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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Iron Horse T bar T Benchmark 1999

Bordeaux Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
  • WE94
  • W&S93
  • RP90
0% ABV
  • WE94
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Winemaker Notes

The first word that comes to mind to describe this wine is luscious. This proprietary blend has exquisite fruit and soft, silky tannins. Both qualities speak to the wine's roots in the Alexander Valley. The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon with 12 percent Merlot and 12 percent Cabernet Franc - all grown on Forrest Tancer's T-bar-T vineyard in the northeast foothills of the Alexander Valley. The percentages are identical to the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon, but like two diamonds of the same size and carat weight … this release is the more dazzling because it is made entirely from the finest barrels cherry picked from the vintage.

Food Pairing: Sliced New York strip steak, pepper steak with french fries, grilled rack of venison served with a fresh onion tart, blue cheeses like our current favorite Humbolt Fog.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Iron Horse

Iron Horse

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Iron Horse, Sonoma County, California
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A pioneer in the Green Valley appellation within the Russian River area of Sonoma County, the Iron Horse family is building a legacy of prestige sparkling wines and elegant estate-bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir within a "holistic" environment of natural balance, cultivation and love of the land.

Iron Horse is best known for its Sparkling Wines, which have been served at the White House since 1985, beginning with the historic U.S.-Russian Summit Meetings ending the Cold War, at the White House Millennium celebrations ushering in the new century, and at the White House dinner honoring the Pope.

Their Chardonnay is considered a signature wine for the cool, foggy Green Valley region. Pinot Noir is the winery's rising star wine.

Iron Horse has been named an American icon in a reference book published by Random House called "Icons of the American Market Place". Listed in alphabetical order, Iron Horse takes its place between iPod and Jack Daniel’s, validating Iron Horse’s reputation as a brand backed by pride, passion and quality.

The Iron Horse name came from a train that cut across the property in the 1890s. The logo, the rampant horse on a weather vane, came from a 19th century weathervane found while clearing away the rubble to build the winery.

Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

YNG192020_1999 Item# 51393