This Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon review is part of our value wine series. A series of reviews aimed at exposing great quality wines that won’t break the bank. The Dark Horse cab is also easily accessible – available at your local Trader Joe’s. Check out our quick tasting notes, review and food pairings.
Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi, Sacramento & San Joaquin Valley California
Buy the Dark Horse Cabernet Online (750mL, Amazon).
Possibly my favorite New World, smoky Cabernet Sauvignon – the Dark Horse is a complexly flavored great value red wine. I buy it all the time at Trader Joe’s for $ 7.99 and every time I drink it, it kind of feels like the first time.
From Dark Horse Wines — “Our Winemaker, Beth Liston, believes winemaking is a treasure hunt. She is constantly experimenting with different grape varietals and new winemaking techniques. From bold Red Blend to smooth Chardonnay, her passion for creating exceptional wines that outperform their price is unsurpassed.”
Beth Liston knows what she’s doing. She’s going for a particular style, and it’s achieved regardless of Dark Horse vintage. You can typically expect black fruit backed by red fruit, smoky flavors and toasted aromas.
The grapes used to craft the Cabernet Sauvignon from Dark Horse are harvested from various vineyards in Lodi, Sacramento and San Joaquin California. It’s is a youthful and flavorful wine, a pleasant contrast to old world Cabs. It kind of reminds me of the Hooter’s slogan… “delightfully tacky yet unrefined.” This is the sort of young and fruity Cab that will leave your teeth purple.
Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes
In the glass, you can see the youth in this wine – but that’s not a bad thing. Inviting, deep purple hues over black cherry ink stick to the sides of your glass. It’s beautiful.
The nose of this wine mimics its color palette. Big cherry aromas, yumberry brûlée over dense violet flower permeate the nostrils.
The opening palate begins with black cherry, blackberry cobbler, grippy tannins and rich smoky spice. As you approach the mid-palate, this Cabernet begins to emit flavors of black coffee, cassis and cacao. There’s a dusty graphite mineral nuance ever-present. Towards the close, the smoke gets bolder and the coffee gets richer, while the sweetness of black cherry and plum ooze on top. The finish is lengthy, balanced and imposing.
Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon Food Pairings
For such a boldly flavored smoky Cab, we like this with anything on the grill, or even smoked salmon. BBQ St. Louis pork ribs, barbecue brisket pizza, or Memphis style hickory smoked beef ribs are all ideal places to start.
Overall, a great value. Fruity enough to drink on its own, and complex enough to pair nicely with food. The Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon is a win.
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