Saturday, January 12, 2008

Last Night's Tipple

If it sounded like I was sorely disappointed with the Iron Horse Classic Brut that I opened last night, it's because I was. It could not possibly have been better calculated to appeal to me on the shelf. It's an all-American sparkling wine when most American sparkling wine is made by French companies. The packaging is strictly first-rate. The labeling, while not as technically geeky as those on the wines made by the likes of Ravenswood and Ridge, still is as straight-forward and information-filled as I could ask for. It tells me, for example, exactly how much Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are in the wine and how long it speds en tirage. In fact, it was what the label said about the time en tirage that really sold me on this bottle. Vintage Champagne only has to be aged en tirage for three years. This Iron Horse was aged for four years. Yes, I am perfectly well aware that longer doesn't necessarily equal better when it comes to alcohol or anything else; but late disgorged sparkling wine, which ages en tirage for several years longer than normal, is a rarity and is regarded as a delicacy. So I had very high hopes.

I can't say that this is an awful wine because it assuredly is not. It's just that the differential between what I hoped for and what I got was as great as it was for any non-corked wine that I've had in a long time. The chalkiness that I complained about yesterday was still present last night, and it is very distracting. But it does improve with temperature. I like most sparkling wine cold; but if I ever have this wine again (probably not on my own nickel), I'll let it warm up for a while before drinking it.

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