2016 Thistle Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
91 pts - Wine Advocate
Our Small Lot Collection wines are the result of years of experience tasting the mosaic of different and distinct individual blocks on our Bell Mountain Estate ranch. As we cull through and taste each lot, specific micro blocks speak to us. These limited offerings are handcrafted with our 100% estate-grown organic grapes that benefit from our sustainable farming approach.
We are often asked, why organic farming? What’s the importance of being sustainable? For us, the answer is simple, generations. We take care of the land now to ensure it will be healthy for the future. This was clearly demonstrated to Ames as a youth. His father had leased a portion of their farm and when it was returned, the fields were covered in thistles. Rather than spray pesticides, he painstakingly removed all of the thistles from the land by digging them out with a shovel. It was a process that took many years and taught Ames the difficult but virtuous path of organic farming. We named this wine, Thistle, to honor Ames’ father and the values that we hold dear.
Due to the nature of this wine, we don’t make it every year; rather, when Mother Nature provides us the conditions. We handpicked ultra-ripe Sauvignon Blanc at the tail end of harvest. It was a team effort; every person who works for Medlock Ames participated in the harvest on a beautiful November morning. Magical things happen when fruit gets this ripe!
The 2016 Thistle Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc is quite generous, offering aromas of concentrated Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, orange blossom honey, and freshly grated ginger. On the palate, we find an intriguing blend of flavors of honey and Bosc pear with a citrus rind finish that is a result of the extra hangtime. That progression, called Botrytis cinerea, extends the maturity level adding to the fruit’s lush, tropical character. The sugar and acid are in perfect balance. This wine would pair beautifully with a gâteau Basque. Serve it slightly chilled and see how the flavors and aromas develop as the glass warms.
The 2016 vintage began with a warm spring and some late rains that gave us an early budbreak and enough water to provide good early season vine growth despite being in the tail end of a severe drought. June and July were warmer than usual, but when we approached the key ripening months of August and September, the weather cooled significantly, allowing a slow approach to maturity. These conditions favor good fruit development without excessively high alcohol. Exactly the kind of wine we love to make.