Ah yes, one of the immortal movies of the twentieth century [in my book it's], Fistful of Dollars marked a C-change in the way western heroes were portrayed on the screen. No more would you see the guys in the white hats riding in to save the day, like the typical Gary Cooper sheriff-types who would never think about drawing down on the bad guy first. No the change would come in the form of "Man with No Name", one of dubious [the worst kind] morals, the unlikely character who emerges as the hero [just like the wine I'm about to review], not of his own merits. The changing social climate of the sixties helped foster this change of attitude and gave the “western” a new lease of life and spawned a new genre entirely, the spaghetti-western.
As in the movie, which has Clint Eastwood [the Man With No Name] riding into a sea of ugly sameness, where he quickly discovers a change is needed, thus the reluctant and frankly unlikely hero decides he's going to take this town in a new direction. Like Clint you could grab yourself a very tasty wine to quench that thirst [that appears to have no-name] for just a fistful of dollars, because little did I know that Apothic Red does not come from a small mom and pop boutique winery nestled in a place like Paso Robles, instead it comes from the veritable wine producing powerhouse called Gallo.
Sometimes big corporations need to have someone new or perhaps a new idea come into the town of their corporation or boardrooms if you will, with the thinking going a bit like this, "hmmm what could I do different to shake things up around here?". Good question and one Gallo answered with Apothic Red.
The reluctant Hero: In this case there is no reluctant hero, rather you have two winemakers one being Boyd Morrison [the other is the man with no name] who was inspired by the age old Apothic tradition and wanted to explore new territories in red wine blending, bringing Old World and New World together. Thus you have the birth of Apothic Red, an though perhaps it will be criticized by many reviewers [as a typical California over-ripe fruit bomb], I think the wine swirling public in general will predictably love it, for it's easy drinking approachability right out of the bottle.
Swirl, Sniff, Slurp: In the glass a you will find an eye pleasing dark ruby core, on the lusty nose you find aromas of vanilla, darker notes of brandied cherries and floral accents. On the palate it's super-ripe bursting with tarry, truffles bursting with red fruits, with a lush mouth feel, without the anticipated lingering finish [disappointment].
What's in it: Apothic Red, is a blends of spicy Zinfandel, a wine most folks really love, with smooth Merlot and some dark brooding Syrah leading the way to give it that wonderful deep color and concentrated flavors and no it does not fit the Meritage definition. Good thing too, because if they wanted to add that term to the label you could kiss the small price point goodbye.
Where to Purchase: This wine can be purchased just about any where you are, as it appears to be widely available. I did a check myself and this wine appears to be on the shelf at a majority of grocery stores and drug stores here in San Diego at most likely at a location near you [yep, even in Chula Vista].
Price: Here is the good part, this very easy drinking wine does literally sells for a fistful of dollars. It has a suggested retail price $14, but I can see it selling most places for just under $10.
Full Disclosure: This wine was submitted as a sample for review by a public relations team, who wanted me to give this wine a slurp, and let the chips fall where they may/
What's the Score: In case anyone maybe interested I gave this wine an 87 points, for its wonderful drink-ability, mouthwatering flavors and wide distribution. I am always surprised by inexpensive wines that really deliver on flavor and immediate approachability. It's much easier to make an inexpensive white wine, than to make a red wine like the Apothic Red. So kudos to the winemaker, well done you have a QPR champ here.
My Recommendation: A great crowd "pleaser" that will compliment a variety of food choices, especially Spaghetti. Although this slightly unusual trio: Syrah, Merlot and Zinfandel is not sophisticated or complex, it's however flat out appealing. I would recommend having a case of this wine around for the upcoming holiday season and parties we will all be going to this year. So until next time sip long and prosper, cheers everyone.
Other Voices: Some wine guy near the slot machines of Vegas had this to say about this wine: "This highly recommended Apothic wine, however, really delivers on many levels and can be said to be a highly successful blending experiment." Gil Lempert-Schwarz, Las Vegas Weekly Review Journal.
The Cheap Wine Guy had this to say, "This is not your run-of-the-mill, average cheap wine. It’s different. It’s interesting." and gave it 85 points. Huh, I'm so impressed by the profundity of some wine writers is like wow, so overwhelming. [He might as well have said, oh-my this wine is good].