The quality of Three Dark Horses is no surprise when you know former Coriole winemaker Matt Broomhead is involved. Matt along with his Dad and Grandfather are the Three Dark Horses. Home base is an old vineyard in the Seaview sub-region of McLaren Vale.
Several years ago I was fortunate enough to taste a pair of 1962 Australian wines. Yalumba Four Crowns Burgundy and Seppelt’s Chalambar. Both of which were Grenache blends and both of which, at the age of 48 years, were so divine that I vowed to respect Australian wine more.
This 3 Dark Horses gives me the same vibe as those two 1962. An elegant and understated style of McLaren Vale red. It is balanced and therefore it is delicious now. I am going to tuck some into my cellar for some serious long term aging because I believe it is going last for the long term.
The maritime climate and sandy soils of McLaren Vale make it a great place for growing grapes. Reds in particular excel here. Shiraz of course, but the Spanish varieties Grenache and Tempranillo seem well suited too. The maritime climate helps mitigate some of the heat from the SA summers and the sandy soils mean that phylloxera could not survive and so they have some of the oldest vines in the world.
A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on terroir and/or winemaker influence. The Syrah-based wines of Northern Rhone are dry and austere while the Shiraz of Barossa is rich and fleshy. A variety that lends itself to long aging but can be drunk at any time of its evolution.
Spain’s gift to the world. We know it as Grenache and I think everyone has a soft spot for it in some way. Almost too exuberant in expressing its sweet red fruits and high alcohol, it often needs a little bit of other wines to add moderation, structure and depth. Much like Abbott and Costello. Despite this, the wines of Priorat, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rioja and Aussie GSMs have an amazing ability to age for the long term.
Touriga Nacional is the most desirable for quality Port and table wine but proves difficult to grow and offers small yields. That means Touriga Franca is the greatest plantings and can be seen as the Cabernet Franc compared to Nacionals Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are thick, dense, intensely coloured and full of flavour.