Mayo Family Winery
2005 'Old Vines' Reserve Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah •Sodini Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Mayo Family Winery.
END OF AVAILABILITY ALERT!: Our new friends at Mayo Family Winery were gracious enough to let us capture their remaining cases of today’s excellent wine. THANK YOU, MAYO!
SAVINGS ALERT!: If you are lucky enough to grab 6 or more bottles of this great wine before we sell out, use coupon code SUPERSONOMA and we’ll give you Free Ground Shipping
EXCEPTIONAL WINE ALERT!: Today’s Petite Sirah is really fantastic. We only wish there was more of it available…
Mission Codename: Make mine with extra Mayo
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a stellar Petite Sirah for our thirsty Operatives, who have been clamoring for the perfect Petite
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mayo Family Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Reserve Petite Sirah
Winemaker: Michel Berthoud
Winemaker intel brief: Long-term Wine Spies Operatives know this, but newer Operatives should know that Michel Berthoud was formerly the winemaker for Arrowood Winery. A few months ago we featured an Arrowood wine here.
Backgrounder: Requests for a killer Petite Sirah have been flooding in from all over the Spy-o-sphere so we set Agent Red loose on an urgent mission to find the perfect Sonoma County Petite.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep purple with an inky heart, a tight and glossy surface, concentrated color right out to the wines dark edges and tightly-spaced legs
Smell – Rich and deep with big and beautiful hits of dark stonefruit, blackberry, smoked bacon, casis with fresh pepper and the lightest fresh salad herbs
Feel – Round and cool up front, the wine quickly grips in with balanced tanins that go to work, coating your mouth and drying slightly on the tongue and the roof of the mouth
Taste – Deeply layered and highly concentrated flavors of ripe black plum, jammy roasted blackberry and blueberry, dark cherry and sweetwoods
Finish – Long and flavorful and delicious with tastes that go on and on and on…
Conclusion – Petite Sirah is something of a rarity in California, with less than 3500 acres planted. Getting a great Petite seems like even more of a rarity, so when I had the great fortune to come across this particular Petite, I was very happy. Winemaker Michel Berthoud has crafted a masterpiece with with this rich and delicious wine! This Petite is a ready-to-drink gem that is deep with luscious flavors and naturally fresh aromas. The tannins are fairly solid and strong and I declare it to be a ready-to-drink wine that will give you great pleasure. Cellar it, if you have the patience, to see the wine develop as it matures. I tried this wine right out of the bottle, and again after it was decanted for several hours; what a difference. The decanted wine becomes far softer, sweeter and way more enjoyable. I enjoyed this wine at Mayo Family’s Reserve Room with Creole-Molasses Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine-Blackberry salsa, from Mayo chef Billy Oliver. See my mission report and the promise of the recipe below!
I love you, Jeffrey Mayo! Thank you for “tricking” me into into experiencing the wonder and deliciousness of your Mayo Family Reserve Room.
It began like this: On the recommendation, no, the insistence of a few dedicated Wine Spies Operatives, I made an appointment to visit with Jeffrey Mayo, who runs the winery. Appointment secured, I conducted my usual thorough background investigation. What I learned was impressive; The Mayo family, their winemaker and their wines were all very well respected. I looked forward to my meeting with Jeffrey, and the simple tasting that would accompany the meet.
I arrived on time at the winery’s Reserve Room, a unique place where wine lovers can enjoy a flight of Mayo Family Reserve wines along with food pairings created by resident Chef Billy Oliver. I assumed that Jeffrey had me meet him at the Reserve Room because it was convenient to his schedule. Instead, I found that he had planned a subtle subterfuge.
Jeffrey welcomed me when I arrived and immediately asked me if I wanted to experience the wine and food pairing that they were famous for. I politely declined, citing a recent lunch, but then Jeffrey told me that he had a ‘small wine emergency’ to attend to. He was apologetic and he assured me that he would be back after about 30 minutes, the perfect amount of time to enjoy the complete tasting. I accepted, knowing that it would, at the very least, be an interesting experience. Instead of interesting, however, it turned out to be incredible.
Firstly, the Chef Billy Oliver and the rest of the Reserve Rooms staff were all great – and they made me feel right at home.
Glasses lined up, four wines were poured. Then a beautifully presented plate of food samples arrived! I was given ample time to explore each Mayo Family Reserve wine before tasting its accompanying paired food. We tasted through the whites first and then came to today’s 2005 Reserve Petite Sirah, which was paired with a Creole-Molasses Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine-Blackberry Salsa. Firstly, the wine was exquisite! Big and bold and rich and layered with aromas and flavors, I wondered what the pairing would be like. I nearly fell out of my chair as bit into Chef Billy’s concoction! Delicious does not even begin to describe it. This was a pairing to die for.
(Don’t worry, we’ll include the recipe with your order!)
The rest of the pairing exercise was rife with much ‘ooohing’ and ‘ahhing’ and not just from me. A local innkeeper came in to enjoy the pairing as well. She’ll be insisting that her guests pay the Mayo Family Reserve Room a visit when enjoying their stay in her Sonoma County inn.
At the end of the pairing, I was well sated and very happy that I had indulged. Jeffrey returned and I could tell by the smile on his face that his mission was accomplished.
We chatted for a while and, right then and there, he agreed to allow our Operatives the opportunity to purchase all of his remaining 2005 Reserve Petite Sirah, as it was clearly my favorite of the afternoon.
Thanks, Jeff! I’m certain that our Operatives will love the wine, too.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The Mayo Reserve Room, where Agent Red had his exquisite tasting adventure, can be seen in this satellite photo.
The Mayo Family winery main tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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Awards & Accolades:
GOLD MEDAL at Sonoma County Harvest Fair
About This Wine:
Made from grapes grown on the famed Sodini Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, this wine is unique as it represents only grapes grown on the Petite Sirah block’s oldest vines. Old Vine wines are always less susceptible to variations in weather. They’ve grown accustomed to their place in the ground. And, they produce intense, well-balanced wines. This wine, made in very small amounts, demonstrates the special qualities of Old Vine wines and an example of why folks seek them out. Look into this wines opaque color and you’ll see your reflection. From there the aromas simply explode out of the glass with boysenberry, bacon, pepper and sweet spice character we just can’t identify. On your palate it grabs you with its bold texture and delivers flavors that follow the aromas. This is a very special wine.
The Mayo Family Winery:
Mayo Family WineryMayo 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.
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: Russian River Valley
Special Designation: Sodini Vineyard