Dark Horse Chardonnay Review (2023)

Dark Horse Chardonnay Featured

What Kind of Wine Is Dark Horse Chardonnay?

Dark Horse Chardonnay is a refreshing and slightly complex Californian white wine. With welcoming honeysuckle and gooseberry aromas and hints of lemon and vanilla spice, this Chardonnay has an exceptional palate filled with stone and tropical fruit notes. Chardonnay is a canvas for a host of various wine-making techniques. From vibrant with primary fruit flavors to complex aromas of nuts and mushrooms, Chardonnay wines shape into many wine styles. In California and subsequently the New World, the Chardonnay style depends on the winemaker. As a consequence, many undergo barrel-fermentation, ending up oaked.

Chardonnay is a versatile grape varietal. It can be grown and ripened without challenge in several climates. It is early budding, which means that it suffers in areas with spring frosts. It shows flavors of green fruit and citrus in cool and moderate climates, such as apple, pear, and grapefruit. In warmer regions, like California, ripe tropical fruit tastes are more common. In fact, in these climates, Chardonnay starts to lose its vibrant acidity towards the end of the ripening process, so the harvest timing is critical.

Dark Horse Chardonnay Review

  • Winery — Dark Horse
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Modesto
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Apple, Pear, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Lemon, Vanilla Spice
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Peach, Apricot, Banana, Cheese, Honey, Butter, Brioche Bread, Almond, Butterscotch
  • Alcohol Content — 14.1%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Trout Crostini, Salmon, Roast Chicken, Rosemary Pork Roast

This bottling is a phenomenal beverage choice. Medium in body and combining both light and ripe flavors, Dark Horse Chardonnay is fruity. It offers a pleasant acidity and attractive apple, citrus, and tropical notes. I recommend it to wine enthusiasts on the lookout for a well-structured white wine. Consume without guilt.

Overall Rating: 4.0

  • Fruit-forward Aromas
  • Sweet, Round Mouthfeel
  • Savory
  • Vivid Acidity
  • Creamy Finish
  • Lacks A Bit Of Balance
  • An Oily Aftertaste Can Be Perceived

Tasting Notes

A tiny sniff and swirl reveal Dark Horse Chardonnay’s floral fragrances and green fruit notes. As the wine flows into the mouth, one might notice stone and exotic fruit flavors, like peach and banana, at the start, before moving onto mouth-watering sensations of cheese and butter. The equally creamy finish is soft and long, with a pleasing butterscotch taste.


Dark Horse Chardonnay has a bright gold hue that opens into an almost opaque center. On the sides, it develops into a deep lemon color, though. The tears of the wine are long and dense. All in all, Dark Horse Chardonnay showcases beautiful chromatic layers that contribute to an attractive and compelling appearance.


Dark Horse Chardonnay has a pure fruit nose. It opens with elegant floral fragrances of honeysuckle accompanied by notes of apple, pear, and gooseberry. A hint of citrus lingers too. On top of that, grapefruit and lemon surface, after a few swirls, and blend with warm vanilla spice. Sweet-smelling and fragrant, Dark Horse Chardonnay has an elegant aromatic profile, drawing wine fans in from the first sniff.


On the palate, Dark Horse Chardonnay showcases ripeness. Stone and exotic fruits dominate the mouth, while touches of cheese and butter contribute complexity and structure. Peach and apricot combine with banana, delivering savory sensations. Close by, notes of brioche bread and nutty almond conclude the superb tasting profile. Eventually, a vivid acidity refreshes and drives to the long and pleasing finish.


With a long and creamy finish, Dark Horse Chardonnay ends the tasting profile triumphantly. A hint of butterscotch gives extra character. On that note, a slightly bitter citrus note seems to linger as well, but without causing inconvenience. On the contrary, it adds depth, as it compares to bitter orange marmalade. What a delightful ending!


As my review has reiterated, Dark Horse is a well-balanced California Chardonnay. It is charming and elegant. With a fragrant nose filled with green fruits and citrus, a dynamic palate of peach and banana flavors, and notes of cheese and butter, Dark Horse Chardonnay guarantees total satisfaction. As a consequence, this Chardonnay not only promises but delivers. A long sip is all that you need. Take it and enjoy!

Dark Horse Chardonnay Food Pairing

A plate of trout crostini accompanies a glass of cold Dark Horse Chardonnay exceptionally well. As also juicy salmon. Both food choices combine well with the bright apple and ripe exotic flavors of the wine and the butterscotch finish. Roast chicken or even a rosemary pork roast can drive the taste buds crazy when paired with Dark Horse Chardonnay. As a last resort choice, pair the wine with a pepperoni pizza served with brioche garlic bread for more casual occasions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Makes Dark Horse Chardonnay?

