Dark Horse wines are a bit of an outsider in their approach but Nick recommends you gallop down the shops to check them out.

I’m now a bit of a fan of Dark Horse Wines,  having been less than impressed a few years ago. It’s a Californian wine blended by Beth Liston from the grapes of around 400 growers, and maybe the blend back in the day wasn’t the best, but they have nailed it now. And at the low price  you can’t go wrong with it for everyday drinking,  and even at the weekend too, I mean why not?

Chef Mike Reid, who can be seen on Five Star kitchen on Channel 4, and he’s also big chef boss of Rare Restaurants which encompasses both Gaucho and M Restaurants, cooked up a storm for us to demonstrate just how well Dark Horse Wines go with the kind of vibrant, modern food he’s famous for. Unexpected combinations that consistently hit the spot.

Chardonnay’s notes of apple and ripe stone fruit, layered with toasted oak, went great with Surf & Turf Tartare with wagyu beef, carabineros prawns with pickled baby beetroots, smoked mayo and crisps. .

The Cab Sauv, with notes of plum, a hint of oak, and a smooth finish partnered well with  tandoori lamb shoulder with roti, raita and a delish coriander chutney.

And the Merlot was perfect with Blackened steak with cowboy butter sauce and fire cooked Hispi cabbage, its dark berry and a layered finish just what was needed.

You can find all these great recipes on the Dark Horse Recipe page

The Award Winning Dark Horse wines come with screw caps for convenience, because who hasn’t forgotten the corkscrew on a picnic and been in the doghouse, and in reassuringly well-built bottles.

My Dark Horse favourite (sic)  is the Chardonnay, which I think punches well above its price point, and the Merlot which is an absolute BBQ banger and will disappear as fast as you open it.

Don’t gamble, bet on the Dark Horse.