30 July 2010

2008 Apothic Red

The press release for this wine describes the name thusly:

Inspired by the "Apotheca," a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe, Apothic Red offers a truly unique wine experience.

I was curious about the connections with the word apothecary, and found this interesting bit about ancient Rome. From the Popular Dictionary of Architecture and the Allied Arts, Vol. I by William Audsley and George Ashdown Audsley (1881):
APOTHECA. The name given by the Romans to the room in the upper part of a house in which the amphorae containing wine were placed, to be subjected to the heat of the sun from the roof, and the passage of the smoke from the fumarium, above which the apotheca was usually situated. The effect of the warm temperature and the smoke was to mature and improve the flavour of the wine. The word, in its more extended signification, was applied to store-rooms, granaries, and warehouses.
The word also shows up a few times in the works of the Roman poet Horace, like this snippet from Satira V in which Ulysses says to Tiresias:
O nulli quidquam mentite, vides ut
Nudus inopsque domum redeam, te vate, neque illio
Aut apotheca prods intacta est, aut pecus. Atqui
Et genus et virtus, nisi cum re, vilior alga est.
So let's talk about the wine itself... The 2008 Apothic Red is simply from California, not a specific region. $14, 13.1% abv. It is a proprietary blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Merlot. This wine certainly stands up and grabs your attention with big berry aromas, followed by plum and cherry flavors. Huge fruit presence with a touch of vanilla. Rich and full-bodied with an edge of sweetness. It reminds me a great deal of the Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois Red, so if you like that wine, I think you'll enjoy this one as well.

As shown, I paired this with a broiled steak and a simple summer salad. Our farmers markets are full of tomatoes and cucumbers right now, and it seems like I've been eating those two vegetables with almost every meal.

Note: This wine was received as a sample.


Jacksonville Wine Guide said...

I tried this wine a couple of days ago and was very impressed. My guess is that this is what Gallo have put together with excess Zin from Rancho Zabaco, Merlot from Frei Bros and Syrah from Bridlewood.

kris chislett

Benito said...


No idea on the precise sourcing of the grapes, I'm afraid. It's a bit sweet for my tastes, but I do appreciate such a wine as a bridge for those who are new to reds.

In a blind tasting with wine novices this would be a clear winner--a touch of sweetness and lots of fruit is very popular.


fredric koeppel said...

you have to wonder who writes the PR copy and what kind of sense of history they have. "a mysterious room ... in 13th Century Europe"???

Benito said...


I didn't spend forever doing research, but most of what I saw indicated that by the 13th century apotheca/apothecary referred to a storage room in general and a pharmacy in specific. I thought the Roman habit of smoking and curing the wine was interesting, though.


Samantha Dugan said...

You got the exact same thing I did, "Reminds me of Menage a Trois" said that the second I tried it....well that and, "Dude that's sweet". Not at all my style but there is a demand for a wine like this and it is my go-to when someone is looking for something just a little drier than Stella Rosa.

Benito said...


Most definitely. I know a lot of people that would love this wine.


neilart2 said...

If you want real reds get some of the fabulous Madiran wines from south west France. We are organising wine tours of the area from September.
Neil Whitehead

Sam Klingberg said...

A friend of mine has been raving about this wine for a long time. Have you ever read Hugh Johnson's Vintage, it's a pretty interesting read on the history of what wine was.

- Sam from Brokewino.com

Aman said...

I just tried this wine at "Alchemy" on S. Cooper.

It's my favorite red till now (not that I've tried very many).

Benito said...


Glad you liked it, and there's lots more red wine to love out there!