12500 Steiner Road
Plymouth, CA 95669

Tel. (209) 245-6307



2020 Iron Hub Wines Small Lot Chardonnay and a Delicious Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai

Article by Michael Kelly, California Wines & Wineries

November 7, 2023

Photo from Iron Hub Winery


The winery was founded by Tom Jones from Lava Cap Winery fame in the Apple Hill area near Placerville. Tom completed his master’s degree in Viticulture and enology from UC Davis, and for almost 30 years developed award-winning wines. Tom and his wife Beth’s new endeavor began in 2014 with the purchase of the 33-acre property that had been known as Amador Foothill Winery. Having control of the grapes from vineyard to bottle was key in his quest for quality control with 17 acres planted in vines.

The name of the winery came about from Tom’s mountain sojourns in the area. On an adventure, he discovered an antique, hand-forged wagon wheel hub in a remote area. Thus this small winery on Steiner Road drew a parallel with his goal of making small lot artisan wines similar to the craftsmanship of the “iron hub” he found on a walk. The beautiful new tasting room was opened in December 2017.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Spencer, their son, following in his father’s footsteps by also graduating from UC Davis with a master’s degree from the Department of Viticulture and Enology, is the winery’s Assistant winemaker. Today, they form a dynamic father-son winemaking team. Tom and Spencer enjoy and demand a hands-on approach to every aspect of the winemaking process, from tending the grapes in the estate vineyards to carefully crafting both red and white wines. They recently added 10 acres managing the Spanish Creek site they are leasing. Having now 27 acres of “estate property” to manage is keeping them very busy. Tom has stated that Our estate affords me creative control from the vine to the bottle.

The Wine Wine is bottled poetry” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Went back recently to do a re-tasting of this Chardonnay, as I was very impressed the first time I tasted it and immediately felt it was one of the better produced Chardonnay’s.  This day, I picked up another case!  Chardonnay typically does not do well in the warmer climate of Amador County and when first offered it I was taken back. It was explained that the vineyard for this wine is in Amador County but located at a much higher elevation called Spanish Creek vineyard in the Sierras at an elevation of 2700 feet. The cooler climate is ideal for producing exquisite Chardonnay grapes.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

The small lot 2020 Chardonnay on the eyes was a golden straw color with medium viscosity. The first aromas on the nose, was like a lightning strike! Fruits of green apple and pear shouted out their presence in the glass. Secondary flavor of dry apricots were also present. From the first sip a creamy textural wine with previous mentioned fruits came together like a well-orchestrated symphony. Added to the mix was vanilla which was just slightly present on nose and became infused in the glass with gentle oak overtones. The finish was long, poised and glamorous like a family portrait with a hint of brioche. 300 cases were produced and spent 12 months in the barrel. It sells for $34 a bottle and for my money an excellent price. Immediately, this wine made my list of Best Wines Tasted in 2021 with the 2018 vintage and again this will in 2023 with the 2020 vintage (list out mid-December).

The Food and Wine Pairing   Food without wine is a corpse; wine without food is a ghost. United and well matched, they are as body and soul: living partners” – Andre Simon

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Paired with a spicy Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai dish. The ingredients were ramen noodles, virgin olive oil, minced garlic, uncooked shrimp, eggs, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, green onions, peanuts, chopped cilantro and lime juice. The Pad Thai sauce included fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, Sriracha and creamy peanut butter!  Limes were plated to squeeze the juice over the top of the dish. This is how it is was presented:

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Accompanying the meal was a tossed salad with onions, Mandarin oranges and toasted sunflowers seeds in a light Champagne dressing.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Also served were Thai-style asparagus sautéed in a skillet with soy sauce and garlic.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

Dessert supplied by our guests were both a lemon and pecan tarts that were delicious. Paired with a 2015 Peter Michael “La Carrière” Chardonnay.

Photo ©Michael Kelly

A great way to cap off the evening of food, wine, laughter, and friendship!