Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Desert WIne Guy - A Day Trip To Iron Gate Winery In Cedar City Utah

Iron Gate Winery

   I am not sure how many of my readers live in or near the Southern Utah area in but I have a little winery to tell you about. The name of this winery is I.G (Iron Gate) Winery (http://igwinery.com/) and it is without question worth a visit. The winery is located in Cedar City and is about 2 hours North of Las Vegas. If you were ever in the market to explore a "Boutique Winery" you would do well to start here, the IG Winery is a classic example of that terminology. The winery grows no grapes of their own and when I was there that day I learned that the Winemaker/General Partner Doug McCombs and the Winery Manager Tony Dinges had just recently came back from the Napa Valley where they purchased quality grapes for their wine production. The winery is actually located in a residential neighborhood as well and as you drive down the street you might pass it by if not for the flag outside. There is a Bed & Breakfast out in front and the Winery is located in the back there is a small amount of parking there or simply park in front. To me this makes the winery appear really laid back (which it is anyway) since it takes away the hustle and bustle and feel of a commercial operation. A couple of block away is the main street in Cedar City if you want shopping however.
Tony Dinges - Winery Manager
Iron Gate Winery Tasting Room

   The day I was there I had the privilege of meeting Doug and his friend Todd Thompson as they were in the tasting room and off to the side creating blends of wine on one of the tasting tables. I have never experienced the process of blending and I had these wild fantasies of just how a blend is created. The truth is that the wine makers become mad Scientists with beakers of all sizes in their work area. One table held these beakers and the other held numerous wine glasses which were placed on a solid White paper as they compared the color of the different blends to see which one was most appealing. It was really cool to see just how casual Doug and Todd were at this blending process. It was simply two friends with obviously superior wine knowledge sitting at a table and trying different combinations of varietals and amounts of the different varietals to see which blend not only tasted great but also had the Bouquet and the visual appearance they desired.  Check out the pictures to see what I mean. Why I thought there might be more to the process I am not exactly sure. I guess I got caught up in the wine mystique. I would be remiss if I didn't tell you guys that Doug and Todd were both extremely friendly and willing to talk with me about what they were doing as well as wine and the industry in general. One other interesting item to point out is that Doug actually lives in Las Vegas and grows his own wine grapes here as I do. Doug also told me that it seems that the wine he has made with the grapes he has grown in Vegas seem to produce a very "cardboard" tasting wine. That to me was interesting as well because up until that point I had yet to talk to anyone who had made wine from grapes grown in Las Vegas. Tony who is the Winery Manager was very efficient in his job although honestly I feel that he could be a little more personable, he seemed as if he was all
Tools For Creating A Fantastic Blend
business and very little play which is a put off. There was one table outside that required his attention and I in no way was (or am) saying that because I am The Desert Wine Guy that I require nor did I demand his undevoted attention , I would NEVER do that I am not all that important. I am just a legend in my own mind :)
Inspecting Color Of Blends
    As I previously said the winery is very small since it truly is a Boutique winery. When you walk into the building you immediately face the tasting counter. To the right of the tasting counter is a small area where you can purchase T-Shirts, hats and cups with the IG Winery logo on them. To the left there are a few tables to enjoy your wines tasting at and the backdrop of these tables is the actually cellar where the wooden barrels of aging wine are separated only by a couple of plate glass windows. I found this very interesting and actually amazing that such a small operation could make such wonderful wines. I ended up purchasing three bottles of the 2013 Syrah, Madera at $25 a bottle. I also tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon and let me tell you it had a bouquet that I have never experienced in a wine before. Talking to Doug I learned that the bouquet of his wines is very important since it is part of the wine experience. This is amazingly evident in all of his wines. The one wine that I did not care for is the Tempranillo which is unlike the Spanish expression of the varietal in that it lacked any pepper. If you are a true fan of the mentioned Spanish expression of the wine than I would not suggest it.
Winemaker Doug McCombs Helps Create His Masterpiece
   The winery also has what looks like a nice Bed & Breakfast right on the property and surrounding the property is an awesome display of plants and flowers that are native to the area. These are not the Desert flowers that those of you familiar with the area might expect, these are real Green plants with real big and colorful flowers. The Bed & Breakfast also has a great Apple Tree for shade in the Summer and in the Winter it produces the BEST tasting apples as well. This leads me to the only drawback that I experienced at the winery BUT it is not the winery s fault, it is the state of Utah's fault. There was recently a bill passed that anyone under the age of 21 cannot SEE wine poured. Yep, you read that right, they can't SEE wine poured. Therefore because the winery is so small no one under 21 is allowed in. Mrs. desert Wine Girl and the kids were nice enough to lay on the grass under the Apple Tree and enjoy the weather which that day was great.
   In closing I would absolutely recommend  a visit to the Iron Gate Winery in Cedar City Utah. If you are lucky you may even run into Doug.

Doug & Todd Discussing The Final Blend

                                                                                                                    The Desert Wine Guy





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