What We Say 2008 Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Pinot Noir from our friends at Mayo Family Winery is a wine of great distinction and quality, earning it this special designation. If you haven’t tried the wines from Mayo, this is one to get you started!
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Mission Codename: Not Resting On One’s Laurels
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit our friends at Mayo Family Winery and acquire their delicious Sonoma Valley Laurel Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mayo Family Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 Sonoma Valley Laurel Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Michel Berthoud
The Sonoma Valley AVA is one of the oldest wine growing regions in California with the first vines being planted in the early 1800s. The AVA is located along California Route 12 and its eastern boundary are the southern end of the Mayacama mountains. The unique micro-climate with less rainfall and fog than other parts of the region along with its unique soil provides excellent growing conditions for Pinot Noir as well as Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A lovely dark and dense ruby red with a dark but clear heart. Along the edges, the color lightens just slightly and when swirled, thin and wavy legs cling to the side of the glass and slowly descend.
Smell – Beautifully complex with aromas of red cherry melding with sweet brown and hot exotic spices. Notes of vanilla toasted oak and cola mix with soft undergrowth, mushroom, black tea and just a hint of smokiness.
Feel – This medium to full-bodied dry wine is supple and smooth on the initial attack then at mid palate this wine’s vibrant acidity, a touch of spice and textured minerals dries the palate.
Taste – Generous ripe red fruit including red cherry and raspberry blend perfectly with an array of complex spice ranging from sweet baking to subtle hot and exotic. Notes of cola, earth, toasted oak, soft green herbs balances out the vibrant fruit.
Finish – Medium to long, with the ripe fruit fading first followed by the spice and toasted oak components leaving behind this wine’s smooth and drying tannins that beg for another sip.
Conclusion – The 2008 Mayo Family Winery Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir is a delicious Pinot Noir that has everything you’d expect from a top shelf single vineyard wine. Great complexity on both the nose and palate, a generous but well balanced palate and a clean finish. We paired this lovely wine with grilled bacon-wrapped scallops. Enjoy this wine tonight or cellar for up to the next five years.
Winemaker, Michel Berthoud, has proven too elusive for even us. We were unable to secure an interview with him for today’s featured wine. Be sure to check back, the next time we feature another fantastic Mayo Family wine.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Laurel Hill Vineyard in Sonoma Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Mayo Family Winery
About This Wine:
Our 2008 “Laurel Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir was produced from our estate vineyard located in Sonoma Valley. Actually the vineyard is well off the beaten path. It sits at the base of Sonoma Mountain between the hamlet of Glen Ellen and the small village of Kenwood. It’s a secluded vineyard and surrounds our first winemaking facility. Our two acres of pinot Noir were planted in 2000. The vineyard itself incorporates a variety of terrain including a sunnier hillside plateau and a valley floor element. The vineyard is exposed to sunlight from mid morning though the early evening with the hillside receiving longer exposure. Yields increase in this vineyard correlating to the descent into the valley block. Watering cycles, pruning and leaf pulling are specific to the two areas of the vineyard. We get about 2 tons of grapes per acre.
We produced only a few barrels of this wine in 2008 and we sell it exclusively through out tasting room. The color is a bright ruby with stunning clarity. We love the exotic spice aromas the lift out of the glass, with vibrant cherry, current, vanilla and hints of bacon that those space smells wrap themselves around. In the mouth there is a distinct velvety feeling on the palate that has an expansive and mouth watering quality. Flavors of ripe bing cherry mingle with raspberry and spice flavors. Finish lingers. This wine will certainly evolve in the bottle with aging, taking on more complex spice notes and richer fruit elements. Yet for those who like their Pinot vibrant and alluring, it can be drunk right this minute.
About The Winery:
Mayo Family Winery produces small lots of single-vineyard wines under the premise that the world’s most interesting and highest quality wines must come from a single-vineyard source that can be expressed in the wines’ aroma, taste and texture. Founded in 1993, the winery has two winemaking facilities in Glen Ellen, California, each fitted and equipped to produce particular types of wines. Mayo Family wines are only sold online or in our tasting room attached to the winery in the town of Glen Ellen and our three other tasting rooms in Sonoma Valley; they are not distributed across the country.
Henry & Diana Mayo, Founder/Owners
Diane Mayo, after a lifetime of living in or around Sonoma Valley, decided in 1990 to raise some grapes. Her husband, Henry, cleared off a beautiful valley and in 1990 planted 3,000 Chardonnay vines. In 1993 they bottled their first 200 cases and dicovered it was very good. The following year, 1,200 cases were produced, and they were overwhelmed. Henry still had his day job as the Real Estate Broker with Frank Howard Allen, so they picked up the phone and called their son, Jeffrey—the rest is history! Today they love the wines that Michael Berthoud is making and they love their Sonoma Valley…making it all a match made in heaven.
Jeffrey H. Mayo, President
Since leaving his position in 1995 as Vice President of Acquisitions for one of California’s largest homebuilders, Jeffrey Mayo has lived and breathed wine. In large part, Mayo Family Winery is a combination of Jeffrey’s progressive and well-developed business expertise as well as his passion for wine. He is one of those wine lovers that seeks out the world’s most interesting wines, takes every opportunity to indulge his palate, and believes that any wine can be good if it engages your intellect as well as your senses. To that end, Jeffrey put the family’s winery on a path specializing in single vineyard wines. He realized early on that Mayo Family Winery had to take this road and never waver if its wines were to capture the imagination of wine lovers. Today, Jeffrey oversees sales and production. If he’s not selling Mayo Family wines he’s on a forklift moving bins of grapes or pallets of wine.
About The Winemaker:
Winemaker, Michel Berthoud – Formerly Winemaker for Arrowood Vineyards just down the road, Michel joined the Mayo Family Winery just prior to the start of the 2004 harvest. The many awards and accolades his Arrowood wines won and the following he created for himself were a result of the lesson he learned from Dick Arrowood and his own well-developed sense that winemaking is an artisan process that demands a feel for the land as well as an artist’s well honed technique. Born and raised in Sonoma Valley, Michel oversees all the winemaking at Mayo Family as well as works closely with the winery’s many grower partners.
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Varietal: Pinot Noir