The 2010 The Original Darkhorse Cabernet Sauvignon is a $7.99 Trader Joe’s wine. The wine is produced by E & J Gallo, the largest family owned wine company in the world. Gallo’s wines run the spectrum from Andre’s and jug wine to topnotch, Estate wine. There is a winery in Sonoma and another in Australia using Dark Horse as their brand and while this bottle says it is “The Original Darkhorse” (along with the “™” for trademark), I could find no record of it before March of 2012. This brand is not listed on Gallo’s website, which usually indicates that it is a Trader Joe’s exclusive wine. The label says the grapes are sourced from California vineyards, meaning that grapes from more than one grape growing AVA made there way into the bottle. Gallo controls about half the vineyards in Sonoma, so they have a good economy of scale when it comes to obtaining grapes. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is dark black cherry red in the center and clear ruby on the rim. The nose is blackberry, coffee with no sugar or cream, plum, black pepper and a touch of Christmas spice. This wine has a soft, full mouth feel, it starts out with black and blueberries, followed by the very distinct flavor of a Starbucks Venti Mocha. The mid-palate adds sweet strawberry, Altoids spice and a slight tug from the tannins. The fruit and spice finish starts off strong, but fades.
The Original Darkhorse Cabernet Sauvignon brings strong interesting flavors to the table, which is all you can ask for in a $7.99 wine. The coffee and chocolate flavor really add a nice shine to the wine. While you can successfully pair the Darkhorse Cab with burgers, pizza and such, I think this is a put your feet up and sit out on the balcony or patio and watch the sun go down kind of wine.