Overview
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Iron Horse is one of Sonoma County's most prestigious, small, independent, estate, family owned wineries located in cool, foggy Green Valley, within the famed Russian River Valley. The founding partners, Audrey and Barry Sterling first saw it in the pouring rain in February 1976. Driving down Ross Station Road, they were sure they were lost until they crested the knoll and the view opened up to 300 acres of gentle rolling hills and a wall of trees behind that looked like Camelot to them. Incurable romantics, and having extraordinary vision, they bought the property in just two weeks. Terlato Wines is proud to represent Iron Horse Vineyards in Canada.

In those days, Iron Horse was the most westerly vineyard in Sonoma County. Even the agricultural extension agents from UC Davis recommended they look further east as this vineyard was prone to frost as late as June 1st, well after bud-break, and jeopardizing the crop. But having lived in France, the Sterlings knew the cool, foggy climate was exactly what they were looking for to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And, as a native San Franciscan, Audrey Sterling had spent part of her summers on the Russian River and was familiar with the area.

There were 110 acres in vine at the time, originally planted by Forrest Tancer when he was working for Rodney Strong. Forrest and the Sterlings became partners, upgraded the vineyard, engineered an elaborate frost protection system, built the winery and produced their first vintage of Estate Chardonnay in 1978. The winery officially opened in 1979 with the first vintage of Estate Pinot Noir on Barry Sterling's 50th birthday. The first vintage for the Sparkling Wines was 1980.

The name Iron Horse came from a train that stopped at Ross Station at the turn of the 20th Century. The logo, the rampant horse on a weathervane, came from an actual weathervane that was unearthed when they were leveling the ground to build the winery.

In the arena of sparkling wines, Iron Horse stands at the top.  It is the Wine of Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings, Queens...and the Pope. Iron Horse has now been served at the White House for five consecutive presidential administrations, beginning in 1985 with the historic Reagan/Gorbachev Summit Meetings, which ended the Cold War. The first Bush administration served Iron Horse sparklings at several State Dinners and brought our Classic Vintage Brut to Moscow for the signing of the START treaty. The Clintons chose Iron Horse for many occasions-most impressively for the official White House Millennium Dinner New Year's Eve 1999 to toast the new Millennium. Iron Horse was served at the 200th anniversary of the White House attended by all of the living presidents except Ronald Reagan who was too ill to travel to Washington. The first time the George W. Bush administration served our wines was on the most somber of occasions-September 20, 2001, at a working dinner with Prime Minister Tony Blair, immediately prior to the President's momentous address to Congress outlining U.S. response to 9/11. The winery is very proud the White House served Iron Horse at the dinner honoring the Pope on his 2008 visit to the United States.

The winery is also proud to produce a limited number of special cuvees for Charlie Palmer, Michael Mina, Bradley Ogden, Commander's Palace and Disney.

Iron Horse is truly a family affair. Audrey and Barry's daughter Joy Sterling is the CEO and lives at the foot of the vineyard.  The Sterlings' son Laurence, his wife Terry and their children moved to Iron Horse in 1990 and built their home on the far southwest corner of the property. Laurence is Director of Operations. Audrey and Barry are retired, but still reside at the heart of the estate in the original Victorian built in 1876.
 

Fact Sheet

Brand: Iron Horse Vineyards
Founded:
1979
Terlato Representation:
Since 2010
Location:

Russian River Valley, Sonoma, CA

Brand Capsule:
Celebrating some of life's most important and intimate moments
Flagship Product:
Estate Chardonnay
Price Point:

Wines:

  • Classic Vintage Brut
  • Wedding Cuvée
  • Estate Chardonnay
  • UnOaked Chardonnay
  • Estate Pinot Noir
Winemaker: David Munksgard
Vineyard:

Green Valley, Russian River Valley

Ownership:

Estate Pinot Noir

Estate Pinot Noir

The most distinctive character of Iron Horse Pinot Noir is that it goes beyond the bright fruit character typical of the Russian River area, showing deeper, earthier flavors that are special to Green Valley. This is a very expressive, stylish wine. It has extraordinary depth of character and yet the weight and texture of the wine are so light and silky, it just glides across the palette.

The 2008 Estate Pinot Noir is a signature Green Valley Pinot Noir, a perfect expression of both “Estate Bottled,” “Precision Winegrowing” and “Artisanal Winemaking”.

Match with stews, mushrooms, roasted chicken, roasted pheasant, roasted duck, roasted quail, rabbit any way and soft ripe cheese. Great with a properly prepared omelette.

Wine Notes
-
Black currant, cola and wild mushrooms.
Ripe plum, blueberry jam, gentle entry on the palate and a lingering pleasant finish.
Fact Sheet
0.57 g/l
0.20 g/l
Hand picked grapes from three different blocks, three different clones, Clone 12/Martini Selection, Pomard and Geisenheim are de-stemmed into stainless steel tanks where they are cold-soaked (using dry ice) for seven days. Before fermentation is complete, the new wine is gently pressed from the skins and transferred to French oak barrels. Fermentation then goes to completion in the barrels, allowing us to stir the lees as the wine ages prior to blending and bottling.
1,290

Estate Chardonnay

Estate Chardonnay
Wine Notes
Fact Sheet

UnOaked Chardonnay

UnOaked Chardonnay

Our UnOaked Chardonnay certainly presents more challenges to our winemaking team than oaked Chardonnay, but we are definitely pleased by the results for their efforts.  The grapes for the 2007 UnOaked Chardonnay primarily come from our Thomas Road Vineyard.  The particular block is planted to UCD Clone 4, ideally suited for bright, mineral-dominated, yet rich Chardonnay.

Fantastic with salads, spring, fresh vegetables, Picholine olives, anchovies and cured meats, eclectic, exotic, fusion, pan Asian, East-meets-West cuisines that have difficulty carrying oak. Perfect with a light lunch as well as olives, salads, mussels, shrimp, pastas with white or tomato sauce, ham and swiss on rye sandwiches, not too much mustard and potato chips.

Wine Notes
Golden straw hue.
Minerality with a hint of lees
Intense minerality and mandarin orange
Fact Sheet
0.58 g/l
0.16 g/l
All of our Chardonnay is handled one lot at a time. Only as the grapes arrive at the winery do we decide how to treat them. Sometimes it is straight to the press as whole clusters, while other times a cold soak might be necessary.
2,162

Wedding Cuvée

Wedding Cuvée
Wine Notes
Fact Sheet

Classic Vintage Brut

Classic Vintage Brut
Wine Notes
Fact Sheet