Dark Horse Merlot, My Review (Wine Wednesday)

Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

We’re going dark and fruity this time for Wine Wednesday with the Dark Horse Merlot. Dark Horse are a fairly new brand to me but they’re one that has quickly become a go-to of mine as well. I tried their rosé a few months back when it had a discount on in Tesco (and will most likely be reviewing that in this series at some point). I’d been eyeing up the bottle for a few weeks before but hadn’t bothered to pick it up. When I spotted it had a discount on that week it was just the push I needed to give it a try (I mean who can resist £2 off a bottle of wine?) and absolutely loved it.

Anyway, after picking up a bottle or two of the rosé over the weeks after that, I decided that it was about time I gave another of their wines a try. Which is how I ended up opting for their merlot. This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Dark Horse: A Bit About The Brand

Based in California, Dark Horse was pioneered by female winemaker Beth Liston who brought her passion and creativity to the winemaking process. As a brand Dark Horse pride themselves on their commitment to bringing together both traditional winemaking methods and techniques alongside the use of cutting edge technology. And it’s this combination that has led Dark Horse to create award-winning Californian wines and develop such an amazing reputation as a company.

Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

Dark Horse Merlot: How The Merlot Was Made

When it came to making this specific merlot, Beth went against what is thought of as the more conventional methods of making merlot. She actually harvests the grapes EARLY for this wine. Then using their traditional yet technological wine-making methods they managed to create their merlot. This technique is what gives Dark Horse’s Merlot its unique flavour (which I’ll go into in a sec).

Tasting The Merlot: My Thoughts

So, what does it taste like? Well I have to say it’s completely different to most merlot’s that I know and love. BUT that just adds to its deliciousness. I’d describe it as full-bodied, fruity, yet with a warm spice too.

Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

Tasting The Merlot: What Do Dark Horse Say?

We know my initial thoughts but what do Dark Horse say that you should be getting from their merlot? The words that they use to describe the wine are:


Yep, this definitely translates through for me. I think it’s interesting that they say it’s ‘jammy’. That’s a word that I’ve never used to describe a wine before (but I definitely will be in the future!). The ‘jammy’ flavour is probably what I’d usually refer to as fruity. But I guess fruity is a pretty vague term when it comes to wine, as surely every wine has some fruitiness to it. Anyway, this one is fruity but with a LOT of flavour. It’s actually almost rich in flavour. And I absolutely love it.

Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

Dark Horse also describe it as having a ‘toasted oak’ and ‘warm spice’ flavour. Tick! Hey I’m doing pretty well at picking out the flavours for this one aren’t I? Although I wasn’t quite as specific when it came to picking out the ‘toasted oak’ flavours I did definitely get that coming through in the overall ‘warm spice’ flavour. In terms of food pairing, Dark Horse recommend pairing their merlot with slow roasted beef brisket, saucy vegetable lasagne or even alongside something with a bit of spice. But of course it is just as fabulous as a standalone drink!

Overall it’s a really great red for anyone who goes for a more full-bodied wine. I can see it being a staple of mine over the coming months as it starts to get much colder. There’s nothing better than a warming glass of red around this year, which I’m sure you’ll agree with! If you want to pick up a bottle of the Dark Horse Merlot then you can find it at various supermarkets including TESCO, Sainsbury’s and ASDA.

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Have you tried any of the Dark Horse wines before? What did you think of them? Are you a fan of a merlot? Let me know in the comments.

Female Original

Liked this? Then you’ll LOVE this one: Freixenet Italian Rosé Wine: Wine Wednesday.

52 thoughts on “Dark Horse Merlot, My Review (Wine Wednesday)

    1. Thank you so much! I love learning a bit about the brand origin so I’m glad to know that it’s something you enjoy reading about too 🙂

    1. Ever since I found out that they suggested pairing it with a veggie lasagne it’s all I can think about :’) It’s an amazing wine!

    1. It’s a really lovely wine for this time of year! I’ll be sharing some alcohol-free content soon so hopefully there’ll be something for you in there 😉

  1. This sounds delicious! I don’t typically drink Californian reds, only rose usually but I do love jammy reds (definitely a strong descriptor by the way) so this one sounds like something I’d enjoy, I need to check it out x


    1. I’m the same, I usually drink Californian rosés and Spanish reds but the Dark Horse merlot is honestly amazing! Glad you’re on board with the jammy reds – I’ll be using that descriptor as frequently as I can moving forward :’) x

  2. Merlots are one of my favourite varietals and this one sounds like I would really like it. Interesting we have a BC Canada winery in my area also called Dark Horse who have some wonderful premium wines. I will look for this one in our local wine stores. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I absolutely love wine, especially red wine and merlot is one my favourite. The warm spice flavour would draw me right in! X

  4. Jammy wine? Sounds intriguing and it is a great word; I can already taste the flavor in my mind.
    I have always thought of wines as more of a summer drink but that this has a hint of spice in it makes me immediately want to try it now on these sunny fall days!

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. It’s a really great red! It’s got such a unique flavour that even if you’re not usually a red wine lover you might end up liking this one 🙂

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post! Hopefully you’ll find the perfect red wine soon (maybe even this one!) 🙂

  5. Ooooh, like the consensus seems to be, “jammy” wine sounds intriguing and yum! I’m finally gonna be legal next month, so I’m definitely gonna have to browse through your site for some quality recommendations :’) x

    1. ‘Jammy’ is such a great descriptor isn’t it! Ooh that’s exciting! Hopefully you find something you like the sound of 🙂 x

  6. It’s tough trying to find a good Merlot, that is in the middle in regards to price. They often are very tannic and flat. But the way you describe this one, makes me want to run out and buy it. Thanks for the review!

    1. I know what you mean. The Dark Horse wines really are amazing so I’d recommend trying this one for sure. The rosé is also lovely! 🙂

  7. Oooh! I love dark red wine! It definitely hits different. Love that there are so many wineries out in California but I haven’t been to many of them. Oooh the toasted oak sounds delish!! Glad you enjoyed the merlot overall. Gotta give Dark Horse a try!!

    1. California has really come a long with with it’s local wine! I found a book in my house a few weeks back which must be around 15-20 years old and it said that in the future Californian were going to be huge – so funny that that’s actually ended up happening! You definitely need to try the Dark Horse wines when you get a chance 🙂

    1. It’s such an incredible wine – a favourite merlot of mine for sure! I love the term ‘jammy’ so much. It was a completely new term to me until I tried the Dark Horse merlot. I’ll definitely be using it to describe other reds in the future haha x

  8. I haven’t tried the Merlot version, but some of the other Dark Horse wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty good, but I have to give the Merlot a try!

    1. I haven’t tried the Cabernet Sauvignon but I can vouch for the merlot and the rosé – both are amazing! Thanks for commenting x

    1. It’s become a go-to for me since I first tried it! If you like a rosé then I’d definitely recommend try the Dark Horse rosé as well 🙂 x

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