Mayo Family Winery

2005 Red Dog Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon •Red Dog Vineyard

California: Napa Valley

Offer Expired:Feb 10, 2009 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Old Red Dog, New Tricks…

Operative: Agent Spy Dog

Objective: Sniff out an exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon from our friends at Mayo Family Winery.

Mission Status: Accomplished, Grrr…. Ruff!

Current Winery: Mayo Family Winery

Wine Subject: 2005 Red Dog Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Michel Berthoud


A few months ago we featured another superb Mayo Reserve red. The wine was so well received by those that were able to get their hands on some that requests for a another Mayo Family wine have been pouring in. In particular, their Red Dog Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon seems to be the in-demand wine of choice among our thirsty Operatives. For those that beleive that dogs don’t like wine, I’ve got news for you…

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark concentrated purple and almost black in color with a dark inky core. Deep purple and garnet edges and when swirled the slightly viscous texture and clusters of medium thick legs cling the the glass.

Smell – Bold and intense in aromas that leads off with dusty wild fennel, notes of green bell pepper expertly layered over ripe black-fruit. Complex hints of black pepper, exotic spice and oak round out the luscious bouquet of this wine.

Feel – The initial attack of this full-bodied wine is tart and masculine, but give this wine some time and this full-bodied wine smoothes dramatically but remains slightly chewy in texture. Good acidity, firm but fine tannins and nice minerality with touches of spice that hit the tip and back of the tongue.

Taste – Concentrated fruit flavors with blackberry, sour raspberry and other black-fruit. Flavors of toasted oak, exotic spice and wild fennel are balanced over notes of smoke, tobacco and an earthy minerality.

Finish -Long, lingering and smooth that includes balanced flavors of its fruit, wild fennel and spice.

Conclusion – As our operatives know, we love wines from higher elevation vineyards. The 2005 Mayo Family Winery Red Dog Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is just that! Bold and concentrated with also with tremendous elegance and finesse. This wine is drinking wonderfully right now, but its structure is sufficient to allow this wine to improve with cellaring for a good 10 years or more.

Mission Report:

Ahh, the simple pleasures in life… Chasing squirrels; getting a good scratch, the kind that makes my back leg go loco; and perhaps my favorite, running wild in the hills, especially when those hills have nice smelling Cabernet Sauvignon grapes planted in dense rows. So when my dedicated servant Agent White asked if I would accompany him to inspect a vineyard I jumped right in the car, gave him a bark of approval and stuck my head out the window in anticipation.

A short drive beyond the Silverado Trail on the east side of Napa I could start to see the hills. My body started to quiver in anticipation as I picked up the smell of fall leaves, warm slightly dusty wind and bramble brush. Us four legged spies have much better sniffers than you two-legged operatives. Finally Agent White started to notice as we approached the Red Dog Vineyard.

We pulled over to the side of the road and Agent White opened the door for me, he is such a gentleman, which is why me and Agent Blush love him so. Immediately I was taken. A great view of the valley below and great fruit. I ran up and down the rows checking all the great smells as my body torqued in full approval. Agent White was out doing something boring like gathering soil samples and checking the small dense purple clusters of fruit on the vines, but I was in heaven. Finally, he gave me a whistle and I knew our short sojourn was coming to an end. Well, I understood that he needed to back back to work, and I had some business of my own to attend to as well.

Later that night, I remember hearing him and Agent Blush talking about our trip. They were also tasting the 2005 Mayo Family Winery Red Dog Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine from from this great vineyard. It seems as if they were having as good of time as I did on our outing. As I lied there on my side, I gave them a quick glance of approval, a good long contented sigh and a couple wags of my tail. I secretly hoped that one of them would give me a sniff and a sip of that yummy wine.

Just another day in a Spy Dog’s life…

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The Mayo Reserve Room, where I sniffed out this delicious Napa Cab, can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Awards & Accolades:

Gold Medal – 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition

The Wine Spies’ Spy Dog after a recent mission.

About This Wine:

The Red Dog Vineyard sits 1,600 feet above sea level, just east of Napa’s famed Silverado Trail. This high elevation, lack of ground water, and the site’s rocky soils stress the grapevines, resulting in clusters of tiny grapes. As most color and flavor comes from the skins in red wines, the smaller the berries, the higher the skin to juice ratio and the more intense the wine. Simply taste this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and you will see why hillside vineyards are always more prized than those on the valley floor.

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: 14.5%

Appellation: Napa Valley

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Year: 2005

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