The Dark Horse Brut Sparkling Wine is a non-vintage Chardonnay based Bubbly sourced from grapes grown in more than one California grape growing/wine-producing AVA. Dark Horse is one of E & J Gallo’s (the largest family owned winery in the US) many wine labels, here are links to our posts on Dark Horse Double Down Red and the 2014 Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon . Brut indicates that the Dark Horse is a dry or nor sweet Bubbly and Gallo owns top-notch vineyards thru-out California, so they have many sources for good quality Chardonnay grapes. Gallo and Dark Horse don’t give out a great deal on information about the Bubbly, the website is more of a “lifestyle” site with little actual wine technical info. To the point where they don’t indicate if this Sparkling wine was made in the Traditional Method (like Champagne) or the Charmat Method (like Prosecco). This isn’t scientific but I have found that Bubbly that was made in the Traditional Method have that or Champenois Method (the same thing, this is what they call it in France) featured prominently on the label and Bubbly made in the Charmat Method tend to skip any mention of it. I don’t know why, especially in this price range, but if you do either method with skill you can produce some fine tasting Bubbles. The alcohol content is 12%.
The color is pale golden yellow is loads of active bubbles. On way you can tell a Champagne from a Prosecco is that the Champagne should have very tiny bubbles, but I find that figuring out whether the bubbles are tiny or very tiny isn’t that easy. The nose is crisp and clean and slightly nectar sweet, there are flowers, and peach, apple, pear, soft lemon, and grapefruit. This is a crisp, clean Bubbly with little or no yeasty flavor (so that can indicate Charmat Method, right?). It tastes of crisp apple and pear, dry, with good lip smacking acidity, not a super complicated Bubbly, but a very pleasing flavor. The mid-palate offers a little minerality, a little salty, nutty sensation, and a slap of lemon/lime.
- The Dark Horse Brut is a well-made Bubbly, crisp and lean, with good control of the acidity
- I have now decided that the bubbles are actually very tiny and not just tiny, but I still would guess the Charmat Method
- The lip-smacking acidity and the salty/nutty thing on the mid-palate will having you reaching for your glass again and again
- The dry, yet nectar sweet flavor profile is very enticing, a nice yin/yang effect
- You should be able to find it selling for between $10 and $15 is the sweet spot for this type of California Bubbly. Too cheap and they tend to rush things and you shouldn’t rush Sparkling wine, in this price range is where they take a little extra time to do it right