The 2017 UnOaked Chardonnay is a pure expression of cool, foggy Green Valley. The wine is remarkably rich and elegant. With their bright acidity, UnOaked Chardonnays are worth holding onto as they age so beautifully if you can resist drinking them up. Sadly, production is very limited on this vintage.
By nose, a complex blend of stone fruit, green pear, and pineapple. By mouth, balanced acidity, grapefruit, Gravenstein apple, and minerality. Pairs beautifully with crab cakes, salmon tartar, bacon-wrapped scallops, prosciutto, whole-wheat pasta, and caper pesto. This is a great vegetable wine…especially heirloom tomatoes.
All of our Chardonnay is handled one lot at a time. Only as the grapes arrive at the winery do we decide how to treat them. Sometimes it is straight to the press as whole clusters, while other times a cold soak might be necessary. All of the UnOaked Chardonnay had an overnight skin contact soaking before pressing to control acidity with a cold stainless steel fermentation (between 60f and 63f) to retain esters, i.e., brightness, minerality, and exotic fruit elements.
At Iron Horse “Estate Bottled” means that the winemaking begins in the vineyard. Our location in Green Valley represents the very best soil, climate, and aspects for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Our goal is to grow the best winegrapes - what we call “precision farming.” All pruning, canopy management, irrigation, and cover crop decisions are determined on a block-by-block (and sometimes even vine-by-vine) basis, considering both the vintage at hand and the long-term needs of the land.
Appellation: Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Blend: 88% Hyde Old Wente Clone, 12% Rued Clone Chardonnay
Acidity: .57 g/100ml
Residual Sugar: <0.27 g/100ml
Malolactic Fermentation: None
Harvest Dates: September 3 - 6, 2017
Date Bottled: June 2018
Total Production: 1530 Cases
Included in the Box
4x 2017 UnOaked Chardonnay, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
12x 2017 UnOaked Chardonnay, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Iron Horse is one of Sonoma County’s most prestigious, small, independent, estate, family-owned wineries located in cool, foggy Green Valley. Iron Horse Sparkling Wines have been served at the White House for five consecutive presidential administrations, beginning with the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meeting in Geneva on November 20, 1985, which led to the end of the Cold War. Wine & Spirits Magazine has named Iron Horse Sparkling Winery of the Year nine times. From the beginning, Robert Parker has said, “These impressive Sparkling Wines…possess more texture and flavor than just about any sparkler I have tasted from California.”
I was very excited to receive the email I would be a Lab Rat again. When I opened the box a huge smile came across my face. Iron Horse UnOaked Chardonnay! This was one of my favorite whites purchased from the other site. I quickly logged in to see how long it’s been since I’ve had this and my last purchase was on August 15, 2016. It’s been a long time indeed. Popped it into the fridge for later that evening.
Upon PnP I got green apple and pear and the wine was a very pale straw color. The first sip was crisp and refreshing, but the flavor seemed a bit muted. Way too cold! Let it sit for 15 minutes and tried again. As it warmed it became almost creamy and much softer. It was more aromatic and now I’m tasting pineapple also. Light to medium acidity, silky and very tasty. Enjoyed another glass and put it back in the fridge for the next night.
Day 2 and the flavor profile was pretty much the same, maybe a little less fruit coming through but still very enjoyable. Definitely a wine that you don’t want to serve right from the fridge but allow to warm a bit. I really don’t care for heavily oaked chardonnays that make you think you’re chewing on a coffee table and this is definitely not that. This will be a great summer sipper and I’m definitely in. Thanks WCC!
This is way to funny, pulled a cork on a bottle out of the cellar of this a couple of days ago, and consumed freely and without thought. Finishing it off this evening, and, what, now I have to actually think about what I’ve been drinking?!
Ok, I’ll work on it…
No, this is not a Lab Rat Report, I did not receive a Rat bottle, so don’t expect deep thoughtful insights on why you may or may not want to grab a case.
But it’s IH, and Joy is a Joy and David knows what he’s doing, so you really should just buy a case and be done with it, especially if you don’t like buttery chards. Ok, got that?
I’ve got a bunch of reds open and under Ar but yesterdays menu called for something else. SWMBO’s Japanese stir fry wanted something else, and this was the first bottle I found that talked to me. I got eight of them from someplace up east of LA in MdS land and was curious; some Pedorncelli in the case as well, but I digress. Not at cellar temp, it spent a few minutes in the freezer just to take it a bit below room temp. Neither of us can remember exactly what was in the mix, just stuff from the fridge that ended up in a skillet, some beef tendon, cabbage, other veggies. Lighter fare and not an ideal match, but I wasn’t particular and it worked, even just slightly below RT.
Tonight was some pesto pasta with shrimp. I grated a bit of black winter truffle and cheese on top just to make things a bit more interesting; strange brew. Out of the fridge was ~way~ too cold. No nose to speak of and fairly crisp. I was thirsty.
Now, about an hour and a half later, it’s warmed up and I’m sipping. It comes up as the offer…
Talk about getting caught off-guard!
Nose is for me undefined citrus, you can almost sense the acidity.
Entry is crisp, the acidity is there, but as it’s now nearing RT it’s also very round with a bit of viscosity.
Mid palate is fruit; pear, apple and that citrus. Nice balance, no malo, plenty of fruit, acid and not at all cloying and clearly fermented dry.
Finish is lengthy, 20~30 seconds at least.
