A Review of Apothic Dark Wine: Is This a Good Bottle?
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Apothic Wines History

The name Apothic was inspired by “Apotheca,” an enigmatic place in the 13th century Europe where wine was blended and stored. Only the most distinctive California grapes are used to craft the wines which create bold flavors, tasting notes, and intense aromas. The winemaker strives to tell a story with the grapes and unique flavour, anything from drama, to intrigue, to romance any wine lover will appreciate.

Apothic wines demonstrate the creativity and innovation which is found in every bottle of Apothic Wines. Let’s explore Apothic Dark and you can decide if it’s the right wine for you between all their unique flavors!

Apothic Wines has a range of wines that are produced by E.J. Gallo, California’s largest wine exporter. From the first Apothic Red wine release in 2010 to the six varieties they currently produce, Apothic Wines has become known for their full-bodied, fruit-forward wines with some residual sugar.

Apothic Wines

apothic

Apothic has an interesting website with a virtual tour – through the Shazam app – of their wine cellar. There is also an interactive Tasting Challenge that Apothic describes as a “night of bold tastes and intriguing moments.” The Challenge uses either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to guide you through your tasting.

Wine consumers loved the easy-drinking style and Apothic now has six varieties of blended wines:

  • The red blend is made with Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It has notes of black cherry, vanilla, and mocha;
  • The white blend is made with Chardonnay, Riesling, and Moscato grapes. It has notes of peach, honey, pineapple, and vanilla spice.
  • Inferno is red wine that has been aged in charred, white-oak whiskey barrels for 60 days. It has a variety of notes and strong whiskey characteristics including maple, spice, red fruits, caramel, cedar, and black tea.
  • Crush is made with Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Pinot Noir, Teroldego, Petit Verdot, and other grape varieties. It has notes of ripe berries, cherry, rhubarb, caramel, and milk chocolate.
  • The brew is made with Petite Syrah, Teroldego, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and other grape varieties and infused with cold-brewed coffee. It has notes of coffee, red fruit, and toasted oak and less caffeine than a standard cup of decaf.
  • Dark is made with Petite Syrah, Teroldego, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Tannat.

What Does “Red Blend” Wine Mean?

apothic red blend

In the United States, a red blend wine is any red wine that is not produced from one single grape, but a mixture of grapes. Red blends sell more by volume than Pinot Noir or Merlot. Wine producers make blended wines because it allows them to design the taste and flavor profile of a wine.

Wine producers start with a red wine base and add other grape varietals for spice, richness, depth, and to enhance acidity. If they want to soften the tannins in a Cabernet Sauvignon, they can add Merlot. Syrah grapes can add more flavor to a watery Pinot Noir.

A problem with classifying red blend as a type of wine is that there is no specification as to which grapes must be contained in the wine. Any red wine grape could be used, from Merlot to Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah – and every other red wine grape that is grown. Basically, whereas most Cabernet Sauvignon wines within the same region will have similar taste profiles, you cannot expect all red blends to have similar taste profiles.

While red blends are generally medium- to full-bodied with a rich, juicy flavor and relatively easy on the wallet, it does not necessarily have to possess that flavor profile. It is a matter of trial and error and tasting the red blends to see which one suits you best.

In Spain, Rioja wine has customarily been produced with Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano grapes. The most important reason that wine producers blend wines is that the wine will appeal to more wine drinkers when it contains dark, fruit flavors and low acidity.

In fact, Wine Enthusiast lists red blend varietal wines from around the world and they all taste significantly different. Wine Enthusiast states the following about Red Blends:[i]

“Wines under the red blend category vary in color, aroma, flavor, structure, and ageability. Red blends from cool climates tend to be light and bright, while those from warm climates tend to be bold and dark. The varieties used, the region where they were grown, the season, as well as winemaker decisions, all play an essential role in how a red blend will taste.”

How Are Red Blends Actually Made?

Making a Red Blend is a labor-intensive project. Each grape varietal is individually crushed and fermented. When the juice has been extracted, the wine producer creates the blend through blending trials. There is a lot of tasting and trial and error before the blend is considered complete. At times, white wine grape juice is added to provide further tones and balance.

Apothic Dark

The Apothic Dark, a limited-release wine, is a fuller, more savory, red blend and uses the Shiraz/Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, and other grapes. It is a very dry wine with dark berry flavors of plum, blackberry, and blueberry combined with luxurious notes of chocolate and coffee. It is often described as rich, bold, and intense with a 14 percent alcohol content. Apothic Dark has a dark purple color, medium tannins, and a smooth finish. 

Apothic Dark has won a number of awards, including a Silver medal in the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, a Bronze medal in the 2017 Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition, a Gold medal in the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and a Bronze medal in the 2016 TEXSIM International Wine Awards.

