February 18, 2016 | Tarin Teno
An Ode to A Perfect Match: David Munksgard Celebrates His 20th Anniversary at Iron Horse
There’s so much to love at Iron Horse this month. Our Valentine’s Day Blog expounded on perfect food and wine pairings and today we’re honoring another pairing that’s near and dear to our hearts as the marriage of Winemaker David Munksgard and Iron Horse Vineyards marks its 20th anniversary.
The match was brokered by Iron Horse co-founder Barry Sterling all those years ago and ushered in an era of perpetual momentum at Iron Horse. David remembers it as a moment of kismet. And the magic continues.
Two decades in one role is a rarity. But for David, it hasn’t eliminated the element of freshness. “In many way, it’s like I just got here,” he says. “With each vintage, the excitement of taking on something new and all the challenges that come with a new adventure are still energizing.”
The key is his continued curiosity. David has more questions now than he did in his first year of making sparkling wines in 1982 at Chateau St. Jean. His track record of excellence is linked to his humility and his openness to new and improved methodologies.
When asked about his proudest Iron Horse moment, he didn’t hesitate. He immediately reflected on this past harvest, which presented challenges he’d never before encountered. Find the complete 2015 fall harvest recap blog here. David fought for every grape this year with Laurence’s support and the vineyard team’s dedication. “I don’t know of another winery that could have pulled something like that off. It goes back to being an Estate Winery. The word “Estate” means you can pull off extraordinary efforts when a vintage isn’t delivered to you with a ribbon on it.”
David has a very romantic connection to his craft and he loves interacting with fans in our Tasting Room who gush over stories of engagements and marriages that have been celebrated with bottles of Iron Horse. “Wine is incredibly romantic. So much poetry has been written about wine and I understand why."
So, as we celebrate David, we take a moment to celebrate this gracious gentleman whose work is an exercise in balance, finesse and elegant restraint.“Winemaking is all about tiny, nuanced differences,” he says.
On David’s first day, he promised Joy that every vintage would be better than the last. And he has been true to his word. When I asked him about his favorite vintage, he didn’t dare chose one. “I don’t live in the past, but in the future. I’m always most excited about the wines we haven’t bottled yet. I have a lot of plans for the next harvest.”
David has just completed assembling the 2015 blends. There’s a special excitement around the 2015 Winery Block Pinot Noir and how the wine from that Single Vineyard on the Estate has evolved as the vines themselves mature.
He is also in the midst of disgorging 2003 Joy! A project which has occupied David’s imagination for years. The new vintage gets released March 17 (event details are here).
Please join us in raising a flute to David and drink in the passion that he infuses into each bottle. “For those of us fortunate enough to be making wine, it is not that we should be winemakers, we simply MUST be winemakers. Nothing else will satisfy that need to craft; to imprint onto and into our wines what we feel and see when we walk the vineyard and dream of what it might be.”
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