Mayo Cabernet – Side-by-Side Comparison

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I tasted two different vintages of Cabernet from one of my favorite wine makers side-by-side to see how they compared. This was a lot of fun, as you can imagine. To make it even more fun, the grapes were from different vineyards.

Mayo CabernetsThe two wines tasted were the 2005 Mayo Rich’s Cuvee Cabernet from the Los Chamizal Vinyard in the Sonoma Valley and the 2003 Mayo Julie’s Block Cabernet from Napa River Ranch in the Napa Valley. Both were excellent.

For the tasting my wife and I prepared a variety of foods to snack on while we tasted, and then poured a glass of each. What follows is my tasting notes, including which foods went well with each wine. I will review them one at a time.

First up is the 2005 Mayo Rich’s Cuvee. At 14.2% alcohol it has some heft to it that matches well with its medium acidity. This is a very tasty, fruit-forward Cabernet with a nose of cedar, leather and a lot of spice. This is one of those wines that can make a Cab lover’s eyes roll back in their head and start to make happy noises before it is even tasted.

However, tasting is highly recommended, and what a taste it is. Fruit, and lots of it. Black cherries, cassis, and blackberry mix with vanilla and just a hint of fresh mint for an explosive taste. It has a very long finish with vanilla and caramel notes. Delicious!

It paired very nicely with pate, salami, sharp cheddar cheese, muenster cheese, and pizza.

The other wine was the 2003 Mayo Julie’s Block, another very tasty Cabernet. This one wasn’t quite as big as the 2005 Rich’s Cuvee, but was fantastic, as well. While both wines were good with food, this one was particularly food-friendly, even at 14.3% alcohol.

The nose was not as heavy as the other, but quite interesting and redolent of oak and leather with a slightly floral aroma. As is sometimes the case with big red wines the enticing aromas did not truly hint at the flavors awaiting the palate.

The aforementioned aromas enhanced a big full taste of red current, blackberry, chocolate and plums. These flavors carried over into a pleasant medium finish that made it a natural with a lot of the foods we had spread all over the table.

It went very well with rare roast beef and horseradish, bringing out the sweetness in the condiment. It was also excellent with salami, steak, a variety of white cheeses, cajun food, and ham and cheese.

This little experiment was a great success, we made pigs of ourselves (although not as badly as it sounds), and we had a wonderful time. I look forward to doing this with more wines.

If you would like to know more about Mayo Family Winery here is a link to their web site that tells about the company.