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Dark Horse Pinot Grigio Review

Dark Horse Pinot Grigio Review

Dark Horse wines were launched in 2010 by Ernest and Julio Gallo, the brothers for whom E&J Gallo wines are named.

Their director of winemaking, Beth Liston, earned a B.S. in Business Administration from California Polytechnic University back in 2002, with a minor in viticulture and oenology.

Beth took her minor, ran with it, and worked for Rutherford Hill Winery in the Napa Valley, E&J Gallo in Modesto, and Cape Jafa wines in Southern Australia.

After having gotten some experience under her belt, Beth returned to work with E&J Gallo once again in 2007 and has continued to strive to improve both herself and the quality of the wines she produces at every step of the way since.

Dark Horse Pinot Grigio Review

Despite generally being brushed off by many in the wine industry, Dark Horse wines actually offer great value for the money.

They are consistently rated around 90 points by various critics and have claimed the honor of Wine Enthusiast’s Best Buy Award on several occasions for their bottles.

Dark Horse Pinot Grigio

Dark Horse Pinot Grigio

  • Brand: Dark Horse
  • Country: United States
  • Region: California
  • Wine Type: White Wine
  • Varietal: Pinot Grigio
  • ABV: 13.4%


The wine is a vaguely golden color in the glass and is heavier than the typical Pinot Grigio. It boasts a fuller-than-average body, sparkles when swirled in the light, and presents legs that are quick to form and to fall.


On the nose, you get lots of underripe lemon, fresh apples, and a bit of a vaguely floral note. It has a stronger aroma than traditional Italian Pinot Grigio, which is fairly typical for being made in a more New World (non-European) style in the relatively warm climate in California.


Notes of raw honeycomb, underripe citrus fruit, green apple, and pear come through initially. Flavors of banana and just the slightest hint of minerality help bring everything together nicely.

The body is full and lacks any real tannin or acidity. The mouthfeel is heavier than I would personally like in a Pinot Grigio and has an almost waxy sort of feel to it in the mouth.

That said, I can certainly see the appeal of this bottle in the market.

What Does Dark Horse Pinot Grigiopair With?

I would recommend pairing this one with heavier cheeses with a delicate flavor profile.

Halloumi fits the bill very nicely, as it is mellow on the palate with a creamy body that meshes very nicely with the waxy mouthfeel of the wine. Mozzarella is also an excellent option, and a nice caprese salad is a good go-to.

Getting into something a bit different, I would pair this bottle with pastas featuring no sauce. Anything light, clean, and with maybe a bit of olive oil or balsamic vinegar works very well with this style of wine.

What Wines Are Similar to Dark Horse Pinot Grigio?

Try other California Pinot Grigios, and you will be in the same general neighborhood as this one.

One of the beauties of Pinot Grigio is that it is generally such a simple, delicate wine that it tastes almost more of the region where it is made than it does of the varietal, in my opinion.

Ménage à Trois Limelight Pinot Grigio would be my pick here.

Alternatively, try Pinot Gris! Pinot Gris, while the same grape as Pinot Grigio, is much different in style. Grigio is the traditional Italian way of producing the varietal, while Gris is the traditional French way.

Pinot Gris tends to be fuller, a bit richer and boasts more stone fruit and raw honeycomb that you find in this bottle.

Final Thoughts

Overall I feel as though this is a perfectly enjoyable wine, though I have to admit that I am not partial to California Pinot Grigio typically.

It is great for pool parties, fun in the sun, and any occasion where you just want an easy drinking option on hand.