2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon • Bell Mountain Vineyard
California: Alexander Valley
What we say
TOP SECRET PRICE ON A TOP QUALITY WINE!
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The Wine Spies are *very *pleased to bring you this very limited-production and very special wine to you.
Medlock Ames produces wines at its nearly top-secret winery, which sits atop the famous Alexander Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) of Chalk Hill. This is an appellation known to be an excellent environment for growing Cabernet Sauvignon.
Alexander valley is the region where some of Agnet Red’s favorite wines come from. _ This _ wine happens to be among them.
With no tasting room and no signs pointing the way to this winery, our agents had to rely on their cunning and their keen noses for great cab. On arrival at the winery, they were struck by the serene beauty of the place.
Sitting near the top of the region’s famous Chalk Hill, this unique winery produces wines Biodynamically - all organic and in harmony with nature. The winery is also energy-efficient, deriving energy from solar panels. Rather than using gas-guzzling tractors, this winery uses horse and plow. This approach, while unconventional and seemingly extreme, actually gave our spies a great feeling about this winery and its wines. We are starting to see other wineries adopt these practices and Medlock Ames should serve as a shining example of ecological responsibility in wine making.
Okay, so what about the WINE already?
This Cab immediately grabs you with rich aromas of dark cherries and a bit of blackberry. Drinking the wine reveals an undertone of dark chocolate tucked deep inside. And finally just when you think you hit the end of the trail with this wine you find a lovely lingering flavor of licorice and spices.
The experience of drinking this cab was a lot like discovering this winery’s secret mountain location– wonderful surprises at every turn. This wine is sure to excite you!
Appellation: Alexander Valley
Special Designation: Bell Mountain Vineyard
Varietal: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot
Please note that our allocation of this wine is small. As special as this wine is, we really encourage you to pick up a few bottles. We’re keeping a case in our secret lair…
What the winery says
In many respects 2003 could be considered a classic vintage for Medlock Ames wines. Fewer temperature surges allowed the fruit to mature more evenly resulting in a better balance between ripeness and maturity. We found wonderful flavors developing at lower sugar levels and jumped on the opportunity to harvest at the optimum time. Our newly opened winery just yards form the vineyard allowed us to quickly capture the essence of the vineyard. The resulting dark and intense Cabernet shows delicious dark cherry and cassis aromas which are enhanced by chocolate, dark berry and licorice on the palate as well as an exotic spicy quality we find characteristic of our vineyard. The dark fruit core of this wine is balanced by firm structure and supple tannins that last with the finish.
At Medlock Ames, we share the same climate as the floor of the Alexander Valley, with the added advantage of the hills’ well-drained, low-fertility soils. This profile gives us an excellent environment for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. The best Cabernet in the world is produced from stressed vines bearing small grapes in loose clusters. The vineyard’s well–drained soils enable us to limit the amount of water available to the vines at critical points in the growing season. The result is intense, concentrated grapes essential to world class Cabernet.
Medlock Ames is located on 335 acres of rolling oak and madrone woodland in the South-Western portion of the Alexander Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). The growing season temperature here is similar to Bordeaux’s – perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. The property also defines the eastern border of the Chalk Hill AVA, an appellation known for having the perfect soil structure for full flavored white varieties such as Chardonnay. Medlock Ames currently farms 56 acres of wine grapes. The rest of the acreage has been left in its natural state.
Red wines derive most of their color, flavor, and rich texture from phenolic compounds found in grape skins. In our winemaking practices, we strive to maximize those elements, which help us produce deeply colored wines with depth of flavor. Clonal selection and judicious irrigation in the vineyard produce smaller berries with a high concentration of phenols. Warm fermentation temperatures extract these compounds from the skins and release them into the wine. This gives us the building blocks. Early exposure to oxygen during the fermentation and extended barrel aging transform those raw building blocks into a great wine.
harvest At Medlock Ames, grapes are harvested by hand. Hand picking ensures little damage is done to the grapes and pickers are able to reject unripe fruit. Grapes are collected as quickly as possible in small 30lb tubs, and delivered to the winery by 11:00 AM. The objective is to prevent any premature fermentation or oxidation by keeping the grapes cool and intact.
shaker Once harvested and delivered to the winery, the grapes are raised up to the Mezzanine and gently dumped onto a vibrating shaker table for hand sorting. The vibrating table provides a steady flow of grapes into the crusher/destemmer.
crusher/destemmer The crusher/destemmer separates the stems from the cluster and gently breaks open the berries to release their juice. The must – a combination of juice, skins and seeds – falls onto a conveyor belt where it is sorted again and finally allowed to drop into an open top stainless steel fermenter.
stainless steel tank After leaving the crusher, the must is cold soaked in stainless steel tanks. This extracts as much color and flavor out of the skins as possible before fermentation begins. Fermentation occurs either naturally, or by adding yeast to the must, which consumes the sugars in the grape juice, and converts them to alcohol. The tanks are fitted with a cooling jacket through which coolant is pumped to export heat from the fermentation. The fermentation’s bubbling action pushes the skins to the top of the must. To extract the most flavor from the skins, the cap must be mixed into the fermenting must frequently. Many wineries perform a mechanical pump over. This can shear seeds and skins, contributing a bitter character to the wine. We use a gentler method. Several times a day, a large pneumatic plate slowly pushes the skins back down into the juice. These punchdowns occur throughout the fermentation, which lasts for roughly two weeks.
basket press After fermentation is complete, the juice is allowed to drain out of the fermentation tanks. The remaining seeds and skins are then transported to the basket press. As its name suggests, the basket press consists of a press plate and a basket, which constrains the skins and releases the juice.
aging After pressing, the wines are transferred via gravity flow into oak barrels where they will continue to develop, to age, until bottling. Our barrel cellar is situated below-grade, taking advantage of the earth’s natural cooling system and creating an ideal environment for aging. Our wines will spend roughly a year and a half to two years here before being put in a bottle with the Medlock Ames label.