93 Insider Points
91 Points - Wine Enthusiast *Cellar Selection
"I am increasingly a fan of the Sierra Foothills AVA, loaded with history and making some outstanding wines recently. Ironstone specifically has been really upping their game, producing powerful but elegant wines. Soft and sultry, the nose is dark and ashy with a slight herbal note. Big fruit up front, nice mid-palate tannins, healthy acidity, and a lingering, smoky finish. All around fantastic wine, drink now through 2023." - DZ Jan 2017
"Big, bold and tannic, this layered and nicely ripe wine is an iron fist in a velvet glove. It smells like espresso and dark chocolate, tastes equally roasted and rich, but backs its darker flavors with blueberry and blackberry notes, finishing smooth. Best after 2019." - Wine Enthusiast
82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 3% Malbec
Sierra Foothills AVA, California
20 Months French & American Oak
$0 SHIPPING Selection (6+/btls)
This is not your average Cab. Well, there’s really nothing average about this Sierra Foothills stunner at all. It’s an estate beauty from grapes carefully selected from Ironstone’s Hay Station Ranch vineyards. Only the top wines are lucky enough to don the label “Estate Grown Reserve” and this elegant vintage with silky tannins deserves the title.
The Ironstone label prides itself on a sustained status of “exceptional wines of unparalleled quality” and this vintage delivers with seduction, a full body, and beautiful mineral characteristics that are unique to the Sierra Foothills. We are also super impressed with this vintage’s everyday approachability that has us longing for another taste.
Reasons why we love it:
- Ironstone’s impressive estate wines are perhaps one of the best kept secrets of the region which is pretty phenomenal considering the Kautz Family is ranked within the top ten largest wine grape growers in the United States. They were also awarded 2012 Grower of the Year by the California Association of Wine Grape Growers.
- 2,400 feet up into the mountains and fifteen minutes from the Bear Valley snow line, the estate harbors a prestigious location that resides above the fog, but below the snow. The impressive mix of a long growing season of cool nights and warm days filled with CA sunshine creates a very impressive Cab. And 2013 was stunning. The vineyards really flourished from ideal growing conditions.
- Director of Winemaking Steve Millier has been with Ironstone, and the Kautz Family’s additional labels, since 1989. His impressive resume prior to 1989 includes numerous awards for Stevenot Winery, the opening of Milliare Winery with his wife Liz, and the purchase of Black Sheep. His love for the Sierra Foothills is obvious. Steve has won hundreds of awards for Ironstone including the very rare and distinguished Prix d’Excellence Award. The Ironstone Meritage was one of only three American wines awarded this prestigious designation out of 4,820 International entries.
The 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is seductive and full-bodied, exuding aromas of fresh berries, black currants and cherries that are laced with eucalyptus, cedar and mint. Big and powerful, yet elegant, this Cabernet exhibits flavors of sweet dark blackberry and plum with soft, creamy vanilla that plays well with the unique mineral qualities found only in wines from Sierra Foothill vineyards.
The story of Ironstone Vineyards started in the hands of John Kautz, a young row crop farmer from Lodi who saw the future in growing wine grapes in Lodi. With 12 acres in 1948, John quickly built an excellent reputation as a premium wine grape supplier, amassing over 5,000 acres of grapes in Lodi and the Sierra Foothills and eventually becoming one of the top ten wine grape growers in California.
In 1988, John, his wife Gail and their children dedicated themselves to the creation of a wine of their own. While still maintaining grape sales to top wineries around the world, they brought award-winning winemaker Steve Millier aboard to launch Kautz wines, which would evolve into Ironstone Vineyards, a wine brand dedicated to the production of exceptional wines of unparalleled quality, outstanding value and everyday approachability.
In 1989, using dynamite, pick axes and shovels, a crew of miners carved through limestone and Calaveras Schist Rock on Gail’s family ranch in Murphys, California and fashioned the site of Ironstone’s wine aging caverns, which in the beginning, also served as the facility’s first tasting room., Ironstone Wines and the Ironstone Winery have each grown and become famous in their own way. John, Gail and each of their four children - Stephen, Kurt, Jack, and Joan - remain actively involved in the growth of both the winery facility and the wine brand.
Pair with grilled meats, lamb chops as well as strong flavored cheeses. It’s also an excellent choice for chocolate desserts such as a molten chocolate cake, bittersweet chocolate mousse or a simple plate of homemade fudge.