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Review of Dark Horse 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Here we have two wines from Dark Horse Wines in Modesto, California.  We must have seen a bazillion commercials over the past few months with winemaker Beth Liston.  The message is all about breaking some rules, changing some things up and making premium wine at modest prices.  We certainly applaud their goals.  Recently we ran across some on a trip to our local wine shop and decided to see if the wine lived up to the hype.  Here are the two we brought home.

IMG_0718Wine:      2014 Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon – California    

Winery Location:   Modesto, CA

Tasted By:   Neil & Cheri                     Date:   August 2016  

Tasting Notes:    This is really a tale of two wines in one bottle.  The cab was a bit sour right out of the bottle.  The black cherry leaned more toward a Beaujolais-like kirsch aroma.  There were savory notes and baking spices, with brown sugar coming to mind.  It was not integrated and the finish was short.  I would give it a thumbs down based on first impression.  However, as is frequently true with red wines, things improved with some air time.  We pumped the bottle and left it on the counter for two days.  Upon returning to it we found a wine that had opened, deepened and generally improved a bit in every way.  The fruit was somewhat richer, with black plum and black cherry.  The savory quality was still there, along with some leather and spice. Where I would have said medium body it was now almost full.  The finish was longer and the wine was better integrated.  Fine tannins support everything.  Definitely decant this juice for an hour or two, or leave it on the counter overnight.

Price Point –    $8

Would We Buy It?    With some air time we give it a very hesitant thumbs up, primarily because of the price.  There is a slight sweetness to the wine which is a bit troubling, but overall this is decent value.  The flavor profile is more meaty and plum than blackberry and currant.  It won’t make you forget about your favorite Napa Cab, but it’s only $8.  Definitely let this see some air before drinking.

Now for the white:

IMG_0720Wine:    2015 Dark Horse California Sauvignon Blanc

Winery Location:   Modesto, CA

Tasted By:      Neil & Cheri                      Date:  August 2016    

Tasting Notes:  – light straw color with maybe a tiniest touch of green.  Bright nose of peach, citrus and cantaloupe.  The palate is also full of bright fruit, with the peach and citrus dominating.  This stays really crisp and clean throughout, finishing the same way.  

Price Point –    Also $8

Would We Buy It?    We quite like this Sauvignon, and it is a great value at $8.  We’re adding it to our Value List.

So two wines from the provider of so many television commercials lately.  We think the Sauvignon Blanc is worth the hype.  The Cabernet Sauvignon not so much.  Of course you’ll need to be your own judge.

A votre santé!

 

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