Joy! What comes to mind? Celebrations, dancing, levity, friends, family, food, wine, Champagne (or your sparkling wine of choice!)…
In this case, Joy! was all those things and more. I popped the cork on a magnum bottle of Iron Horse Vineyards Joy!, a late-disgorged sparkling wine that had aged on the lees (dead yeast cells) for 15 years before bottling.
The occasion? In the company of close friends enjoying a dinner of Christmas leftovers, we toasted to the four joyous years since I moved to Norfolk and met so many fabulous friends.
I had purchased the bottle of Joy! at the Iron Horse vineyard, winery, and tasting room in Green Valley in Russian River Valley in California, knowing that it would be for a special occasion. The tasting “room” at Iron Horse is actually an outdoor tasting bar where people mingle with friends and strangers alike, heat lamps at the ready for when the fog rolls in as it does daily, and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines just yards away on the hillside.
Closer to home, I carefully opened and poured the Joy!, working to use the proper service techniques I’ve learned in my sommelier classes—serve the ladies first, then the gentlemen, then the host; ensure the label faces the guest when pouring; fill the glass 2/3 full; pour slowly so the bubbles stay in the wine; and you get the idea. We toasted to four years of joy and friendships.
When I tasted the bubbly, it was everything I had remembered at Iron Horse and much more: toasted almonds and hazelnuts, the yeasty smell of just baked bread, lemon zest, cream, green apple with peel, and the descriptors could just go on and on. (If I had taken notes during my celebration, I could tell you many more!) So here’s to a joyous new year! Now toast to it with some bubbly!