Dark Horse Cabernet | Taking Dark Horse Wine for a Ride?
Many people consider horses to be majestic, beautiful creatures. You might even think that of the somewhat ominous horse prominently displayed on bottles of Dark Horse Wines. Yet my experiences with them as a kid were somewhat less than favorable…
It all started on a field trip to a horse farm, where we had the opportunity to ride ponies. Quickly after cautiously getting on the one chosen for me, my horse took off in a full gallop chasing the large horse with an experienced adult rider in front of me. I was lucky not to fall, but the experience was as memorable as it was uninspiring.
Then, at my Aunt’s horse farm I managed to mangle with the electric fence (this explains a lot, trust me) while playing in a tree fort. Needless to say that when the folks at Gallo tasked with marketing the Dark Horse wines stuck a horse on the label, I suspect they imagined it would conjure a more positive response from me.
But then I had a glass of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon while enjoying some tasty Korean Fried Chicken at the new Bon Chon location in Germantown, MD. I was pleasantly surprised by its bold flavor profile for such an inexpensive wine, so I thought I would do a formal review for readers.
Appearance: As promised, the Dark Horse Cabernet pours quite dark, with nearly opaque core turning a deep shade of garnet red at the rim.
Nose: The first impression on the nose is that of vanilla and brown spices wafting from the glass. Underneath that layer of oak-dominated influences lie aromas of black raspberry, cassis and licorice.
On the palate: The 2014 Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon is quite rich and bold, revealing mouth-coating, lush dark fruit flavors underscored by sweet oak nuances. Black raspberry and cassis flavors meld nicely with an abundance of coffee, licorice, cocoa and brown spices. The tannins could use a bit more polish but the finish benefits from decent length and the wine is overall moderately complex with solid concentration.
Varietal Composition: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Petit Verdot and the remaining 10% are undisclosed varietals selected by Winemaker Beth Liston.
Residual Sugar: 2 g/L
Origin: Grapes are sourced primarily from the Lodi and Delta regions of California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.
Value Rating: 5 / 5
Where to get it: Available in the Trader Joes Wine Section, and Dark Horse Wines are widely-distributed.
Should you buy? If you typically enjoy extracted, oaky Napa Cabernet, then consider the Dark Horse Cabernet your bargain weeknight alternative. While not immensely complex, it’s a solid table wine with a lot of personality for the money.
Value Proposition – Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon | Dark Horse Wine Review
I’m happy to officially report that the third time’s a charm… finally a positive equestrian experience! It’s not every day you encounter a drinkable, $8 grocery store wine, let alone Cabernet Sauvignon.
And while I’m not exactly saying this is transcendental stuff here, Winemaker Beth Liston has succeeded in fashioning an affable Cabernet that’s bold, moderately complex and affordable. It also helps that this Dark Horse wine is widely distributed and easy to find.
For me, the Dark Horse Cabernet has all of the typically expensive oak and extract you could ask for at a price that’s far easier to swallow than the thought of getting back on another horse!