Dark Horse Chardonnay is from Dark Horse Wine. Founded in 2010, the people behind the California winery “get the first pick of grapes from about four hundred growers” and “taste the wines over one hundred times” before being poured into the glass. On top of that, they believe that the greatest victories result when impossible odds face off against determination. They consider themselves victorious for delivering great wine at a reasonable price. Dark Horse Wine is part of the vast portfolio of E. & J. Gallo Winery, a leading provider of California wines in America and around the world.

How Is Dark Horse Chardonnay Made?

The Chardonnay grapes get selected from premier California vineyards at optimum ripeness. After harvest, the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed, and pressed to release their juice. Next, that juice is clarified to preserve pure fruit character and fed into stainless steel vessels after clarification to undergo cool fermentation. The wine is then filtered from aromatic yeast, selected to intensify the natural aromatics, and stored in stainless steel tanks to preserve brightness and balance. Eventually, it is bottled.

Where Is Dark Horse Chardonnay Made?

The Chardonnay grape used in the production of Dark Horse is cultivated in California state. California is the leading winemaking region of the United States, with acclaimed wines and state-of-the-art wineries. California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals thrive among the state’s cooler, coastal zones, recognized for pure fruit combined with elegance. As the Mediterranean climate combines the bright sun with cooling influences from the Atlantic Ocean and fog, California delivers a range of wine styles, immensely appreciated by wine enthusiasts.

How to Serve Dark Horse Chardonnay?

Dark Horse Chardonnay is served best in medium-sized white wine glasses. The large surface of the glass gives the wine vital aeration. As it comes into contact with the wine surface, the air helps the wine’s fruitiness unearth. Also, Dark Horse Chardonnay needs to be well-chilled at forty-three to forty-five degrees Fahrenheit (six to eight degrees Celsius). Do not serve it before it has chilled for an hour or so.

Furthermore, placing it in an ice bucket or wine cooler ensures that it remains cool. The bucket should be filled three-quarters full with equal quantities of ice and water so that iced water surrounds the bottle. The water is then able to transfer the heat from the bottle to melt the ice. Air acts as an insulator, and the bottle chills. That said, do not over-chill Dark Horse Chardonnay, as you risk damaging its flavors.

How Much Does Dark Horse Chardonnay Cost?

Dark Horse Chardonnay is approachable and budget-friendly. And it is marketed as such too. Dark Horse Chardonnay prices range from $9 to $13 per 750ml bottle, depending on vintage and vendor. At such a low price point, this bottling is a first-class opportunity. Do not overthink it, get this Chardonnay. You will not regret it.

How Long Does Dark Horse Chardonnay Last?

Dark Horse Chardonnay wine is mostly fruit-forward. As such, it cannot benefit from bottle aging. That said, Chardonnay wines are generally fitting for long-term storage, unlike most white wines. Following aging, flavors of almond, hazelnut, dried apricot, and marmalade should have developed. Therefore, I would recommend consuming Dark Horse Chardonnay within two years from the date of bottling.

To successfully mature it, seal it with a cork and put it in an environment with a degree of humidity and room temperatures that do not fluctuate (fifty to sixty degrees Fahrenheit or ten to fifteen Celsius). Direct sunlight or artificial light better be avoided as they may spoil the wine’s fruit-forward character. Odors also have to be kept at bay, as they might find their way inside the bottle and malfunction the wine’s flavors.

How Many Calories Does Dark Horse Chardonnay Have?

Dark Horse Chardonnay has an average caloric density. There are about 24 calories in 1 fluid ounce of the beverage, equating to a total of 130 calories per serving. The total calorie breakdown is 0 grams of fats, 0 grams of sodium, 2 grams of total carbohydrate, 0 grams of protein, and approximately 0.52 grams of total sugars. Dark Horse Chardonnay calories make the wine a suitable dietary choice. It is a fabulous beverage option for wine enthusiasts monitoring their calorie intake. Dark Horse Chardonnay alcohol content is 14,1% per 750ml bottle. That is a very high alcoholic concentration for a medium-bodied white, even if it is oaked.


This bottling is a phenomenal beverage choice. Medium in body and combining both light and ripe flavors, Dark Horse Chardonnay is fruity. It offers a pleasant acidity and attractive apple, citrus, and tropical notes. I recommend it to wine enthusiasts on the lookout for a well-structured white wine. Consume without guilt.

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