There is enough complexity here to keep things interesting. I almost wonder how much stem inclusion there may have been, because there are hints, but not of cooperage.
This is a tasty bottle of Green Valley Chard, and it’s now empty, so I can’t say much more, except if you like Chard, clean and crisp with a bit of added complexity, this should satisfy.
@rjquillin “…so you really should just buy a case and be done with it…”
Thank you Ron for taking care of me. Between the complexity of FFCRA and the myriad provisions of the CARES Act, I am so brain fried right now, I needed that simple instruction. I’m in.
I absolutely LOVE this wine! I’ve gotten away from the buttery chards. In fact, unoaked chards are my preference. This is such a great price, too! And, it’s Iron Horse! Hmmmmm, could this be the new house chard?
@bahwm@rjquillin We’ve been right here in WNY, not leaving the house much these days, but keeping an eye on casemates for the occasional irresistible deal (like this one). I don’t post much, because I can’t be bothered to look through every post again and again to see what’s new. I still keep trying to get used to it, but I still prefer the setup we used to have on the other site, with everything chronological. I know this sounds like whining, and I know it’s not going to change, but I can’t help it that I’ve started spending more time elsewhere for entertainment and enlightenment. I do miss the banter amongst our old buddies on the forum, but it’s no longer banter when it’s scattered all over Hell’s half acre. BTW, no matter how hard I look, I can’t find any sign of Kyle M. I figured out all the other new screen names early on, but is KM still around? I’ll try to put something up once in a while, just to keep you from worrying about us. Good friends like you are hard to come by.
@bahwm@ddeuddeg @cortot I’d think should know more.
Kyle stated, iirc, he’d not make the transition from W00t! to CM and it appears he’s stuck to it. I too miss him as he introduced me to some good bottles and offers, and some nice local (way east of LA) dim sum where we did a bottle exchange years ago.
I’ve been wanting to try an unoaked chardonnay…neither wife nor I really like chardonnays because we don’t like that typical “buttery” taste. So we’ll try this with a partial case.
as you know, we (collective family) have not been a fan of Chardonnay. Until we tried the Poundstone. How does this compare? We LOVE all the Iron Horse bubbly, is it time to expand and try something else they make?
Thanks again to the Casemates team for believing our palate!
2017 Iron Horse Unoaked Chardonnay
My wife hates butter bombs so she was very skeptical. I generally like oaky chard once in a while.
The cork came out easily and clean with no stain. The wine is crystal clear and very pale in color. Actually very pretty.
On first sniff, we both got fresh green apple, tropical fruits, unripe pineapple, and with some mineral notes. Reminds me of a Napa Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend. We both really enjoyed the notes from the glass.
On the pallet, came a very dry wine with balanced acid. I am not detecting any malolactic fermentation whatsoever. We got lots of minerality and hints of citrus and medium roundness. Again, this is not a huge chardonnay but very delicious. As the wine warmed up a bit the wine started to show more complex fruit notes.
This is wine is perfect for a warm night on the patio or with dinner. We both (even my chard hater wife) very much enjoyed this wine. I would peg that at $20+ retail and hopping for $10-$12 from casemates. If so, we are 100% in for a case. No brainer.
I have not been buying much lately, and not normally big on whites, but opened the one 2015 Estate Chardonnay I had from last year with some linguine and garlic shrimp and was blown away. Definitely got better as it warmed up; I am hoping for a similar profile from this. In for a case! Thanks to the official and “unofficial” rats on this one
A word of note…
The Unoaked and Estate (oaked) are two different animals; both quite good, but different styles.
This vintage of Unoaked, to me, isn’t quite as razor crisp as others have been, so it shouldn’t be shockingly different, but it will be different.
@rjquillin Hi, thanks for the input! No can of worms for me. I tried to determine if the Estate was oaked or unoaked but could not really tell from prior reviews. I know for sure I am not a fan of overly buttery Chardonnays (headaches), therefore my reluctance to purchase generally. The bottle I had tonight was not as much oaked as others I have had, and thus my interest in this offering, hoping for exactly the qualities as you stated. My wine journey really only began when I joined the kick starter program for Casemates and I have learned so much from this group, and the labrats, especially the ones that have been around as yourself, I have learned to trust. 69 years young and still learning; a retirement hobby let’s say. In any event, I enjoy distributing my case purchases to friends and family, and from time to time find some vintners that have become auto buys for me; i.e. WineSmith, and others. I really enjoyed your faux review; thanks again!
I tried to determine if the Estate was oaked or unoaked but could not really tell from prior reviews.
here is a link to the '15 Estate tech sheet.
The line you are interested in reads
“Barrels: 100% Water bent French oak”
Missing is barrel age and duration, but there is a hint with
“(a result of extensive batonnage)”
Batonnage = stirring of the lees IIRC and gives their Estate Chard that creamy texture, which I really enjoy. I find the IH unoaked Chards just as enjoyable despite the very different flavor profile and mouthfeel.
This is of course an rpmAUTOBUY to the limit of your credit card (and storage, maybe). I love good Chardonnay, but it’s not always so easy to come buy at reasonable prices. We’ve gone through multiple cases of unoaked Iron Horse Chardonnay over the years and it is one of our favorites with a wide variety of seafood or just sipping. We’ve had excellent experience with it aging gracefully (when we’ve accidentally forgotten a bottle and found a few years later). Don’t miss this!
And now when I go to order it’s sold out!!! More, please, David and Joy! Help me out here!