We were simply driving about Amador County Wine Country killing some time before an appointment and looked up the hill and saw a beautiful structure, not seen before. Drove up the steep incline to find Iron Hub Winery and Vineyards. Never heard of it, but noticed some old vines along the road while ascending up to the winery building sitting on top the hill with all glass windows viewing eastward towards the Sierra’s.
Walked in and was accommodated for a tasting table on the patio. Our hostess began with the fact that it was founded by Tom Jones (and family) from Lava Cap Winery fame in the Apple Hill area near Placerville. Tom completed his Master Degree in Viticulture & Enology from UC Davis, and for almost 30 years developed award-winning wines. His new endeavor in 2014 was purchasing a 33 acre property that had been known as Amador Foothill Winery, thus the older vines. Having control of the grapes from vineyard to bottle was key in his quest for quality control.
The name came about from Tom’s mountain sojourns in the area. On an adventure he discovered an antique, hand-forged wagon wheel hub in a remote area. So thus this small winery on Steiner Road drew a parallel with his goal of making small lot artisan wines similar to the craftsmanship of the found “iron hub”. The beautiful new tasting room was opened in December 2017.
While not having a tremendous amount of time, tasting was limited to two wines. The first wine was a Chardonnay which typically does not do well in the warmer climate of Amador County, so I was intrigued and anxious to taste it. It was explained that the vineyard for this wine is in Amador County but located at a much higher elevation called Spanish Creek vineyard in the Sierras. The cooler climate is ideal for producing exquisite Chardonnay grapes.
The small lot 2018 Chardonnay on the eyes was a golden straw color with medium viscosity. The first aromas on the nose, was like a lightning strike! Fruits of apple, apricot and pear shouted out their presence in the glass. On the first sip a creamy textual wine with previous mentioned fruits came together like a well-orchestrated symphony. Added to the mix was vanilla which was just slightly present on nose and became infused in the glass with gentle oak overtones. The finish was long, poised and glamorous like a royal family event. This was unexpected and so very pleasing! 285 cases were produced and spent 13 months in the barrel. It sells for $34 a bottle. This wine just made my list of Best Wines Tasted in 2021!
Before getting into the second wine we were presented with their Artisan Deli menu if we wished for some food or appetizer. This list was ideal for the wine(s) and the quality and prices were so affordable. The two appetizers chosen were Genoa Salami (Garlic & Black Pepper) and a natural Gouda cheese smoked with apple and hardwood.
We then tasted their 2017 Esola Zinfandel. First on the eyes a lighter red than anticipated but on the nose, blackberry and fresh juicy plums roared out of glass like a magical transformation. On the palate, the fruits along with the mild coffee beans and flavorful toffee shouted out while in the mouth as well as on the finish. It was aged in French oak, 30% being new, for 24 months. A modicum of 6% Barbera and 2% Mourvèdre were added to the mix of 125 year old Zinfandel vineyard grapes. This sells for $39.
Two wines that I would have enjoyed tasting they were unfortunately sold out: The 2017 Grenache and 2016 Petite Sirah. I can only imagine how good these two wines must be!!