HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Wild Horse 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot), Paso Robles. 13.9% ABV, $18.99, available for as little as $14.99.

We were in Louisville until yesterday for Breeder’s Cup weekend, so we thought it would be cool to review some horse-themed wines. Here is our first lap around the track: Wild Horse 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles.

This wild horse didn’t strike us as wild at all. Spirited, yes—energetic and capable, certainly—but beautiful and in-hand, due to good breeding, lots of grooming and good care, and skilled, loving training.

He has fine conformation indeed: a dark, translucent, garnet-purple coat; a dark-fruit-jam first impression; and a pleasant, horsey aroma softened by molasses and a little oak. He showed a fine spirit with tannins and spice on the finish, although he never went so far as to bite or balk.

Although smooth and graceful from the get-go, he was a little rangy at the start, and it took him a bit of time to recover from his initial excitement at being released from his stall. He opened up and became downright well-behaved, curious, and bright with the kind of cherry notes I usually associate with Grenache. Although calm enough, he was alert and present during our entire three-hour visit; this was not a horse who would fall asleep or fade into the background. He looked us in the eye the whole time we were with him, and I could swear he fluffed up and became a little taller when he realized we genuinely liked him.

When it was time to go to our stalls and rooms for the night, all of us were finer individuals as a result of our interactions. This is part of the magic, mystery, relationship, art, and discipline inherent in horses and in wine.

P.S. I just love a wine I would almost (almost) prefer to sniff and sniff rather than drink. This is one of them.

LABEL NOTES: Our Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits a slightly softer structure than our Merlot. Barrel lots from select Paso Robles vineyards are aged separately to allow each to reach its optimum balance prior to blending. This resulting wine is rich with aromas and flavors of blackberry, cocoa and clove, leading to a smooth, pleasant finish. Enjoy with roast beef, rich cheeses and pizza.

WEB: www.WildHorseWinery.com

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