The clue is in the name: Dark Horse is a brand that's all about the unexpected wins.
But what does that mean when it comes to wine? Well, for Dark Horse, that means bringing you wines that surpass your expectations. It means working side-by-side with 400 of California's finest grape growers, and tasting the wine more than 100 times before it reaches your glass.
It's no surprise that this exacting approach has enabled the brand to build an award-winning portfolio of wines.
Dark Horse brings the unconventional to everything it does, inspiring its fans to think outside the box in the way they enjoy its wines. By stepping off the path well-trodden, there's potential to discover new, delicious pairings.
So to inspire you at home, Dark Horse has partnered with a handful of people known for not being afraid to deviate from the norm and break the mould to see how they pair the wines.
First up in the Follow Your Own Path series is chef Gizzi Erskine, known for her no-holds-barred approach to food and flavour. She shares her perfect pairings:
Dark Horse cabernet sauvignon
"This cabernet sauvignon works really well with braised meats. When the gelatine breaks down in the meat it creates an umami richness that sits really well against the smooth finish of the Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon. My smoked chocolate chilli con carne showcases this perfectly."
Dark Horse merlot
"Don't always assume that red wine only works best with red meats. Meaty fish like tuna, monkfish and swordfish work surprisingly well as they are bold enough to withstand the tannins and richness of Dark Horse merlot (and the cabernet sauvignon, for that matter), which might surprise some people who think only white wine is the appropriate match for fish. Be adventurous and reach for a red!"
Dark Horse chardonnay
"Bacon is often cured with salt and sugar and then with a hint of smoke. All of these are the things which scream a collaboration with some chardonnay. So, when making any dishes such as carbonara, or ham or gammon chops, reach for a chardonnay. Dark Horse chardonnay is rich and full-bodied, with notes of toasted oak and caramel, which are a great complement to the smokiness of the meat."
Dark Horse malbec
"For those who love heat: considering a lot of the flavour notes of wine are based around spicing, don't assume that beer or lager is the most appropriate match for spicy food. Dark Horse malbec works brilliantly with all spicy foods, as it's robust and rich enough to stand up to big spicy flavours with its velvety finish."
And that's just for starters – you can see the full selection of Gizzi's recipes here. Up next in the Follow Your Own Path series are adventurer Jamie Jewitt, Team GB Kayaker-turned-explorer Tommy Brady and former SAS soldier and TV presenter Mark Billingham.
To learn more about Dark Horse and see the full range of wines visit darkhorsewine.co.uk or visit their Instagram page @DarkHorseWineUK for recipe inspiration, including Gizzi's smoked chocolate chilli con carne.