ladies in our lives who had to struggle in society to arrive where they deserve to be, with glorious accomplishments in the face of adversity. This wine epitomizes our mothers, daughters, and sisters, so let’s raise a toast to them with Olivia Brion!
Here’s what the press has to say on Mahaffey & Wild Horse:
Napa Valley Register - Napa’s most obscure AVA
You’ll almost never find the Wild Horse Valley on a tourist map to Wine Country. There’s nary a mention of the Napa Valley’s smallest and most obscure appellation in the wine books. In fact, there is hardly any wine made from grapes from this most mysterious of wine regions. Adding to the mystique, the AVA’s only as-yet-to-be built winery has its vineyard in Solano County. It is cold up there at elevations of up to 1,400 feet, perhaps even colder than Los Carneros, to which Wild Horse most closely resembles.
But it is from here, in an almost forgotten area that has only one winery and three vineyards that total about 110 acres, that David Mahaffey has staked his claim. Mahaffey calls Wild Horse “a bit of an odd duck” for its obscurity caught as it is, between two regions. He insists that the appellation “is a real place, a real valley not drawn on political (lines) but physical soil types peak-to-peak.” But it is, because of its perceived peculiarities, that Mahaffey hopes for the day when more vineyards are planted and some other wineries decide to settle in the AVA. “I heard David Abreu is planting nearby,” he says, speaking of the famed but controversial vineyardist. “Boy, would I love it if he came up here.” But alas, he explains, “there are just not any parcels that come up for sale here.”
What the Winery Says
2014 Heron Lake Vineyard Wild Horse Valley Chardonnay
- David Mahaffey
- Wild Horse Valley, Napa County
- Heron Lake Vineyard
- 100% malolactic fermentation with native yeasts
- 11 months
- French oak