I need to first write that I began this blog, and had it sitting in my scheduled blogs. I was going to be tasting it on a Monday, and when that Monday came along, my computer’s mother board fried itself. Yup… all of a sudden, nothing worked. I had about seven screens open, but nothing was working, no mouse action, and my for shut down took an eternity for it to finally close. When I finally got my computer to open again, the dreaded black screen was staring back at me. We’ve all been there, right. It’s an instantaneous panic, and I usually have Jose that i can run to, because he’s got it going on in the IT department. I was on my own, though, because Jose was still in Georgia visiting his mother, and I had tons of work to do, including finishing this story… but I couldn’t get at it. Jose had the laptop that has all of my passwords in it, and I was panicking. I called a computer technician who came to my house and said, “Yup… it’s your mother board.” I knew that it was (a forced) time for a new computer, but I wouldn’t buy one without Jose being with me. I had to wait for him to return, then go buy a computer. Meanwhile, this story had a false launch, because it had been dated.

At first I was beside myself, then I got over it, knowing that poop happens, and I’d make good once I got the dust settled. It’s taken me a week, but not I can finally tell this story as I wanted to.

Forgive my false start, and throwing you off, perhaps. It wasn’t intentional, and there’s the danger of having a tight schedule, good intentions, and a computer meltdown.

So here we go, Take 2…

2009 Malibu Rocky Oaks ~ Cabernet Franc, Los Angeles County

Let me first say that I learned to fall in love with Cabernet Franc when I worked for Iron Stone Vineyards. When I first arrived in 1999, I asked, what are you best known for? I was told,”Merlot.” I was like… “What, so’s everyone else! Since you have so many vineyards of Cabernet Franc in the world, why would we not want to go in that direction?” This was just before poop hit the fan for Merlot with the “Sideways” effect. It seems like it was a good call, because Ironstone is finally managing that story line.

Enter a query about a Cabernet Franc wine in my Email in box, and I’m all over it. Any excuse to taste Cabernet Franc is a great excuse for me.

I poured this Cab Franc into two glasses: a Pinot Noir glass, and a Cabernet glass. Why? Because I love Cab Franc, and for me it’s more of a round, juicy Pinot, that a Cabernet Sauvignon relative. (For those of you who may not know, yet: Cabernet Franc + Sauvignon Blanc = Cabernet Sauvignon, from a crossing of the two grape varieties.) As a stand alone variety, it has much more character and flavor on my palate, than a Cabernet Sauvignon does any day of the week.

In the Pinot glass: This wine has beautiful garnet color, and has the look that it wasn’t over fined or filtered. I was prepared for those rich plum flavors that i find in Cab Franc, given the color I’ve come to love about this wine. I swirled and sniffed lots of aromas, all at one, so I had to now just slow down and begin the process of identifying its complexity: those juicy plums that I was expecting. Cassis and black currants, strawberry cotton candy and mid may violets… It’s all there and very lovely. I had to taste it… It just delivered exactly what I had enjoyed int he nose, and found this wine – from LA County – to be delicious and medium bodied, by-the-way.

In the Cabernet glass: This was going to be very interesting. Would it actually be more constrained, because a Cabernet glass is so much more closed and restrictive with the ability to get a get nose from it? Yes, it was just what i thought it would be in this glass, which immediately makes me wonder if I want to make my red wine glass an exclusively Pinot glass experience, with all due respect to all of the glass companies out there. Big globe, big nose, big aromas. How did it deliver? the flavors seemed to be consistent, but it didn’t linger as much as it had in the Pinot glass.

Would I buy this wine if it were on the shelves and I wanted a red wine? Oh, yes.

I highly recommend this wine for anyone who

  • Loves Cab Franc
  • Is looking for a great wine with a holiday bird
  • Is wanting a great red wine to give as a gift to friends this holiday season ~ It’s got a great bottle design, by the way…
  • Or, for just enjoying a red wine because you deserve a delicious one…

Let’s just also say that I want to be in this infinity pool with my next glass…

2003 Iron Horse. Green Valley of Russian River Brut LD… Smooth as silk, luscious as a day of freedom to do what you want, unencumbered by anything (obviously, when I wrote this part, my computer – and world – hadn’t crashed, yet)… That explains the day; and it also explains when I opened this wine and simply enjoyed its bubbly personality. I work 60-80  hours week (my choice), because I don’t know how to do it any other way. When I was made, I was given the energy of about six people…okay, maybe only five… but still, I’ve got one speed and it’s called fast forward. It’s very rare that I decide to just chill and take it in slowly. This is what I did on the particular day that I tasted this wine; because I know one thing for sure; occasionally, I need to slow down. When I do, I really treat myself. When I took this bottle from the shelf, I knew I was going to be enjoying the best and I had worked myself to that point. Iron Horse is that great, and I was blessed to have this delicious wine available.

  • LD stands for Late disgorged. This 2003 vintage was aged for 8+ years on the yeast in the bottle, which immediately explained to me why this wine was so creamy smooth. This wine is Irons Horse’s Têté de Cuvée; while it’s called a Brut, given their low dosage, they “could have easily have called it ‘Extra’ Brut LD.” Its crisp, clean flavors, with the underlining creamy textures from the extended aging sur lie, makes this Brut one very scrumptious, unctuous sparkling wine.
  • A blend of 50 percent Chardonnay and 50 percent Pinot Noir grapes, they were gently pressed whole cluster, giving the wine an extremely delicate structure.
  • This is an Estate bottles wine comes from the very cool climate of Green Valley. (If you watch the video below of Iron Horse, you’ll note this cool climate character in my images. when I left home that day to get my sparkling wine, my location was at least 10 to 12 degrees warmer in the morning ~ only 10 miles from Iron Horse’s location.)
  • Iron Horse is very pleased to be able to offer precision in all that they do. Perfectionists are like that, and this wine represents that singular excellence.

Last year at this time, I drove out to Iron Horse Vineyards to buy a holiday bubbly. It was a damp, fall day that I chronicled with my camera. I was so inspired with these images after the trip I took the time to create a video from that drive.


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