Dark Horse Merlot review | Wine Wednesday

Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

For this week’s Wine Wednesday, we’re going dark and fruity with a bottle of Dark Horse Merlot. As a long-time fan of Dark Horse‘s Rosé, their Merlot had been sitting on my list of wines to try for a little while. When I spotted it had a discount on it in my local TESCO one week, I figured that was as good a sign as any to pick up a bottle and share my thoughts for Wine Wednesday. Interested to see what I thought of the Dark Horse Merlot? Read my full review in this week’s Wine Wednesday.

About Dark Horse wine

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: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

Dark Horse Merlot

When it came to making this specific merlot, Beth went against what is thought of as the more conventional methods of making a 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).

Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

Dark Horse Merlot review | Wine Wednesday

So, what does it taste like? Compared to most Merlots that I’ve tried before, I’d say that the Dark Horse Merlot feels slightly more full-bodied than average. It’s full of rich red fruits, slightly spiced and lovely and warming on the palate. It’s got a slightly smoky and woody quality to it as well. Dark Horse describes their Merlot as robust, dark and jammy, and, on reflection, it definitely has a jammy red fruit flavour to it. Dark Horse also describes it as having a ‘toasted oak’ and ‘warm spice’ flavour and recommends pairing the bottle with slow-roasted beef brisket, saucy vegetable lasagne or even alongside something with a bit of spice. Overall, it’s a winning red in my eyes – easy-drinking, fruity and delicious. 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.

Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original
Dark Horse Merlot: Wine Wednesday - Female Original

Pair your Merlot with these tunes

Ready to try out the Dark Horse Merlot? Set the mood with my Wine Wednesday playlist and enjoy your Wednesday.

Some more suggested sippers

Interested in exploring other rosés from Female Original? Take a look through my Wine Wednesday recommendations.

Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc

Chateau Peyrassol Rosé

Mount Rozier The Red Snapper Cinsault 2021

52 thoughts on “Dark Horse Merlot 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 🙂

  8. I think this will be one I have to try out! My grandad is a huge merlot lover so might have to get him some too. He told me about a red wine that’s got the word ‘jammy’ in the title, makes it sound really appealing to me!

    Steff x

    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

  9. 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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