Winemaking Philosophy

The Iron Horse concept is to make estate bottled wines, which show a definite "sense of place”. The family feels very strongly about making wines that are specific to the Green Valley appellation, our special vineyard and the vintage, making the best wines of the year, and never falling back on "recipe” winemaking.

Generally speaking, the wines are expressive, stylish, highly nuanced, bright, focused, soft and silky. They exude quality and class. Above all, winemaker David Munksgard strives for exquisite balance in his wines. Our style is not "knock your socks off” wines. We prefer to glide your socks off.

The sparkling wines are remarkable for exceeding the French standards for vintage quality. None of the cuvées undergo malolactic fermentation. The richness and creaminess come from extended aging on the yeast in the bottle. The Wedding Cuvée is aged on average three years and the Classic Vintage Brut is aged four to five years. From the beginning, Robert Parker wrote: "These impressive sparkling wines...possess more texture and flavor than just about any sparkler...from California.”

The grapes for the Chardonnay are whole fruit pressed-like we do for bubbly, which yields the most delicate juice. The percentage of malolactic varies depending upon the vintage. The mix of wood also differs with the year. The constants are the vineyard and the people behind the wines.
Our Pinot Noirs are cold soaked for a week to ten days, then barrel fermented-techniques with lead to great depth of flavor and character, but the weight and texture of the wine is still so light and silky it just glides across the palate.