Wine Country Cousins!

My parents and I were thrilled when our cousin, Bambi, and her husband, Dan, paid us a visit. Bambi and Dan hail from the East and came to California to visit one of their sons who was working in San Diego.  As part of their West Coast adventure, they rented a car and traveled up the Golden State’s gorgeous coastline and ending in San Francisco. It’s not often that our East Coast cousins come west so we wanted to make their visit super-special. Is there any better way to host out-of-towners than with a trip to the Wine Country?   We think not!

In planning our wine county tour, Bambi and Dan asked that we visit a winery where we could learn about how wines are made, in addition to enjoying a tasting.  My sister, Joanna, had spoken highly of Medlock Ames, a winery in Healdsburg. When I checked out their website, it seemed an ideal place for learning and tasting.  Founded in 1998 by two friends, Chris James and Ames Morison, Medlock Ames creates wines in a completely organic and sustainable way. The winery is powered by solar energy and their grapes are grown without pesticides or chemicles. And yes, their wines are delicious!

1 Heading out on the tour
Starting out on the Ranch Tour. When I made the reservation, they told me the tour would last 90 minutes. Who knew that, Stacy, our knowledgeable guide would spend three hours teaching and tasting with us!
3 Olive trees
Medlock Ames farms only 55 of its 338 acres of land. In addition to grapes, the winery also grows, harvests, and cures its own olives.
2 Olives
Harvesting the olives.
4 Strawberries in the garden
One of the most special parts of the tour was spending time in the winery’s fabulous garden. We were able to pick fresh strawberries from these plants! The garden is grown to feed the staff but also to attract beneficial insects that will protect the grape vines. It’s a method of keeping bugs and microbes away from the vines without chemicals.
7 Thomas Jeffersons zinfandel vines
These zinfandel vines were cloned from a vine from Thomas Jefferson’s own winery!
6 Thomas Jefferson's vines
Another view of the Thomas Jefferson vines.
9 Bambi and Dan
Bambi and Dan enjoying Medlock Ames bucolic environs. Bambi is a special person to me because, growing up, she was one of my baby-sitters. We were even roomies during summers  on Cape Cod! It’s wonderful to now be friends as adults.
10 EM and Tom
The CCC with dad, Tom. Stacy, our guide, called this spot at the winery, “picture perfect”. I don’t think she is wrong.
8 tasting from the casks
One of the most fun parts of our tour was tasting the wine from steel and oak casks. The taste and texture of the wine certainly changes as it moves from steel to oak to the bottle. (Bottle is best!)
8 Cask storage room
The grounds of the winery are beautiful. Here is one of the outbuildings used for storing casks.
8 One of the outbuildings
Another interesting outbuilding.
11 Dan and Bambi at the tasting
Dan and Bambi about to partake in a most fabulous tasting. The Medlock Ames wine portfolio includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Reserve Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Red Bordeaux Blend (my favorite!). They also bottle their own olive oil, verjus, and preserves.

During our tasting we were fortune to meet Ames Morison, one of the owners and wine makers.  He was generous with his time answering all of our questions about their process. We were so impressed with him and Medlock Ames’ committment to creating delicious wines through environmentally conscious methods. As Dan said to Ames, “what you are you doing is really important and it’s what everyone should be doing.”  Very well said, Dan!

If you are looking for a unique and personal wine tasting experience, visit Medlock Ames. It’s bright, earthy, and elegant with a lingering finish of many happy memories! Thank you Bambi and Dan for inspiring us to visit!

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