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2000 Iron Horse Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Green Valley

Iron Horse embodies everything I like about Sonoma county. Leaving aside the Sonoma vs. Napa debate for future flogging, suffice it to say that a visit to Iron Horse outside of Sebastopol will refresh your faith in the ideas of good people, good land, good wine. They have no large tasting room -- on a summer's day you stand beneath a tarp while they pull winebottles out of a cooler and pour on a makeshift counter. If you're gonna spit or discard some of your wine, you just do it on the dirt. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and they let you taste their wines for free. Who could ask for more?

Tasting Notes
This is a surreptitious pinot that creeps up out of the glass with caramel, maple syrup, rasberry, and herbal tea aromas. It delivers mellow fruit flavors of rasberry jam and slightly underripe cherries, with a medium finish. Ultimately, I suspect this wine suffers a little from the tough harvest of 2000. When I tasted it at the vineyard, I liked it enough to buy several bottles, but with a meal, I felt like it didn't have as much personality as I would like. It's a solid wine, and a good value, but not as good as some other Pinots I have reviewed here.

Food Pairing:
My comments about dynamism aside, I thought this wine went very well with the cinnamon crusted salmon and pan seared duckbreast that we drank it with.

Overall Score: 7/7.5

How much?: $25 at the winery, usually about $29 retail.

You can find this wine at many Internet retailers.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud