Reviewed by Colin Hewitt
I enjoy wine, especially a glass or two of red wine, with a meal, or while relaxing in front of the television; however, I cannot claim to be, and wouldn’t consider myself, a wine expert. Therefore, I was intrigued when I was sent a bottle of Apothic Red to sample, and review.
From the moment the package arrived, I wanted to enjoy this product. The name is evocative. ‘Apothic Red’, derived from ‘Apotheca’ which is Latin for storehouse or repository. In medieval times, throughout Europe, wine would have been stored and blended in such storehouses. The very lightly embossed, distinctive design of the label alluded an air of sophistication and would make it stand out from the crowd, I could immediately sense that this wine was going to be different.
The Apothic wine range is made and distributed from the family-run, and long-established E. & J. Gallo Winery, based in Californa (founded in 1933). The Apothic range of distinctive blended wines was created by one of their prized winemakers, Debbie Juergenson.
Apothic Red is a blend of four Californian-grown grape varieties. Zinfandel (renowned for its richness), Merlot (famed for its smoothness), Syrah (the full-flavoured grape, also known as Shiraz), and Cabernet Sauvignon (a robustly flavoured grape, and one of the world’s best-known red wine varieties).
Purely in the name of scientific research (of course), I tried the wine before and during a strong-flavoured meal (Italian meatballs in a mild chilli sauce). Before the meal, I could taste dark fruit (reminiscent of blackberry or blackcurrant), vanilla, and possibly even a hint of chocolate. During the food I was pleasantly surprised to find the rich flavours developed further, the wine remained velvety smooth, and now tasted of full soft-berry fruits. It is low in tannins; excess tannin can add a trace of bitterness, and astringency to a wine (that’s the taste that makes you think the enamel is being stripped from your teeth, especially if consumed without food) which, obviously, isn’t to everyone’s liking.
Wine purists may be inclined to dismiss blended varieties, however after sampling this bottle, I would urge even them to give it a try, I’m sure they will be pleasantly surprised. It’s incredibly smooth and surprisingly sweet (possibly too saccharine for some palates, but certainly not mine). It is full flavoured and certainly packs a punch, a hefty punch at that. This is a red wine which, strange as it sounds, may even appeal to traditionally non-red wine drinkers, it’s delicious.
750ml (13.5%) bottles of Apothic Red are widely available in major supermarkets (Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Bargain Booze, etc.). Looking at the Apothic UK website, I noticed that an intriguing, but slightly harder to find, Apothic Dark is also available.
While researching this article I had a quick glance at the E. & J. Gallo Winery website and noted that the US range of Apothic wines is much more comprehensive, hopefully, in the coming years, we will see more of them on the shelves in the UK.
Obviously, everyone has an individual palate, and this mightn’t be to everyone’s liking, but I would highly recommend giving this reasonably priced wine a try. Apothic Red is ideal for any occasion, but why not consider having it with the Christmas dinner – the flavour is strong enough to go well with either a traditional or non-traditional meal, and would keep most diners happy.
It would also make an ideal present for a hard to purchase for friend or relative, and an excellent thank-you gift for the upcoming festive party season.
A well-deserved 5/5.
RRP: £9 (75cl)
For more information and where to buy visit www.apothic.co.uk.