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The Back Label E12 – Joy Sterling, Iron Horse Vineyards

In 1985, Joy left a career in journalism to join her family’s business and made news headlines for the winery with her first achievement at Iron Horse: in November, 1985, the White House selected Iron Horse Sparkling Wine for Ronald Reagan’s toast to peace at the first summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva. Joy served on the Board of Trustees of the Leakey Foundation for ten years and is a member of National Geographic’s Grosvenor Council. She is the author of A Cultivated Life, published by Random House.

The Back Label E11 – Caroline Latrive, Champagne Ayala

Born and raised in Reims, France, Caroline Latrive is no stranger to the traditions of Champagne. With decades of enology experience, she leads the charge as Chef de Cave at Champagne Ayala.

The Back Label E10 – Laurent Onillon, Langlois-Chateau

Laurent Onillon is a Loire Valley native and has worked at the Langlois-Chateau estate for nearly 20 years.

The Back Label E08 – Miriam Lee Masciarelli

The eldest of Gianni Masciarelli and Marina Cvetic’s three children, Miriam Lee Masciarelli is already on track to move the family estate forward, together with her mother.

The Back Label E07 – Maria & Luisa Ponzi, Ponzi Vineyards

In 2012, Anna Maria and her sister Luisa acquired ownership of Ponzi Vineyards from their parents, Dick and Nancy Ponzi, becoming one of the country’s few sister-run wineries.

The Back Label E06 – Juan E. Marco, Finca Decero

Juan Marco joined Finca Decero as CEO & Head Winemaker in 2007, embracing owner Thomas Schmidheiny’s vision for a sustainably farmed, world-class estate which is immaculately managed by hand from vine to barrel.

Elevator Pitch – Unoaked Chardonnay

The Unoaked Chardonnay is a natural beauty reflecting the cool climate influence of the Green Valley AVA: clean, crisp and bright with great minerality.

Elevator Pitch – Russian Cuvée

The name for this cuvée has multiple layers of meaning. Originally named for the historic Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meetings in 1985, it also refers to the vineyard’s unique location in the Russian River area. The Russian is the “sweetest” in the Iron Horse line up, though it is still technically brut-level dry. Toasted sugar, caramel apple, nutmeg and orange zest on the nose and ripe red apple, lime, brioche and brown sugar on the palate.

Elevator Pitch – Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blancs

Ocean Reserve is a special, limited edition, vintage Blanc de Blancs, created in partnership with National Geographic. Iron Horse gives $4 per bottle sold to National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative, establishing marine protected areas and supporting sustainable fishing practices around the globe.

Elevator Pitch – Wedding Cuvée

Wedding Cuvée has become famous, served at countless engagements, weddings, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day celebrations since its inception in 1980. A romantic tinge of pink in the glass hints at the fruity character of the Pinot Noir in this cuvée. Raspberry and nutmeg aromas on the nose are followed by juicy stone fruit and lively blood orange, held seamlessly together with very delicate bubbles. The magnificent elegance of Wedding Cuvée makes it dangerously easy to drink.

Elevator Pitch – Classic Vintage Brut

The flagship cuvée of Iron Horse, this wine broadcasts memories of Champagne sipped in the California sun. Classic in every way, aromas of Gala apples and white flowers lead to a crisp palate of Asian pear, mandarin orange, white licorice, and hazelnut.

Elevator Pitch – Perle d’Ayala

A treasure in the portfolio, Perle d’Ayala is produced only in exceptional years, according to practices that have remained faithful to the Champagne tradition. Composed of a majority of Chardonnay, this wine captures the essence of the Champagne terroir, in the purest respect of the style of the House.

Elevator Pitch – No.7

Champagne Ayala’s No.7 is the second opus from the “The Ayala Collection”, a series of unique cuvée created to express the specificity of a vintage and a selection of exceptional crus through the lens of this boutique Maison. Produced in limited quantities and released only upon indication that the elements in this wine are integrated and evolved to a point of perfect harmony.

Elevator Pitch – Le Blanc de Blancs

Ayala’s Blanc de Blancs is 100% Chardonnay, produced in small quantities in exceptional years only and fully expresses the superb caliber of great Chardonnay from the best crus of the Côte des Blancs. After 6 years of aging in Ayala’s cellars, remarkable minerality and low dosage make this an outstanding wine that can accompany a variety of flavorful dishes, including poultry and fish, or be served on its own to celebrate a special occasion.

Elevator Pitch – Brut Nature

Brut Nature, cellar-aged for almost 4 years, demonstrates to perfection the high quality of grapes used by the House to craft its wines, and its remarkable expertise in vinification. Being non-dosage, its purity and precision make it an ideal partner for seafood, in particular raw fish and shellfish, or oysters.

Elevator Pitch – Rosé Majeur

Rosé Majeur is the perfect embodiment of the originality and finesse of the House’s wines. Made predominantly from Chardonnay it is crafted with the addition of a small proportion of Pinot Noir from the best crus of the Montagne de Reims. A low dosage enables it to express the House style, both feminine and generous, with great elegance.

Elevator Pitch – Brut Majeur

Brut Majeur is the epitome of a non-vintage brut from a great, historic House and is the finest ambassador for the House’s freshness and elegance. A blend of the finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, coupled with extended ageing in Ayala’s cellars and a low dosage make this wine suitable for any occasion.

Elevator Pitch – Château de Fontaine-Audon Sancerre

The crown jewel of Langlois’ Sancerre holdings is at Château de Fontaine-Audon, a 37-acre vineyard from which they produce a single-vineyard Sancerre of the same name. 100% Sauvignon Blanc grown entirely on silex (flint) terroir, Langlois-Chateau’s single-vineyard Sancerre undergoes a gentle pressing, is fermented in stainless steel and then is kept on its lees for 6 months.

Elevator Pitch – Sancerre

Langlois-Chateau’s Sancerres are serious and complex but also delicate and approachable. They’re benchmarks for the appellation. The grapes are from a selection of the best vineyard plots. They undergo a gentle pressing to extract the purest juice and are handled exclusively in stainless steel.

Elevator Pitch – Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé

For their Crémants, Langlois-Chateau has an intensely terroir-focused approach of drawing the best characteristics from 6 distinct vineyard areas and soil types in order to create complex and refined wines. Langlois’ Crémant Rosé is hand-picked from 2 specific terroirs with chalky-clay soils perfectly suited to Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.