Wednesday, January 13, 2010

TN: Iron Horse 2005 Alexander Valley Bdx-3

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
Cons: None
Decant: Yes, this is still youthful
Price: $20 from
QPR: Excellent (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)


Jeff said...

Interesting. Sounds like an awesome wine. I thought that Iron Horse only made Sparklers? Who knew (I guess you did, but not me...)?

I picked up a bottle of that Haven's Syrah and got a bunch of Haven's Merlot for 7$...

CabFrancoPhile said...

Iron Horse does still Pinot and Chard as well. Too bad the Bdx program is gone, but that'll probably make their other wines that much better.

I'm curious to see what you think on the Havens wines. Our tastes aren't 100% aligned, but I think at the very least they're different from what one would expect from Cali or Napa.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Jeff, looks like feedback on the Havens Merlot is positive based an cellar tracker notes. The '05 I had was a bit too Bretty, but the '06 is getting rave reviews relative to the $7 price point.