Vineyard’s woodsy setting announces itself on first sniff.
A story elsewhere on this site details current planet-positive initiatives at Medlock Ames Winery including regenerative farming. During a late-2021 tasting at the estate Bell Mountain Ranch outside Healdsburg, cofounder and longtime winemaker Ames Morison disclosed that the wine he felt proudest of right then was the Newcomb Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoying a bottle a few weeks later on my own, I appreciated Morison’s enthusiasm anew.
2019 Medlock Ames Newcomb Sauvignon Blanc
This wine’s grapes come from a relatively cool section of Bell Mountain Ranch, which overlaps northern Sonoma County’s Alexander and Russian River valleys near the Chalk Hill appellation. The vineyard’s woodsy setting announces itself on first sniff, the aromas hinting at the stone, stone fruit, wisp-of-honey dew, and minerality that envelop the palate upon tasting.
While pondering the Newcomb, I found myself first listing all the characteristics that weren’t present – “not too citrusy or pineapple-y and definitely not grassy; not too light or diluted” – before honing in on the positives: the balance, slight rounding (via lees contact), calculated acidity, and taste of earth and herbs and warm summer breezes. And oh yes, the terrific mouthfeel.
This Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t taste like anyone else’s, a tribute to the singular location but also growing and cellar decisions. Last fall, Morison described aging the Newcomb partly in oak and acacia barrels, the latter introducing “a green element, like green cardamom, fig, a little bit of mandarin.” True enough, but what struck me even more was that despite such maneuvers the wine impresses most with its purity of expression.
Read the full Medlock Ames profile here.