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Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1981 by Central Coast winemaker icon, Kenneth Volk. It is named after the wild mustangs that roamed the hills east of the vineyard estate. Volk built his winery in 1983 and that same year crafted a Pinot Noir from Sierra Madre Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley that brought him early notoriety and success. Volk produced a wide range of varietal wines and eventually reached an annual production of 150,000 cases. Some of his most memorable Pinot Noirs were released under the Cheval Sauvage label. In 2003, Volk sold Wild Horse Winery for $48 million to Peak Wines International who then sold it to Constellation Brands.
Currently, Wild Horse sourced grapes from over 50 vineyards throughout California's Central Coast. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet and Merlot, but also produces small lots of rare varietial wines such as Malvasia Bianca, Verdelho and Blaufrankisch which are only sold at the winery.
Their are three levels of Pinot Noir: Wild Horse Wines (wine stores and restaurants), Cheval Sauvage (French for "Wild Horse," this is a reserve wine selected from special barrels), and Unbridled Wines (limited-production releases, many of which are only available directly from the winery). The Unbridled label was re-launched in 2015, offering a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the 2014 vintage using grapes sourced from nearby Santa Barbara County.
The winemakers are Chrissy Wittman and Todd Ricard.
The winery and tasting room are located in Templeton, California, along Highway 101 just south of Paso Robles. The tasting room is open daily from 11:00 to 5:00.
2008 Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.572, $60. A finest barrel selection. Small lot, whole berry fermentation in open-top fermentation bins with manual daily punch downs. Only the finest barrels are selected for this bottling. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with vivid aromas of black cherries, spice and Italian herbs picking up intensity over time in the glass. The medium weighted flavors of dark stone fruits and berries combined with savory herbs and the slightest oak are framed by svelte, satiny tannins and good acidity to produce a wine of considerable charm. I particularly enjoy this wine for its savory bent, elegance, balance, and unmistakable sense of Santa Maria Valley terroir. Definitely worth seeking out. Reviewed November 29, 2011 ARTICLE »
2007 Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards Unbridled Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.56, >3,000 cases, $24. The unbridled bottling is sold primarily at the winery. A blend of Garey, Solomon Hills and Ranch Los Hermanas vineyards in the southern part of Santa Barbara County. 100% de-stemmed, small lot fermentations, 10 day post-fermentation maceration, aged 14 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. A savory nose featuring aromas of mushrooms, forest floor, pine pitch and oak. Dark fruits flood the mouth upon entry persisting through a juicy, lingering finish. Still young with substantial tannins which need time to integrate. A subtle earthiness, spice and oak flavor add interest to the rich fruit. Much better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very good. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »