When I travel I am committed to eating and drinking local. Whenever I’m in a wine region I make a special effort to seek out new and interesting wines. A week in California recently put this to the test. Food friendly wines were few and far between and after just a few days I was suffering from serious palate fatigue.
Upon my return home, I immediately pulled the cork on a bottle of the Domaine Domaine des Terres Dorées Moulin a Vent 2005 by Jean-Paul Brun. I have written about this wine several times before, but the first sip of this wine after a week of palate busters was an extraordinary experience. This wine was so vibrant, alive and exciting after the ponderous wines of the week before that I was absolutely transfixed by its energy.
Its at moments like this that I realize just how far my own tastes are out of sync with what’s hot in the world of wine today.
One wine did stand out from my week of California drinkin’, the 2002 Iron Horse Vineyards Classic Vintage Brut is a stunning example of California sparkling wine. Rich, racy and toasty with perfect creamy texture on the palate and a long complex finish, this wine is a great pleasure to drink. Iron Horse long ago discovered how to make California sparkling wines that show their own unique personality instead of being poor copies of Champagne. On top of that it’s a great value at $31 a bottle.
What makes the Iron Horse such a interesting wine to drink is that is displayed the richness and ripeness that defines California wine without excess. It is a wine that is naturally rich without giving up its balance. It is a wine that is comfortable in its own skin instead of bursting at the seams like most California wines these days.