Don’t “Hold the Mayo” in Sonoma

I am always looking for my next “Great Winery Find”, and wasn’t disappointed yesterday while on a quick stay in Sonoma California wine country, Sonoma. I had hoped for a visit to the private “Wine & Food Pairing” at St. Francis Vineyard Tasting Center, which is always an exciting event to attend. However being that it was Wednesday, and they don’t do the food pairings on Tuesday or Wednesday, I had to review my options.



While scanning the area for wineries that present their wines with food, I came across the Mayo Family Winery and their “Reserve Room”. I found that via “Open Table”, the Internet reservation service, I could make an appointment for a grand tasting experience, and that’s just what I did for Thursday at Noon.

When I arrived I found the tasting room Chef J. Clayton Lewis setting up the room, and he immediately poured me a glass of Mayo Sparkling Wine top enjoy while he prepared for the experienced, and we awaited the other couple that was due to arrive for the tasting also.


As my wonderful companions arrived to join me on my experience, we settled into the very intimate room, which I found inspired by art, music, with views of the vineyard hillsides of Kenwood. What followed was a journey of the palate, crafted by this fine Chef, and his winemaker Michel Berthoud of the Mayo Winery.

We started with the 2006 Brut Sparkling Wine paired with Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with Orange & Hibiscus on Brioche points. This I found a light and airy complement to the sparkling wine. Following this we enjoyed their 2008 Viognier, which was supprisingly, paired with a taste of Grilled Peaches with Peanuts and dusting of Chili. And yes, the peanut really did complement the Viognier well.

Following this was a @008 Pinot Noir with Seafood “Bacalao” Gougere, then a @007 Merlot with a delicious Duck Confit Gumbo, which was probably my favorite pairing.  That being said, the following Beef Wellington and 2007 Reserve Meritage did put a smile to my lips, as I realized that this tasting was quickly becoming lunch!

The "Line-up"..Yum!

The “Line-up”..Yum!

Marinated New York Strip followed this with an Arugua Salad and 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which had me prepared to finish this journey with something sweet. Disappointed I was not as Clayton poured a 2009 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer from the Kunde Ranch, paired with Passion Fruit & Peach Parfait.

My experience at the Mayo Family Winery “Reserve Room, reminded me that not only are there some very unique flavors that can be paired with many different wines, but clearly we all can learn of options to perk up some of those wines we serve to friends and relatives down the road. My experience was a fine one, one that I would suggest that my readers embark on should they ever find themselves in the Sonoma area.

I would also like to inform you that the young couple who experienced this tasting, here from Dallas Texas, completely enjoyed themselves, and left with quite a collection of wine as well as recipe’s to take home with them.

Cheers and may the wine gods be good to you and your wine cellar.


About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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