This week our hunt for bargain wines led me to try Dark Horse Big Red Blend. The wine is priced at under $10. We paid $8.99

The wine is a blend of Malbec, Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah, and Rubired. The last of these was not a grape with which I was familiar. In fact, if I had seen that name out of context, I doubt I would have even guessed that it was a variety of vine; the name seems more appropriate for an artificial food-colouring. A little research shows that the variety was created by Dr. Harold Olmo, a professor at UC Davis. It was bred specifically to produce high yields in hot climates, such as Calfornia’s Central Valley.

Dark Horse Big Red Blend

The nose was of furniture polish and over-ripe fruit. My reaction to the smell was a little more favourable than those adjectives might imply. Nonetheless, it was not the most encouraging start.

California Girl comments: Boy, am I sorry I’m in France at the moment drinking a particularly nice Bordeaux. Not! Sucks to be you honey!

The taste did not live up to the expectations created by the smell. The first impression was of too much acid and not enough fruit, but the finish was a deeply unpleasant cloying sweetness that reminded me of a grape drink whose long list of ingredients includes everything except a mention of fruit.

I did give Dark Horse Big Red Blend a second chance; allowing it to breathe a little. I poured a full glass, but two sips were enough to reinforce my dislike. Most of it ended up being poured down the sink. I cannot recommend this wine.

California Girl Comments: I don’t think I’ll buy this one again for you. I’m guessing by your subtlety that you didn’t care for this wine?

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