Daniel Ricciardo is many things – the larrikin F1 driver who managed to make the shoey a cultural export so insidious that even Harry Styles did it while touring Australia and fashion designer just to name two – but wine maker is perhaps his most interesting title.
Cynics might have, at first, dismissed DR3, his collaboration with Barossa-based St Hugo’s, as just another celebrity wine at the start but there’s certainly some sheepish faces in the tasting cellars now with the launch of his third vintage, DR3 the 3RD.
From the get, DR3 was a series of smooth cabernet sauvignons and Shiraz’s that had rich palates though not overly complicated, easy to savour and even easier to compliment your food with.
The two new wines, officially launched this week in an intimate dinner held at Melbourne’s Beneath Driver Line, are a benchmark for the collaboration possessing the best of both players: St Hugo’s finesse and expertise and the sparkle that makes Ricciardo, Ricciardo.
A cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, the 3RD delivers a lighter, more delicate expression of the DR3 flavours that were first revealed back in year one of the partnership. Dark berry and fruit notes lift the cabernet in the opening moments before it transitions into a heartier oak finish. The shiraz is a sparkling mix of red fruits including berries, pomegranate and raspberry.
Ahead of launching, ICON sat down with the 33-year-old multi-hyphenate from Perth to discuss the evolution of his wine and what fans and newcomers to DR3 can expect with the 3RD.
ICON: This is the third release that you’ve done with St Hugo’s. How would you describe the palate on these?
DANIEL RICCIARDO: Well, firstly the cabernet sauvignon is the one I speak on the most, probably, because it was the one when I immediately tried it and, don’t laugh, but could taste blackcurrant pastilles.
That was a touch of nostalgia for me because as a kid I loved them. So that brought back some of those flavours. But also, for me, with the cab I felt like there was a unique flavour and one that reached all the palate.
One thing I’ve learned through this process is I don’t really like if the wine is too, I would say, linear. I want every part of my mouth to be feeling something. That’s what I got with this cabernet. Before this, I was more of a shiraz drinker by nature so that’s also why this one really jumped out at me.
ICON: Would you say that the DR3 range has a signature terroir? What would that be?
DR: I would say if there’s one thing, a lot of dark fruits. So I mean I would go back to the blackberries or blackcurrant flavours. But I think from an experience I want something that is, as I said, far reaching. I want the beginning to feel like it kind of enters nice and smooth and then the middle of it has a lot of drive and reaches all of the palate, all of your mouth. And then the end, I don’t want it too heavy on tannins so it doesn’t dry out your mouth.
ICON: You’ve praised St Hugos for the amount of creative control the brand has allowed you – how much of the process do you oversee?
DR: Quite a lot! It’s something that I am proud of. I think the older I’ve got the more I’ve, let’s say, seen through just slapping your name onto something or saying ‘Hey, buy this.’ I really wanted to tell the story that we are heavily invested in this and I am putting time into it, but I’m putting time into it because I care and I do want to learn and I do appreciate it. In terms of, I probably spend too much time on presentation, on the design and the logos and this and that.
ICON: Thus far, the focus has been, thus far, on reds – any desire to move into whites?
DR: There’s plans to branch out into…something else. I just can’t say yet!