2017 Kate's & B's Cabernet Sauvignon
94 pts, Jeb Dunnuck | 93 pts, James Suckling | 90-92+ pts, Wine Advocate
When co-founders Chris James and Ames Morison first started Medlock Ames, their passion was Cabernet and Bordeaux blends so 50% of the vines at Bell Mountain Vineyards were planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Bell Mountain Vineyard stretches along the Sonoma side of the Mayacamas Foothills with rolling hills that provide microclimates throughout the vineyards. This allows for experimentation of Cabernet Sauvignon in blocks across the property. Among the dozen Cabernet blocks, two of the steepest sloping plantings of Cabernet run up the side of Bell Mountain and continue to produce some of the richest Cabernet in our vineyards. The Kate’s and B’s blocks have become the hallmark of the subtle, elegant, and rich style of Cabernet that Chris and Ames first dreamed of. These blocks are reflective of classic Bordeaux territory – high-density vine spacing, gravely clay soils, tiny yields of small inky-black berries, and a thoughtful clonal selection matched by a rigorous farming regime.
The 2017 Kate’s & B’s shows aromas of blackcurrant, black cherries, and dark chocolate, with notes of espresso and cocoa, and a heady violet and rose petal. On the palate, the explosion of rich fruit qualities burst forward with baked strawberries and blackcurrants. A meaty quality is balanced with vanilla and supple tannins that are seamlessly supported with soft acidity. This wine evolves in the glass and each sip slowly resolves into a long, luxurious finish.
2017 was a year of extremes. The winter gave us twice our normal rainfall ending a five-year drought. The summer then came on with more scorchers than we care to count (16 days over 100 degrees!) The season ended with the most devastating fire in California’s history. Despite the challenging growing conditions, the extremes ripened the grapes in magical ways allowing us to make some of our greatest wines – bright and aromatic whites and rosé plus supple, concentrated reds.