2009 Wild Horse "Cheval Sauvage" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir (Previously $60)

SKU #1149354 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 Expensive, yes, but a very fine Pinot that shows the elegance of its Santa Barbara origins. Dry and crisp in acidity, it’s extraordinarily deep in raspberry, cherry and currant fruit, with interesting notes of sautéed beef, cola, vanilla, baking spices and sandalwood. Drink now-2015 to enjoy its fruitiness.  (5/2013)

K&L Notes

The 2009 Cheval Sauvage from Wild Horse is a single-vineyard bottling from the Sierra Madre Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Naturally low yields with a long, cool growing season in this classic vintage realized an elegant Pinot Noir which was made from the 667 and 777 Dijon Clones. Cheval Sauvage is a strict barrel selection representing only the finest barrels in Wild Horse's cellar which rested for 14 months before bottling. From the winemaker: "Aromas of violets, Asian spices, and leather emanate from glass just before taking a sip. The entry, mouth feel, and finish of this wine are divine offering perfect balance and seamlessness."

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Price: $29.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/14/2014 | Send Email
Sometimes, even after all these years, wines can still surprise the most grizzled of us wine vets. To be completely honest, I haven’t even thought about the wines from Wild Horse in years. I sort of did that thing that we sometimes do which is to write off a brand based on recent, but not current, performance. So when I tasted the 2009 Wild Horse “Cheval Sauvage” Pinot Noir I surely eat some crow. Made as their top Pinot Noir from a barrel selection, this bottling represents around 1% of all the Pinot Noir the winery makes. I was immediately impressed with the nose of this wine which is serious and almost Beaune-like in its savory meatiness. Aromas of fried sage, rare prime rib and dried cherry mesh wonderfully and make a fantastic precursor to the mouthwatering flavors of cranberry, new leather, boysenberry, rose water and lilac found on the palate. Medium-to-full-bodied, this is a wine that can stand up to heavier foods in the Pinot spectrum easily, but never feels or tastes like anything but Pinot. Kudos to Wild Horse for truly making a delicious, top-of-the-line Pinot.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.9