Holidays in Sonoma – Iron Horse Vineyards

I’ve been a fan of Iron Horse Vineyards since I discovered them back in 2009 – I selected their Wedding Cuvee for my wedding. And, they were the winery I was most excited about visiting when we came to Sonoma. They are very small in size, but have a great big heart.

To visit Iron Horse, you need to make an appointment, which you can do online if you’d like – they want to manage the number of tasters to make sure you have a good experience and are not lost in a crowd. When you arrive, be prepared to drive up a slender one way dirt road (which was muddy for us!) until you see a little roundabout and clustering of wooden barns. The road is a little longer than you might expect. I sort of liked that feeling of confusion and whether we were lost as it is probably reminiscent of the founders, who when they discovered this property also thought they were lost until they came up the knoll to the view of the hills you are about to see. The parking area is on the dirt and gravel on the right side, where you get your first view of the rolling hills of vines.

View of rollings hills of vines at Iron Horse Vineyards View of rollings hills of vines at Iron Horse Vineyards View of rollings hills of vines at Iron Horse Vineyards View of rollings hills of vines at Iron Horse Vineyards

Later the sun came up, yielding the pictures up there that don’t include me – that first one was taken when we first arrived and it was still misty at 11 AM, much like the foggy day the founders came upon this property and bought it 2 weeks later, feeling like these grounds were like Camelot! That is only part of the reason for the horse on their bottles: a horse that looks like that was also found on a weathervane they uncovered as they were breaking ground. It really seems like fate no?

When you walk up to the tasting room, you discover it is just a simple outdoor wooden bar that you stand at. They have heaters if the weather gets chilly, and there are some benches you can sit at a bit back from the tasting bar overlooking the vineyards but otherwise no standing. There are no dogs allowed on the property.

You can choose from a sparkling flight. Or they also offer pinot noir and chardonnay. Of everything I tasted, I liked it all. And we tried to be thorough…
The delicious wines of Iron Horse Vineyards The delicious wines of Iron Horse Vineyards 2012 Iron Horse Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2010 Iron Horse Vineyards Native Yeast Chardonnay 2010 Iron Horse Vineyards Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blancs. Iron Horse gives $4 a bottle to National Geographic's Ocean Initiative, establishing marine protected areas and supporting sustainable fishing practices around the globe. Iron Horse 2010 Wedding Cuvee 2011 Fairytale Celebration Cuvee Iron Horse 2010 Classic Vintage Brut 2010 Iron Horse Russian Cuvee Iron Horse 2010 Winters Cuvee "2007

It was so good that my friend and I joined the wine club. Just as I have wonderful memories tied to the Wedding Cuvee, it turns out she has the same story with their Fairytale Celebration Cuvee. That’s the kind of wines they have – ones that are perfect for every and any special occasion and whose flavor is so distinctive versus most sparklings that are poured that you end up etching a strong happy memory with their unique flavors.

I love how their wine club is so flexible that you can specify whether you want all whites, all reds, all sparklings, all stills, all sparkling + red, or all sparkling + white. Every wine is a vintage wine that is aged at least 3 years, if not more. And really, there are never too many bubbles in one’s life. Eac one really has its own character – and sometimes its own story.

The Russian Cuvee was made for the historic Reagan-Gorbachev summit meetings which ended the Cold War.. Iron Horse Vineyards sparkling is still now has been served in the White House to presidents and their guests since 1985.

Meanwhile for the limited edition Ocean Reserve (which has citrusy lime tones), Iron Horse gives $4 a bottle to National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative, establishing marine protected areas and supporting sustainable fishing practices around the globe. They have a Rainbow Cuvee in support of marriage equality as well.

The Winter’s Cuvee has a touch of estate made pinot noir brandy. The Classic Brut has a bit of tartness to it reminiscent of apples, while the Brut X has a great dryness that makes it so sharp and crisp.

I guess I’ll have to stop gushing about Iron Horse now and just highly recommend that you visit them when you visit Sonoma. It is definitely a casual rustic feel, which is such testament to the down to earth winery that creates the classy sparklings good enough for the Pope and heads of state and maybe, you too will like them?

If you haven’t guessed, this was my favorite winery I visited during my Sonoma trip! And, I totally had an Iron Horse sparkling to celebrate New Year’s 2015 too.

Have you been to Iron Horse, or had Iron Horse sparklings before? Or do you have a certain specific memory tie to a certain producer of sparkling wines?

This post is the fifth in my series about visiting Sonoma.