Highway 116 from Sebastopol to Guerneville is full of treasures, some hidden and some only accessible via a rough, unpaved road. Iron Horse Vineyards is one of the latter.
Let me set the scene…approximately two years ago, a newly engaged couple decided to spend Valentine’s Day on the River, tasting wine along the way. This was a small break from the intense wedding planning that had been happening, and also a way for them to, ummm….find some wine for the wedding. Yes, that’s it.
This couple left their little DogBird at home and headed to the house of bubbles they’d passed often, but never visited. Down windy 116 they went, then up the rough, gravelly road and were met with a vista that seemed to go on forever, accented by a casual, outside bar that was dotted with glasses of bubbles, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.
Approximately twenty minutes and
many maybe two tastes later, LadyBird was hooked. “Sign me up!” she said. The already very friendly and generous pourers were pleased by this, and welcomed the couple to the Iron Horse family, and found a special bottle or two to share (which had nothing to do with the club — it was just a happy coincidence that they had a few bottles open). LordBird just laughed and enjoyed the very delicious still wines, lamenting the fact that he had agreed to be the designated driver on such a tasty day.
In all seriousness, the wines — both sparkling and still — are delicious here. They are all on the pricier side of average for the area; the quality of these wines is evident. The sparkling is made in the traditional method, and they all start with a very similar base, the dosage largely giving each one its uniqueness. If you enjoy sparkling, you will find something here to your taste. Their Pinot Noirs are on the pricier side of average, but you will not go wrong with any of them — look for the robust flavor, but light texture, characteristic of the Green Valley AVA. As for the Chard, only the man of the story can comment on that one. He would like to say they are rich, vibrant, fruit-driven, but with good wood behind them.
What to Try:
LordBird Says: Bubbles. Either the Ocean Reserve or the wine that helped end the cold war, the Russian Cuvee.
LadyBird Says: Bubbles. If you’re lucky and they’re pouring it, definitely the Commander’s Palace. Otherwise, you cannot go wrong with The Wedding Cuvee.
Iron Horse Vineyards
9786 Ross Station Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Tastings start at 25$, waived with bottle purchase