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Melanie's Wine Reviews

Melanie’s Wednesday Wines ~ July 18, 2007


Melanie Hoffman

I’ve been a fan of Mayo Family Wines for many years. I remember meeting Jeff Mayo at a 4th of July party at Stewart and Jane’s house. And by the way, Jane Farrell & Stewart Dorman make amazing pinot noir under the label Adrian Fog, but I digress. I tried Mayo wines at that party for the first time and was an instant fan. Not only are the wines great, Jeff is just a kick to party with.

I decided to go into downtown Healdsburg this week for Wednesday Wines. Mayo has a great tasting space at 340 Center Street, a few doors down from Zin Restaurant on the corners of North Street and Center Street. It’s always fun to visit my friend Frank, who pours wine Thursday through Monday there. Mayo Family Wines’ Healdsburg Reserve Room does a really nice job of food and wine pairing. I didn’t have time to sit down with Frank to taste the flight wines with the delicious nibbles, but I tried three wines on his recommendation. I was extremely pleased with his choices.

2005 Mayo Family Wines, Viognier, Sunny View Vineyard | Russian River Valley ~ Extremely aromatic: from the foot and a half distance to my glass I’m already overwhelmed by the rich honeysuckle fragrance finding it’s way to my senses. After a good swirl and sniff, I find myself enveloped in a bouquet of white fig, lemongrass, and green apple. Touches of nectarine linger in the aromas with wisps of smoke. The silky palate exhibits kiwi fruit and cantaloupe up front, with added brown sugar mid-palate. An exotic finish of blood oranges and fresh basil beguile the senses. $35.00

The perfect picnic wine to pair with an assortment of cheeses, smoky meats and salty olives. Or try it with an Applewood smoked ham pannini topped with melted Gruyere cheese, Heirloom tomatoes, and balsamic red oinions.

2005 Mayo Family Wines, Pinot Noir, King Family Vineyard | Russian River Valley, Pommard Clone ~ A true pinot noir on many aspects. Bright nose full of plums and cherries, a touch of smoke with added notes of cloves and suede leather. Sweet cream and cocoa powder round out the bouquet. Velvety palate follows nose with more of the plum and cherry jammy attributes. Soft oak reveals itself mid-palate with a juicy red currant and creamy caramel finish. Well exercised tannins make this a very approachable, delightful wine. $35.00

My favorite salad from the Oakville Grocery, two blocks south of Mayo’s tasting room, is the mixed greens topped with curried chicken salad. An amazing blend of yellow curry, roasted chicken, green onions, black currants and slivered almonds. I get cravings for it occasionally and with this pinot noir, it would be my choice lunch break in the park.

2004 Mayo Family Wines, Meritage, Carlos’ Cuvee | Sonoma County ~ The rich nose of this wine shows blackberry jam and nutmeg spice right away. These characteristics lead way to white pepper and dark chocolate notes. Wonderful blackberry jammy palate leads to toasty oak that exhibits vanilla bean flavors. Smooth cassis on the mid-palate and an espresso finish. Firm tannins and excellent structure give this wine great cellaring potential. $30.00

So rich and robust a wine it would need a hearty steak to stand up to it. I would try a thick New York topped with crisped onions and blue cheese crumbles, traditional baked potato topped with sour cream and fresh chives, and a side of steamed green beans.

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