Tag Archives: Medlock Ames

Sonoma Sis

Recently, my sister, Annie and her boyfriend, John, came to SF for a visit.  In accordance with the CCC’s Rules of Good Hostessing, we, of course, spent a day in wine country.  We are lucky in the Bay Area to live so close to a bounty of incredible wineries, it’s sometimes hard to chose where to go.  This is why for all things wine I turn to my wonderful friends, Pamela and Anton. They know wines and they know wine country.  In addition to one of my favorite wineries, Medlock Ames (see my review here), Pamela and Anton also suggested Michel-Schlumberger and Dry Creek Vineyards ending at Rustic for a late lunch.  Yes, it was a wonderful day!

annie and john at Medlock Ames
Annie and John at the Medlock Ames tasting room. Get ready for tastiness!
garden at medlock ames
Seasonal and sustainable gardens, in addition to delicious wines, are part of the Medlock Ames philosophy.
Medlock Ames interior
The Medlock Ames tasting room is the diletante photographer’s dream. Lots of interesting things to shoot and lots of depth to the light and shadow.
Mom and Me at MA
My mom, Bev, and I enjoying some of Medlock Ames 2013 Lower Slope Chardonnay. I don’t always love Chard because of the fat, buttery taste but Medlock Ames does a nice job with this one. It’s crisp, lemony, and light – more like a sauvignon blanc – but then isn’t that the dream of all chardonnays to be more like a sauv blanc 😉

After a fantastic start to our day at Medlock Ames, we moved onto Michel-Schlumberger, quite possibly the most elegant winery in Sonoma. Jean-Jacques Michel planted the first vines here in 1979. The Dry Creek Valley soil and climate are ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay grapes.  In 1991, Jacques Pierre Schlumberger joined with Michel bringing with him a 400-year family history of wine making. Of note, Jacques Pierre is a descendant of Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger founders of Schlumberger, a global company that serves the technology and project management needs of the oil and gas industry.

MS entrance
The winery is housed in a lovely Mission-style building. The quintessential setting for a Sonoma Winery.
MS flowers
Gorgeous flowers greet you at the winery entrance.
driveway of MS
Perfectly pruned olive trees line the winery’s driveway.
DA, EM and John at MS
My dad, Tom, John, and me enjoying some bubbles. Nothing wrong with that!   (I must point out what an excellent hair day I was having. I also really liked my outfit.)
MS food paring
The food from left to right: a cream of mushroom soup made with seven kinds of mushrooms – heavenly; a pork belly slider with cilantro and jalapeno; and for desert, a gingerbread cake, the perfect pairing with Michel-Schlumberger’s 2012 Port.

In addition to wine tasting, you can also do a food pairing at Michel-Schlumberger. Perfect for the peckish taster. The food was delish and the wines were lovely.  The zinfandel was the crowd favorite.  It was particularly special because, our host, Ryan, was the vinter for this wine.  He and father founded Leonhardt Vineyards and they have been making Zins since 2007. Don’t tell the folks at Michel-Schlumberger but you can buy Ryan’s wine at Trader Joes! 

enjoying lunch at MS
A fabulous lunch with fabulous people in a fabulous spot. Fabulous!
Dry Creek
Next stop: Dry Creek Vineyards. Home to some of the best sauvignon blanc around.

Founded in 1972 by David S. Stare, Dry Creek Vineyards was the first in the area. Before the winery, Dry Creek Valley was rather desolate with only a few family farms and prune orchards.  I went crazy for their sauvignon blanc and joined the wine club.

Dry Creek Private Room
As a wine club member, I am looking forward to enjoying winery parties in their private room. (Fancy!)
Dry Creek Grounds
In keeping with Sonoma winery style, Dry Creek’s grounds are beautiful. You can buy a bottle of wine from the winery and have a picnic.
I call this selfie, “Drunkie”. From the red stains around my lips I enjoyed more than just sauvignon blanc! Thank you to John for being the designated driver.
Francis Ford Coppola
After all that wine tasting, it was time for some hearty fare at Francis Ford Coppola’s restaurant, Rustic. In true Hollywood style, the winery also has a huge pool where, for a fee, you can rent a little cabin and enjoy the Sonoma lifestyle for a day.
Dad at Rustica
Tom is ready for lunch.
To what should we toast? To good food, to good wine, to good friends, to a good life!

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!