The average price for a bottle of Apothic Dark is nine dollars and it has an aggregated critic score of 86 out of 100. Enjoy Apothic Dark at room temperature. It pairs well with beef, lamb, poultry, veal, pot roast, strong cheeses, and wild mushroom risotto.

There is even a list of cocktails which can be created using Apothic:

  • Dead of Night with dark rum, lemon juice, ginger beer, and a lime.
  • Midnight Blossom with crème de violette, elderflower liqueur, blackberries, and champagne;
  • Dark Crimson Spice with bourbon, lemon juice, ginger beer, and cinnamon bitters
  • Dark Blackberry Cobbler with lemon juice, simple syrup, pomegranate juice, club soda, and blackberries.

Why Should You Drink Apothic Dark?

Pros:

  • Deep, dark, luxurious color
  • Good legs that stand up in the glass
  • Tannins in the wine are surrounded by a taste of richness
  • The bold flavor of wine pairs well with bold flavors
  • A great wine for beginning red wine drinkers due to dark fruit flavors
  • The inexpensive – average cost is $9.00
  • Eye-catching labels
  • Good marketing and fun website

Cons:

  • The unique and lingering taste means you would not want to drink this wine every day as a table wine
  • Grapes probably blended with sugar and grape juice for the unique, rich taste profile

Other Red Blend Alternatives

There are a lot of choices when deciding which Red Blend wine to drink. Learn about some of the world’s most famous blended red wines and the grapes that are used to produce them[ii]:

Wine Name

Region

Grapes in Wine

Red Bordeaux

Bordeaux, France

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec

Red Bourgogne

Bourgogne, France

Pinot Noir, Gamay

Chianti

Tuscany, Italy

Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, others

Amarone Della Valpolicella

Veneto, Italy

Corvina, Molinara, Rondinella, Others

Red Rhône

France, Australia, USA

Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Others

Vivino has comprised a list of the ten best California Red Blend Wines:

 

Wine Name

Region

Grapes in Wine

The Prisoner

Napa Valley, California

Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Charbono

Del Dotto Cave Blend

 

Napa Valley, California

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sangiovese

Dylan’s Ghost Proprietary Red

Napa Valley, California

Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Syrah

Castello di Amarosa La Castellana

Napa Valley, California

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese

Justin Savant

Paso Robles, California

Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon

Bedrock Wine Co., The Bedrock Heritage

Sonoma, California

Grand Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Alicante, Bouschet, Carignan, Mission, Shiraz/Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Trousseau

Kenzo Estate Rindo Red

Napa Valley, California

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc

Venge Vineyards Scout’s Honor Red

Napa Valley, California

Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Charbono, Syrah

Murrieta’s Well Small Lot Zarzuela

Livermore, California

Touriga, Tempranillo, Souzao

Stags Leap The Investor

Napa Valley, California

Petite Sirah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec




And finally, Wine Spectator lists a wide variety of Red Blend Wines. The highest-rated wines on their list are:



Gorman Winery The Albatross Cabernet Sauvignon | Vivino

Blended with 20% Petit Verdot, this unusual offering brings notes of mushroom, herbs, smoke and dark cherries. It's tightly wound with a firm squeeze of tannins.

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FAQ’s About Apothic Wine

How long does Apothic wine last once open?

When opened, the red Apothic wine can last up to 6 days, if the bottle is closed with a cork and is kept in a cool and dark place, whereas the Apothic white wine can be used up to 5 days if kept in a fridge with a cork on the top.

How many calories Apothic wine has?

The red Apothic wine has 156 calories per 1 glass, the Apothic white wine has around 120 calories per 1 glass and the Apothic rose has around 147 calories per glass.

How do you drink Apothic wine?

This is really up to personal taste, however, Apothic recommends that you drink your wine at room temperature or mildly chilled, in order to be able to enjoy all of the notes of the wine.

Is drinking wine dangerous for my health?

Red wine is known as a doctor for your heart if you drink it in moderate amounts. In fact, many doctors even recommend drinking 1 glass of wine every day, because of the antioxidants it consists that prevent heart issues and artery diseases.

Conclusion

If you enjoy dry, red, fruit-forward wines, you will enjoy Apothic Dark. The Prisoner and Apothic Dark are two of my favorite red blends and I can recommend them highly for beginners and sophisticated wine drinkers alike. Have some fun and try the Apothic Tasting Challenge with Alexa or Google Assistant. You may just find your new favorite wine! To your health!

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Tammy Wunsch

Tammy Wunsch loves wine, vineyards, and travel. Her blog, ExpatWriter.com, prominently features these three topics, as well as information about living the digital nomad life. Tammy is the author of "The Navarre Brotherhood," an adventure novel about a search for the Knights Templar treasure. She lives in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut and spends her free time working on a sequel, planning her next trip, and seeking out new wines to share with friends.