If there’s one thing I love about both wine and Formula One, it’s the performance of elitism. Now, those two worlds have collided: McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has partnered with Australian St Hugo winery for a new limited-edition collection of wines that I need to drink. For science.
This partnership isn’t new; Ricciardo first teamed up with St Hugo last year — but to keep things exclusive, those old wines are no longer available and will instead be replaced by the “Buckle Up” collection, which consists of two wines: a 2020 South Australian Shiraz and a 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you’re the kind of person that can divine the taste of a wine through a wine description, here’s how St Hugo describes each:
Shiraz: Dark berry fruits oozing generosity belie the fine classical structure that underpins this elegant and expressive modern example of Australian Shiraz.
Cab Sav: Coonawarra Cabernet at its finest, showcasing the distinctive regional characteristics of fruit grown on ‘terra rossa’ soil over limestone. Structured with regional blackcurrant fruit and long fine tannins to ensure a long life ahead of it.
Both of these sound inexplicably sexy, and I am here for it.
There’s also a special glass Daniel Ricciardo decanter for sale that is — you guessed it — hewn into the shape of a racing shoe. I also desperately want one of these bad boys, but a quick consultation of the price quickly tamped down my urge to just throw money at things for people much richer than I: It costs $700 in Australia, which equates to about $525 here in America. The wines themselves are $70 AUD a bottle, or $52 American.
Right now, these wines are only available to folks in Australia, which has made me desperately sad that I — again — did not throw money at an event for people much richer than I: Attending the Australian Grand Prix and bringing a suitcase that will specifically be filled with Daniel Ricciardo wine.
Back in the pre-pandemic days, when I actually lived in Philadelphia and physically attended graduate school classes, I used to make a once-weekly excursion to a wine bar downtown, where I was adamant about drinking my way through the wine list. And I don’t mean just drinking. I showed up with a wine-tasting notebook, where I diligently logged my tasting notes and impressions and made a mental ranking of my favorite types of wines and my favorite regions. I am still the go-to for selecting a bottle to share when dining out.
So I’ll admit: Shiraz and cabernet sauvignon aren’t my first go-tos for wine. I much prefer the entire range white wines, while my preference for reds is generally “what tastes the most like dirt mixed with tobacco and sucks all the moisture out of my mouth?” That answer is usually tempranillo.
But Mr. Ricciardo, if you’re reading this and want to send a bottle or two to a fellow wine-loving connoisseur, I am willing to amend my ways. I am willing to purchase a range of other cab savs and shiraz to taste so that I can rank these St Hugo wines with taste, sense, logic, and experience.
You know. For science.