Mayo Family Winery

2008 Russian River Valley Ricci Vineyard Zinfandel

Zinfandel •Ricci Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley

Offer Expired:Dec 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s Zinfandel 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: Ricci on Limerick

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit our friends at Mayo Family Winery and acquire their delicious

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Mayo Family Winery

Wine Subject: 2008 Russian River Valley Ricci Vineyard Zinfandel

Winemaker: Michel Berthoud


Zinfandel is often aptly named California’s grape. Its history and lore and the wines that result are often the makings of legend. In this case, Starry Night’s winemaker selected the best old-vine grapes from a number of the Russian River’s best vineyards, many of which have been planted for nearly 100 years. The Russian River Valley is ideally suited for red grape varietals. Its early morning fog and coastal breezes result in a cooler climate than the neighboring wine growing regions.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark and dense magenta in color with a clear core that shows ruby streaks when held to the light. The color remains dense to the very meniscus where it pales slightly and when swirled, evenly spaced medium legs start broadly and then thin as they descend to the wine below.

Smell – Bright and tart red bramble berry including dusty red raspberry and tart cherry blend with earthy bramble herbs, wild anise and both dusty and wet earthy notes. A healthy dose of spice, toasted oak and subtle vanilla notes.

Feel – This full-bodied and dry wine is smooth and cool upon entry but then ts firm and finely grained tannins that hit and are complimented by its tangy and racy acidity and dusty etched mineral texture that warms as you enjoy it. The tannins fade as this wine transitions into the finish but are replaced by a distinct spice character.

Taste – Classic ripe and tangy red bramble berries including the red raspberry and a touch of bitter cherry found on the nose leads the way on the just slightly restrained palate with a blend of spicy pepper and other exotic spice. Its dusty earth component, anise and other complex flavors mingle on the palate.

Finish – Extremely clean with this wine’s racy acidity leading the way on the finish with the tangy and ripe fruit fading first, followed by the earthy and bramble notes and finally the spice lingering as the tannins dry the palate and invite another sip.

Conclusion – The 2008 Mayo Family Winery Russian River Valley Ricci Vineyard Zinfandel is quite simply a fantastic Old Vine Zinfandel that shows great depth and character on the nose. A sturdy mouthfeel with great acidity makes this wine ideal for food and its classic palate that shows both depth and finesse without being overbearing. A wine that is drinking very well right now but will continue to improve with time in the bottle. Pair this wine with barbecue baby back ribs or other grilled and seasoned meats.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Ricci Vineyard in Russian River Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Gold Medal2011 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition

About This Wine:

This Old Vine Zinfandel is truly a tribute to the Ricci Vineyard, located in the Russian River Valley appellation and is one of our flagship red wines. The 2008 vintage is showing bright acidity and firm tannins, which give this wine medium to long-term aging potential. Classic aromas and flavors of raspberry combine with spice notes. a tangy mouthfeel and a jammy finish. Perfect for marrying with rack of lamb or BBQ beef ribs.

The Ricci Vineyard: Planted on Limerick Lane in the far northeastern reaches of the Russian River Valley, just south of the town of Healdsburg, our 10-acre Ricci Vineyard delivers fruit of great individuality. Most impressive about the Ricci Vineyard fruit is its ability to reach great ripeness and concentration of flavors without taking on the prunny or sur-maturite qualities so often found in the riper Sonoma Zinfandels. The vineyard was planted in six different blocks between 1951 and 1962. All that is known of the clonal selection is that cuttings were taken from nearby old vine vineyards. The vines do their work in Benchland Loam soils and are head-prunned. During the growing season the vines are treated to shoot thinning, leaf thinning, a round of green harvesting and removal of the entire second crop.

Winemaking: We pick the Ricci Vineyard when flavors in the grapes indicate the time is right. After a morning harvest the wine undergoes a three-day cold soak, during which sugars are soaked up leading to 1 to 2 degree increase in sugar levels. The cold soak is also critical to extracting color and flavors. The wine is then inoculated and tank fermented for 18 days with twice-daily pump-overs before being pressed to tank and racked to barrel. After eleven months aging in a combination of French and American oak, the wine is bottled.

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.

Technical Analysis:

Alcohol: 15.2%

Appellation: Russian River Valley

Winemaker: Michel Berthoud

Varietal: Zinfandel

Year: 2008

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