I have been to tasting rooms for Mayo on two different occasions and had a dramatically different experience each time. Reflecting on the tastings now, it seems that visiting a tasting room early in the day is when you get to learn about the wines and really understand the nuances about what (sometimes) makes them special. My first visit to Mayo was to the tasting room in the Kenwood area of Sonoma at the end of the afternoon.
The place was hopping and the energy was all fun. It was crowded and loud so there really was no opportunity to learn more than the name of each wine and if we were lucky the vineyard it came from it that was specified. Had a blast though and really liked some of their wines, most are in the $30s. My fave from the first visit was the 05 Cabernet Delaney Valley Floor ($40). The place would not be crowded if the wine was not good.
Our second Mayo tasting experience was south of the Mayo tasting room at a place called the Cellar Door. It is right off the Sonoma Square and is a coop of several wineries in one location. On our visit, which was early in the day, we were the only people tasting (which is always how I prefer things to be) so we had our pourer’s undivided attention to tell us his story and all about Mayo wines. It is a cooperative but our pourer was affiliated with Mayo and favored their wines due to his experience with them. But we did try wines from the other wineries.
We had a ball. They guy was hysterical and had us try some of the fab Mayo wines that were more affordable than those we tried at the winery tasting room. The Libertine (06, $14), Red Dog Cab (05, $20). We bought a ton of their wines and really had a fun time. My husband and I still talk about that visit several years later.
I like Mayo wines and had a great time with both experiences, even though they were so different.
Downsides? Kenwood location can get really crowded. Really recommend going early in the day. Or if near the Sonoma square check out The Cellar Door. Try the Mayo wines however you can!
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars – recommend