Home Wine Regions Californian Wine Apothic Dark – Really, Really Dark!

Apothic Dark

Apothic Red seems to be one of the most popular bargain wines out there.  I constantly hear people rave over it.  And so, the Apothic brand has been capitalizing on their success and expanding their line.

Apothic Dark is a special, seasonal release only available for a short time.  Based on the label, one has to assume that Halloween is the season they’re targeting.  There’s been a Halloween wine trend growing over the past few years.  I wrote about another Halloween wine just a few weeks ago.

The label of this wine certainly sets the mood to goth. And in a way it conjures up thoughts of a Halloween store in a strip mall or perhaps a tattoo shop. There are things I love about the label, but at the same time it seems rather cliché. For what it is, they did a great job.  Even when you cut the foil and get to the cork the dark theme continues with a black cork. Well played, Apothic.

The wine itself is dark… really, really dark, with heavy legs that cling to the glass. Intense chocolate, blueberry, blackberry and cedar aromas give this wine a powerful bouquet. It’s exotically spicy too. On the palate it’s rich, with jammy blackberry, blueberry, plum and chocolate flavors. And when I say it’s jammy, I mean it’s like a spoon full of jam.  There’s nothing subtle about the flavors, they are rich.  And the mouthfeel has a rich, velvety texture too.  It is absolutely over the top.  The winemakers clearly crafted this wine for richness.  It’s a bit gaudy, but it’s fun.  It’s not a refined, elegant wine, but I have a feeling a lot of people will love it.  And while it’s not totally my cup of tea, I enjoyed it too.

Wine: Apothic Dark
Variety: Red blend
Vintage: 2013
Alcohol: 13.5%
Rating: 86
Price: $14.00
Disclosure: This wine was received as a sample.

Find Apothic Dark with Snooth

Review overview
Overall impressions
Tim is the founder and chief reviewer at Cheap Wine Ratings since 2007.
22 replies to this post
  1. How does one rate this wine a 4-5 in every category and then give it a 3 for balance…. then an over 4.3? As this is my first read of yours… I think you stopped me from reading more. I have had the Apothic wines and found them to lack acidity and balance and is very common with a lot of cheaper wines. I would be hard pressed to believe that this is one of the best that you have had as a rating over 4 should indicate.

  2. Hmmm… you sound rather hostile about this. Perhaps you should have a glass of wine and relax.

  3. Hi Tim,
    Just found a link to your blog from… another blog 🙂 and enjoying reading your ratings. Lana and I like the Apothic Red as an everyday wine, and generally like “big” wines too, so we’ll look for this one on the next trip to the wine store.

    I’ve been running some articles on our site about “wine that cellars well” with an aim toward up and coming collectors – in other words, not investors or people with a lot to spend on wine, but people who might like to start seeing how some wines improve with age. I’ve been surprised, but there are quite a few under $25 bottles if you know what to look for. I’ll be looking around your site for ideas! (and of course give you credit or ask your OK first if I find some that we could recommend).


  4. Hey Rowland. Thanks for the comments.

    I’m one of those collectors who doesn’t want to spend a fortune, but likes to collect a few things for later. You’re right, there are a number of wines that age well and are still affordable.

  5. Tim Lemke’s description of the wine Apothic Dark is very accurate and why I fell for it – it has everything I look for in my libations be they beer, wine or alcohol – something bold, rich and you can almost chew on in a delightful way – your taste buds will enjoy themselves. If this what it means to be unrefined then I’m fine with the lack of pretension.

  6. I haven’t had a wine I loved as much as the Apothic dark. Now that it’s not available what would you recommend that’s the same as this one? Please share!

  7. I don’t know the percentages, but it’s a blend of petite sirah, teroldego and cabernet sauvignon. That’s for the 2013 vintage. I don’t know if they use the same grapes for every vintage.

  8. For me this is what I want in a wine. Great smell, full flavor, and just a sip to receive all the good. Super with food and also by it self. Very, very nice.

  9. Nice! My previous favorite red was Carnivore Cabernet but now I have a new favorite. I do like dark, dense reds. I love the way they taste, and as a health nut I’m delighted by the thought that more pigment means more nutrients and phytochemicals. You can hold a glass up to the light and it’s completely opaque! Impressive!

  10. I just tried this wine and I thought it was horrible. The smell and the taste is what I would compare to rotten hamburger meat. It does have a nice color, but I would never purchase it again.

  11. Hey Michelle. Thanks for your comment. I haven’t had the latest vintage, but that doesn’t sound good.

  12. If you like having allergic reactions to additives and sugar, this is for you. We flushed down sink drain and are all recovering from wheezing and headaches.

  13. It’s intensely rich, dark, and deliciously different! Is it really seasonal? PA Wine & Spirits has it on sale for $9.99, anywhere in Pennsylvania, through April 30, 2017. I love that one glass ‘fills’ my wine senses up! Going out tomorrow to buy a few bottles to share! Paired well with beef last night, and was superb on its own tonight!

  14. Hi Karen. Thanks for your comments. It may no longer be a seasonal wine. It was when it was first released, but if you’re seeing it on shelves this time of year that may have changed.

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