There is something majestic about driving into Alexander Valley. The multi-story buildings of nearby Healdsburg and Geyserville fade away and all you have on nearly all sides of you are vineyards. There’s only a few roads into the valley. And where the two main roads meet, Alexander Valley Rd. and Hwy 128 is where you’ll find the newer kid on the block. Welcome to Medlock Ames.
While Medlock Ames has occupied the property for less than a decade, the actual building has been around for over over a century. What was once a storefront is now both a winery and a bar that serves cocktails (more on that part in a bit).
While you might be at the corner of the two main streets in Alexander Valley, you really feel like you’re out in the vineyards. The tasting room faces out onto a series of raised beds and the surrounding grapes. During the spring and summer months, the grapevines help encompass the seating area right next to the tasting room by providing a bit of a canopy overhead (until the leaves fall off). To say the environment is both relaxing and inviting is an understatement.
I think Medlock Ames know this, and plays on those strengths. You have the choice of either sitting outside on one of the tables with a cheese pairing or chilling inside with the standard wine tasting.
At Medlock Ames, stewardship for the environment is everywhere you can look, and taste. Along with the wine made from organically grown grapes, the building is built from reclaimed lumber and powered by solar panels. Medlock Ames takes the organic and sustainable words and turns them up to 11. Careful planning was even taken into account on how the winds moved through the property, offering guests the best experience possible. Ok, now that’s pretty cool.
Having just had lunch, I opted for the wine tasting sans cheese. Which meant I was chilling inside of the building gazing out at the property. The tasting started with a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. More minerally than what you would expect with the Dry Creek ones. Alexander Valley is Bordeaux country, so their Sauvignon Blanc will have a bit more passion fruit and grapefruit to it, than the Dry Creek boys across the way, which have a stronger lemony component to theirs.
As it is spring, they also had a rosé. As I mentioned prior, this is Bordeaux country, so theirs was made with Merlot, a softer grape which played nicely to a rosé style. It showed up on one of the first warm days of spring and was warmly received in my glass. I liked it so much, I grabbed the bottle (after paying for it) and took it down to one of the tables underneath the olive trees and relaxed.
After the rosé came a Merlot and a few Cabs. Medlock Ames also has a red blend known as Snakepit Red, named after the vineyards that are on a slightly lower elevation where rattlesnakes like to hang out. Did I mention that the tasting room isn’t that near the vineyards?
Due to their smaller productions, as everything is estate grown, you might see a rotation in their lineup the next time you go. That’s cool by me. I like the fact that almost every time I’ve been to Medlock Ames, a slightly different tasting appears (unless you’re going like weekly).
The tasting is adequate for their smaller size. $15 for the wine tasting and $20 if you want the cheese pairing. Note, the cheese pairing also comes with patio seating, so the additional $5 goes much further than just a few pieces of cheese.
I also appreciate the tasting booklet. One page talks about the history of the winery, the next the wine club and shipping info, and the last page is the current wine available to taste. Simple and easily packaged up for your reference.
There are a handful of tables scattered out around the property for you to enjoy a picnic or, say a bottle of rosé. During the summer months, the pizza oven comes alive. While I haven’t had the chance to attend one of their many events, this would be a fantastic space to have a party, with, say rosé.
If you can’t make it to the tasting room during business hours, all is not lost. There’s a bar attached to the building. When the winery closes, the bar opens up. Many of the ingredients used in the cocktails are sourced right from the raised beds outside. There’s both seating at a large oak bar or small tables around the room. It’s rustic and inviting, much like the tasting room around the corner.
Medlock Ames managed to capture the rustic nature of the surrounding area with a modern vibe. This is a place where you don’t want to rush it. Get to know the property, the history, the rosé (when available) and enjoy all that Medlock Ames truly has to offer.