This is not a Chinese wine. I’m just putting that out there because when I first received this wine I completely thought Iron Horse went rogue in China. They did not. In fact, this bottle was made to celebrate the Chinese Zodiac — 2018 is the year of the dog. Despite this not being a Chinese wine, I did pair this with a Chinese-inspired recipe…

About the Wine: Four dollars of every bottle of the Iron Horse Vineyards 2013 Chinese Cuvée goes toward to the Green Dog Rescue Project, providing at-risk dogs one more chance at a forever home.

The Iron Horse Vineyards 2013 Chinese Cuvée is made from 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the winery’s estate vineyards located in Sonoma County’s Green Valley AVA.

13.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork on the Iron Horse Vineyards 2013 Chinese Cuvée and breathe in clear scents of pomelo-citrus. No, there’s no yeasty, fermenty scents to be found in this bottle.

The wine presents a pale lemon-yellow on the pour but once in the glass showcases the perfect definition of a champagne color. Once settled into the glass, initial aromas include a calming lemon-lime citrus, green apples, hints of honey, and a subtle background of green grass.

For a light, sparkling wine, the palate of this cuvée is surprisingly full. There’s an enjoyable nutty flavor that sits along the back during the initial tasting. Interestingly, this element evolved as the evening progressed. If a sparkling wine can “open up,” this one certainly did and that initial nut-like background eventually gave way to some beautiful floral notes that, again, maintained its distance from the dominant flavors of the wine. Those dominant flavors are of pomelo juice, green apple skins, and just a touch of honey.

What I loved was how savory this sparkling wine was. The various levels of flavors made it quite enjoyable to taste on its own, but its innate dryness and savoriness are what made it a lovely meal companion.

Food Pairing: I paired the Iron Horse Vineyards 2013 Chinese Cuvée with my version of Chinese orange chicken, subbing cauliflower florets for the chicken nuggets. This was served on top of sautéed veggies (bell pepper and onion) and quinoa.

I loved this pairing. The wine cut through the spices and the salt perfectly, while the earthiness of the dish brought forward another layer in the wine. It seemed to highlight its savoriness, its dryness, and bring forward those hidden floral notes I spoke about before. While this cuvée was absolutely enjoyable on its own, pairing it with this meal took that enjoyment to a whole other level.

More Info: I received the Iron Horse Vineyards 2013 Chinese Cuvée as a sample for review. (Cheers Shana!) Retail: $65. For more information about Iron Horse, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Iron Horse Vineyards website.


BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!

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