Let's face it. In my mind, Iron Horse can do no wrong. As I'd expected there is nothing wrong with the Iron Horse 2005 Alexander Valley Bdx-3. In fact, everything is right! The fruit (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot), came from T-bar-T Ranch in Alexander Valley. This was the last vintage Iron Horse produced wine from this vineyard because they sold it to Hall Winery. A fortuitous byproduct of this otherwise sad development is that the winery sold off the rest of their inventory at fire-sale prices.
Though I'm not always a fan of this style of wine, Iron Horse pulls it off beautifully. Perhaps aging in second-use Pinot Noir barrels is one reason for the complexity and well-proportioned oak influence. Or maybe it's the vintage. Or the whopping 8% of Petit Verdot delivering structure and depth. Regardless, this is a classic iron fist in a velvet glove wine. The effusive bouquet is brimming with cassis, coffee, roasted herbs, cedar and leather. It's New World, but elegant with a hint of oak in all the right places. Meanwhile, the wine has mouth coating viscosity, yet is not at all over-extracted. Often times wineries end up with a front-loaded wine that finishes medicinal and bitter, sacrificing the finish for mouth-feel and intensity on the attack. Not so here as the fully dry finish keeps going and going despite the upfront power of the blackberry fruit. The mouth-watering acidity is fairly high (7.1 g/L), while tannins are copious yet rounded. The wine oozes structure, yet is delicious now if you can handle the tannins.
I'm glad I bought half a case as this will be fun to follow for another 5+ years. The stuffing is there, and thankfully there's a degree of restraint that keeps this from going over the top. While I have no doubt there are better wines available, I have a feeling most would cost 2-4 times the $20 I paid. It is interesting that it takes a fire-sale to match the value of top Chinons at full retail, though.
Pros: Full Bodied, Intense, Fresh, Complex Aromas, Balanced, Long Dry Finish
Decant: Yes, this is still youthful
Price: $20 from wine.woot.com
QPR: Excellent (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)