Looking for an adventure in wine tasting in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley? Trek up the narrow winding dirt road to Iron Horse Vineyards for a million dollar view and stellar sparkling wine.
Family owned and operated by Barry and Audrey Sterling, Iron Horse Vineyards, was named after a railroad stop, which crossed the property in the 1890s. The site was rediscovered in the 1970s by wine pioneer Rodney Strong, who planted 55 acres of Chardonnay and 55 acres of Pinot Noir. The first estate vintage premiered in 1979. Today, three generations of family reside on the property, overseeing the vineyards and wine production.
Standing tall over the massive 300 acre property is the trademark iron horse sculpture which was actually part of a weathervane that was unearthed on the property during construction of the winery. A true buried treasure!
There’s no pretense at the rustic outdoor tasting room at Iron Horse Vineyards, yet the elegant tasting line up speaks volumes. Well-known for their sparkling wines, guests will also taste remarkable estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Iron Horse Vineyards crafts 12 different sparkling wine cuveés.
Hands down, one of the favorite cuveés is the 2010 Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blanc, made from 100% estate Chardonnay and the other is the 2007 Brut Rosé, a lush rose from the estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Chardonnay lovers will rejoice with the 2012 Native Yeast Chardonnay, selected from one of the prized vineyard blocks. The unique mouthfeel and minerality is characteristic of the Hyde-Old Wente clone.
Last, but certainly first in my tasting book, is the 2012 Pinot Noir Estate, brimming with raspberry and red cherry at first sip. Soft and silky, with a long finish, this Pinot Noir is a beautiful representation of the foggy Green Valley AVA.
Iron Horse Vineyards is certainly worthy of an afternoon visit to sip and savor the breathtaking panoramic Russian River Valley views. www.ironhorsevineyards.com