Dark Horse isn’t exactly known for producing nuanced wines, mostly turning out sub-$20 — or sub-$10 — wines for the mass market. Its sparkling production might be the most impressive juice in its arsenal, and you can find these nonvintage sparklers for as little as 8 bucks if you keep your eyes open.
NV Dark Horse Brut California Sparkling Wine – Surprisingly deft, this chardonnay-based sparkler hits all the right notes, particularly at this price point. Bold with elements of fresh apples and almonds, and featuring a toasty but hardly overwhelming yeast influence, it’s a nice little mix of fruit and more bakery-driven elements. A nearly perfect level of fizz keeps things popping on the palate at just the right level. An amazing value wine deserving of its name. A- / $13
NV Dark Horse Brut Rose California Sparkling Wine – A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, this is actually a drier wine than expected, more floral than fruity, with notes of orange blossoms, lilac, and some rose petal. Hints of almonds add a touch of body, leading to a clean, linen-fresh finish. B+ / $13