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When Chris James and Ames Morison found Bell Mountain Ranch in 1997, they discovered old Merlot vines planted on terraces that had been neglected for years. The swings in elevation from the terraces to the flats produced a merlot of finesse and rich fruit characteristics. The rows were planted 12 feet apart decades before as that was the regional standard to accommodate the fruit tractors available at the time. Ames decided to plant additional rows of Merlot in between the existing vines. These new rows are now 20 years old and form the basis of our Rose of Merlot.
Our 2019 Rosé continues our tradition of utilizing the direct-to-press method which results in a lighter, fresher style than the saignée method we used to use. We purposefully select a few of our older blocks that tend to give us a subtle, delicate flavor profile that we love in our Rosé. The wine is tank fermented and aged to preserve its crispness. We also stir the lees every other week to enhance the body and add richness. In this vintage, we added a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time to enhance the palate weight and add a floral dimension.
This Merlot-based rosé offers beautiful up-front aromas of rose petals, cotton candy, and fresh, ripe strawberries, with a faint note of cinnamon and orange peel. On the palate we find rich berry and rose-water flavors, with a juicy acidity and round mouthfeel to balance the freshness.
2019 offered nearly ideal growing conditions: a warm spring with some later rainfall set us up for good early season growth which was followed by a moderately warm summer that lasted well into October without any severe temperatures of untimely rainfall. These conditions allowed for a classic vintage.
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Medlock Ames Winery was formed in 1998 by college best friends, Chris Medlock James and Ames Morison, who set out to produce award-winning wines from Bell Mountain Ranch.
After their school days, Ames and Chris continued as roommates where they would often share bottles of wine at their apartment in New York City. One night after a little too much wine, a seed of an idea was planted to produce the kind of elegant Bordeaux wines they were drinking but from California grapes. They packed up, moved to California, and began searching for the ideal property.
After looking at over 100 different properties, Chris and Ames drove the windy private lane off of Chalk Hill Road where Bell Mountain towered over a few dozen acres of neglected Merlot vines. The beauty of Bell Mountain and the surrounding land spoke to them and Medlock Ames was born. That was 1998 and the deep commitment to preserving Bell Mountain and being a vocal supporter for the kind of light-touch farming practices that being organic means was part of our values ever since. Today, these friends remain singularly focused on quality through mindful and organic farming along with a light touch in the cellar.
Since our beginnings almost 20 years ago, everything we do at Medlock Ames is driven by our values. This is core to who we are and is what drives us each day.
In the spirit of full transparency, we share our values statement. We are open, honest, authentic with each other and with our members and guests. From our organic farming practices since day one to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment we are fully committed to our values.
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