Saturday, September 1, 2012

WILD HORSE Wines by Philip S. kampe

The Wild Horse Round-Up by Philip S. Kampe

In 1981, visionary winemaker Ken Volk, searched California’s Central Coast for land to establish a winery and selected the Templeton area for the home of Wild Horse vineyard. His reason for choosing the location is that it is mid-way on the Central Coast, which makes sourcing grapes from the north and south ideal. Templeton is close to Estero Bay, thus creating a proven groundwater table with easy to manage soil for grape growth.
Founder Ken Volk’s goal is to experiment with rare grape varieties and make small batches of atypical from the Paso Robles region.
His team, led by Clay Brock, General Manager and director of Winemaking work closely with head Winemaker Chrissy Wittmann to create unheard wine blends from this region. Recent grape varieties used in experimental Wild Horse wines include: Blaufrankisch, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Blan, Malbec, Negrette, Malvasia Bianca, Verdelho and Touriga National.
At a recent lunch, Clay Brock explained that he is an extension of Ken Volk’s vision. His goal is to make exceptional wines while experimenting with different varietals.
The classic wines in the Wild Horse collection include: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Viognier.
Wines from the portfolio are sold in four separate categories:  Central Coast, Unbridled, Winery Exclusives and Cheval Sauvage, which means ‘Wild Horse’ in French.
The forty-four acre vineyard is named as a tribute to the wild mustangs that used to roam on the hills above the vineyard. 
Rumor has it that the vineyard is named after the Cal Poly mascot—a galloping horse. Both Ken Volk and Clay Brock are Cal Poly Alumni.
Wines are produced are from the estate grapes as well as grapes sourced from over forty different vineyards in the area and up to thirty different varietals. Sixty-five per-cent of vineyards production includes Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

Three  Wines To Try:
2010 Wild Horse Unbridled Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyards is an elegant, lightly oaked wine that accompanied my first course,  when dining with Clay Brock at New York’s A Voce restaurant at Columbus Circle. The lively Chardonnay paired perfectly with the hard to match pasta with barnacles appetizer that I ordered. Maybe it was the richness and balanced acidity of this apple, lemony wine that made the match feel like it was made in heaven. Clay ordered the same appetizer and knew the wine and pasta were made for each other. At $20 a bottle, the 2010 Unbridled Chardonnay is a true steal.

2010 Wild Horse Unbridled Pinot Noir Santa Barbara is a beautifully lush, silky 14.5% alcohol upscale wine that made my lamb belly entrée taste better than it really was. Possibly the mix of raspberries, cherries and cinnamon contributed to the velvety tannins and minerality in this bargain-priced $34 bottle of wine.

2008 Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage  is a Pinot Noir at the highest level. The cranberry and strawberry concentration is mind boggling on the palate. Add full-bodied, balance  and lushness to the menu and you have a wine that can stand on it’s own without the consumption of food. The aromas of dense red fruit coupled with a richness on the palate, make the long lasting finish memorable. The 2008 Cheval Sauvage should rank in the top tier of west coast wines.

To learn more about the wines of Wild Horse, feel free to go to their website:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting story..

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