So we left Cass and turned on the GPS only to find we had no signal. After floundering trying to find the back way to Wild Horse, we gave up and headed back to 46 West to 101 South and exited on 224 to Vineyard Dr. That takes you to Templeton Drive and out to Wildhorse.
We managed to arrive around 4:30 when they close at 5:00. We walked into an empty tasting room. This is my preference as you get to talk more with the winery staff, but I was feeling guilty knowing we were probably slowing down the end of his day.
He was gracious and we tasted 5 of their wines. They have 3 menus, one for the widely distributed wines, one for the winery reserves and an additional list with Pinots. We tasted the 20010 Viognier it was clean and tart and a little too stainless steel for me, but nice. With honeysuckle on the nose it was tart and mouth watering. This is a drier style of Viognier than I am accustomed to.
Next we tasted the Blaufrankisch, this Austrian/German/Hungarian varietal grows great here! They say there are 700 tons grown in the US a little in Washington, some in Ohio and some in the finger lakes in NY. 500 of the tons are grown here on the estate. Great round mouthfeel and great flavor without being heavy. 14.28 Alc. 560 cases $24. This was full Flavored with a light body. Great pairing wine for anything! Turkey or Thanksgiving stuff is perfect! Easy drinking with cranberry hitting the sides of my tongue.
Next we tried the 2009 Unbridled Zinfandel. This was delicious and much lower in alcohol than most Zin’s at 14.5. Less alcohol makes it cooler and cleaner. You get pepper and red currants on the palate. This is very red currant wine. So you get great Zin flavor without the heat and headiness of your typical fruit bomb zin.
We then tried the Unbridled 2009 Syrah which was really lovely. Again lower in alcohol at 13.5% it had lots of spice and darker berries than the Zin. The fruit is grown at Halter Ranch. It had a medium finish with lavender and dark earth. Slight tannins on the teeth. this runs $36 per bottle.
Lastly we went to try the Pinot 3rd down on the list that Jacob recommended. Only one of the 1st Pinots was sold out, so we didn’t know if it was really the 3rd down or the 4th. Jacob mentioned earthiness, so our pourer figured it was 4, but poured us side by sides of both. The first Pinot was from Arroyo Grande (fruit from Laetitia) the 2nd from Bien Nacido in Santa Maria. The noses were incredibly different! The Arroyo was fruity and light and lovely, but the Bien Nacido was earthy with a bit of barnyard that was really fulfilling. Done in a burgundian style this had a long finish and while it is terrific now, it will age well for about 5 years. It was the priciest thing on the menu, but we could not leave without a bottle. (Thanks Jacob). We were given a discount since Cass sent us so we paid $42.90 for the $50 bottle of heaven!
When I asked for suggestions on vineyards, he mentioned Kenneth Volk. Of course I said, your founder… that led to Lone Madrone and Tablas Creek which are of course already on our schedule. Three other suggestions were Red Soles, Fratellie Perato and Linne Calado. Castoro was on our list and a guy we were talking to at Cass recommended retasting at Peachy Canyon. they have a new wine maker and the wines are night and day from what they were. The sun was setting as we left and with the mist over the hills and the stark trees almost leafless, it was lovely.
more to come