Apothic Red Review

Name: Apothic Red
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2013
Price: $9.99

I’m currently tasting the 2013 Apothic Red “Winemaker’s Blend” from California, but this is a wine I’ve had before and it doesn’t seem to vary that much from year to year. It’s blended to be pretty consistent. It’s a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah (aka Shiraz) and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The color is deep, nearly opaque with an aroma that bursts with berry scents. It’s a pretty fruit-forward wine with abundant berry flavors and a touch of vanilla and spice. The mouthfeel is lighter than the color would suggest and some slight tannins are detectable on the medium finish. Despite looking very bold in both color and the design of the bottle, this wine is actually pretty versatile and could be easily appreciated on its own or paired with food. Good buy.

Barefoot Sweet Red

Name: Barefoot Sweet Red
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: Non-Vintage
Price: $5.99

A lot of people seem to like Barefoot wines by the volume sold so I bought a couple more bottles to see what’s going on (it’s been a long time). This one is the Sweet Red blend from California. I had it slightly chilled as that seems like the right thing to do with a sweet wine.

Here’s the thing…this is a cheap wine. They put a prominent sticker on every bottle showing how they won the 2012 Riverbank Competition (?) for “consistent quality. proven value”. I definitely believe that it can be produced consistently…

It smells like cheap wine, sweet and green. I wish I could describe it better because all cheap wines have a similar smell. Same with the flavor. Sweet Red is a perfect name for the wine because that’s what it is, sweet and red. That’s where the character begins and ends. It won’t be accused of intrigue, subtlety, complexity or generally being “interesting.” It’s just sweet and red, like a decent boxed sangria.

If that’s what you like–and a lot of folks do–go for it.


Image of Barefoot Sweet Red wine label

2011 Phantom

Name: Phantom
Type: Red
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2011
Price: $19.99

It’s just after Halloween and this bottle is marketed just for the occasion…it’s known as the Phantom. It’s produced by Bogle Vineyards and has the tagline “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” I bought the bottle for $19.99 before Halloween (~$18 after case discount) and I should have seen this coming, but I just saw it at Wegman’s after Halloween for $14.99. Nothing haunts me like over-paying for a bottle of wine by $5…so they got me there. Boo!

On the plus side, it has one of those super heavy bottles. My drip ring barely fit on the top. Whenever I get a bottle like this I simultaneously feel like I got more for my money and guilty for consuming the extra glass even though I recycle.

The wine itself is dark…like the wraith shackled to your soul. Nah, it is a deep ruby color though and it has an earthy, pungent aroma of black pepper. It has distinct tannins, dark berry flavors and a robust feel in the mouth. Spicy too, very spicy. It’s a very good wine though I like it a LOT better at $14.99 than $19.99. Stock up now.

 

Picture of bottle of 2011 Phantom red wine from Bogle Vineyards

Villa Antinori Review

Name: Villa Antinori
Type: Red
Origin: Italy
Year: 2011
Price: $19.99

Bumping right up against my $20 price limit is this bottle of Villa Antinori. It’s a red blend from Tuscany that came to me as a recommendation. The ruby red colored vino has a potent aroma of jammy fruit and earthy, leathery notes. It’s tasty and well-balanced with soft tannins and a lengthy finish. One of the dominant flavors is chocolate, but not milk chocolate, but rather a nice dark chocolate. I’m going to say 85% with a bit of grit in the texture. If your BS meter is going off then you’re just astute….but this is a very good wine for the price…

Villa Antinori Review

Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay

Name: 120 Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: Chile
Year: 2011
Producer: Santa Rita
Price: $8.99

This is another wine I got at a grocery store for half off because it was going out of business. By the time I got there, all they had left was white wine and the vast majority of it was Chardonnay. The citizens of New Hampshire must share my general disdain for Chardonnay. I did also score a couple bottles of Sauvignon Blanc thanks to the diligent searching of my wife.

The name 120 is an ode to some freedom fighters in Chile who took shelter in a wine cellar. Makes sense, in the inevitable zombie apocalypse my first refuge would definitely be a wine cellar. Anyhow, this is an interesting Chardonnay. It’s unoaked, so it looks and tastes more akin to a Sauvignon Blanc. The color has a green tinge and the aroma is full of grass and minerals. Everything about the flavor is a little unripe, the apple and citrus flavors are of fruit that was taken a little too young. It’s a smooth flavor though and the long-ish finish is where a lot of the unripe fruit manifests. I can’t recommend this wine but it’s interesting enough that if you can score it for a discount like I did it’s worth a look.

2007 Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red

Name: Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red
Type: Red
Grape: Red Blend
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2007
Producer: Purple Cowboy
Price: $11.99

Interesting name, interesting label and an interesting little story on the back about the wine. True to the name, the wine is deep purple, almost opaque. The nose is all stewed fruit and tobacco. The wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, and true to form it’s a boldly flavored wine. Plum, other dark fruits and earthy flavors dominate. The finish is rather lengthy and it there I detected the tannins. This isn’t a wine for everyone and I’d suggest drinking it with food but I do like it.

Rex-Goliath Chardonnay

Name: Rex-Goliath
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: South Africa
Year: NV
Producer: HRM Rex-Goliath Winery
Price: $8.99

So it’s been a while since my last post here, I’ve been busy. If you check the dates you’ll see that’s absurd, I haven’t posted in 3 years. To be fair though, my last post was when my son was 1 and now he’s 4 and my daughter is 2, so I have been busy. I tasted a non-vintage Rex-Goliath Chardonnay today. I’ve been happy with Rex-Goliath in the past but rarely with Chardonnay, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Especially since I got it from a New Hampshire grocery store that was going out of business and had everything — including wine — half off. So I actually paid less than a five spot for this bottle.

The wine is a pale yellow, straw sort of color and the aroma is oaky. It is very smooth with subtle pear and citrus notes. The medium finish has a bit of acidity. Overall this is a serviceable Chardonnay, I’m just not a huge fan of Chardonnay. I’ve clearly forgotten a good bit of the vocabulary necessary to review wine but I can still find a sweet deal on a decent bottle!

2007 Pico Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: Pico
Type: Red
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2007
Producer: Zunio
Price: $10.99

This is another of the wines I ordered online with the Groupon. It’s a deep red color, almost purple. It has a nice aroma of blackberry and spice. The flavor isn’t up to par though. Some off flavors and tannins hit you almost immediately, simultaneously with the fruit really. There’s a little fruit at first but it’s an unbalanced wine, with harsh, tannic flavors dominating all the way through the finish. Not recommended.

2008 Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon

Name: Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon
Type: Red
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2008
Producer: Cupcake Vineyards
Price: $9.99

This is the third red wine I’ve tasted from this label and I’ve liked them all. This is the first one I’ve found time to review though. It has a nice deep color and a potent aroma of wood, spice and fruit. The flavor is dry, fruity and tannic. A bit more tannic than I generally like but the overall experience is pleasant. I’ve tried the Merlot and the Syrah as well, I recommend all the Cupcake reds.

 

2009 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc

Name: Starborough
Type: White
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Origin: New Zealand
Year: 2009
Producer: Starborough Vineyards
Price: $12.99

Better chilled than room temp, this Sauvignon Blanc has a potent aroma of cat piss — er, cat urine, pardon my French — that intensifies as the wine warms. That’s an aroma I associate more with Gewurtztraminer and I find it kind of distasteful in an SB which is kind of strange I guess. It’s mixed with an equally strong grapefruit scent which is more characteristic of the varietal. The flavor is crisp and acidic with citrus and grassy notes. I like SB, especially in the summer, but this one strikes me as overpriced due to the compromised nose and simple flavor.