Apothic Dark Wine Review

From Modesto, California, Apothic Dark is a limited release red wine blend from Apothic Wines.  For this review of the 2012 Apothic Dark, tasting assistance was received from a couple close friends who have helped before and have great palates for wines.

According to the Apothic website, the winemaker “Boyd Morrison crafts bold, captivating Apothic blends by using only the most distinctive California grapes.  From vintage to vintage, Boyd lets the character and flavor of the individual varietals guide the shape of each blend.”

Alcohol content of Apothic Dark is 14.1% by volume, per the bottle.

Price of Apothic Dark is about $13.99.

If you are interested in comparisons, check out my reviews of Apothic Red  and Apothic White, also from Apothic Wines.

Apothic Dark Review

apothic darkIn appearance, we saw that the Apothic Dark presents as a very dark deep plum to cranberry color.  Practically no light shines through this wine.  Red reflections were noted in the glass.

When tipping the glass to allow the wine to coat and create legs, the wine leaves a solid reddish coating on the glass.  Legs are slow to form, but once they form there are many.

On the nose, we concurred that the Apothic Dark has two stages of aroma.  The first is an initial whiff of alcohol.  For the second stage, we noted subtle woodsy fruit and a hint of pipe tobacco.

Regarding the wine’s taste we observed mocha, black cherry and a bit of smokiness.

Apothic Dark is a smooth drinking wine with a cottony mouthfeel.  Tannins were felt in the inside upper lip for two of us (men) and on the tongue for one (woman).

The finish is long and lingering, well past a ten count.

After the formal tasting was over, we started pairing this wine with a couple different cheeses in a less formal, social setting.  One of the cheeses was a bold goat cheese with a cranberry and cinnamon covering.  We expected the Apothic Dark to get washed out and “dried out”.  However, that was not the case.  This wine is so bold that it holds up to such strong flavors.

The second cheese was also a goat cheese.  This one had a garlic and herb covering.  This cheese enhanced the sweetness of the Apothic Dark.

Overall, our three opinions were:  “One of my favorite wines”, “a bold enjoyable winter wine” and “enjoyable, but since it is so novel in taste, wouldn’t want to drink over and over again as a house wine.”

That third point is important.  This wine has a very unique taste and it makes sense that Apothic Wines chose to make this a limited release.

Give this wine a try before it goes away!

SPECIAL UPDATE – APRIL 2014:  A lot of people really like this wine and have been asking me when we might see another release of Apothic Dark.

So, I decided to contact Apothic Wines and ask.  I let them know who I was and that a lot of people are interested in this wine.  Below is their response to my email.  Sorry folks…  it doesn’t look good.

“Dear Jon,

Thank you for contacting us regarding Apothic®. We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your inquiry.

Our Apothic® Dark was bottled as a limited edition, seasonal item that we may possibly produce again in future years, but for now, there are no plans to bottle any more.  For further information on our Apothic Wines.  “Like” us on Facebook.

We hope this information is helpful, and let us know if we can be of further assistance.

We know you have many wine and beverage choices, so we thank you for choosing Apothic®.


SPECIAL UPDATE – SEPT 2014:  Several people are reporting seeing Apothic Dark on store shelves again, including in Walmart.  It’s rumored to again be in limited supplies.  See the comments from readers below.

Have you seen it?

Speaking of reviews, check out my review of the California Wine Club, which I joined.  Includes price, Pros and Cons and Pictures of everything I received.


  1. Chris says

    Bought a bottle of the 2012 at my local NEX (Navy Exchange). Was intrigued by the dark characteristics but am by no means a connoisseur. I just like to try new wines. Been drinking one bottle over several days and not yet sure whether I like it or not. I may pick up more 2012 bottles to store based on how popular it is. Definitely has an interesting flavor to it.

  2. John says

    I work at a liquor store in south central Alaska. My vendors have informed me that, due to its high sales and reviews, Apothic Dark will return in roughly October 2015, and will no longer be a seasonal, but a full time release.

  3. Juanillo says

    Hi to all, this will be my first botlle of apothic dark,I got it on sale for about $8.00. In case any one near San Pedro Ca. Interested in this wine can find it in Western Ave.

  4. Luke says

    All of the Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama liquor stores Ive been to in recent years have always had this wine in stock, without fail. It’s my favorite!

  5. Joe says

    Found Apothic Dark on the Oregon Coast last month. Loved it. Bought six bottles to take back to Washington. Found it at local Tacoma Winco, purchased a case.

  6. Tracey Preteau says

    I Live in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada and was excited to see Apothic Dark at a wine store in my area. I had bought a couple of bottles in United States and fell in love with Apothic dark 2012.I was very disappointed. I agree with Anita that it tastes different. I was very disappointed.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Tracey. I was talking to a friend who recently tried this year’s release and he said that the aroma was very non-descript. He also said he liked last year’s Apothic Dark (2012) better than this year’s.

  7. K says

    I was just at Busch Gardens in Tampa Fl last weekend and I was told I was the first person to actually try this wine at their Howl OScream event. It was quite interesting !

  8. Newbie says

    Seen a lot looking for it I just bought it due to Halloween and the liking of the bottle even more happy now that it sounds good and is rare?

    How ever it didnt look rare in the store I like in Reno Nevada area and went to a win co where they had the RED WHITE DARK and a few others stacked up for 8.99. So Im glad it was worth the ten bucks!

    Will be saving this bottle as well If i ever drink it anyways :)

  9. Portia says

    I just bought two bottles in Winchester VA over the weekend and have opened one just now (don’t judge, it’s been a stressful week!) This wine definitely needs to breathe a bit before consuming, but the main impression that comes to mind is “smoky” – lovely and drinkable and round and smoky. Not seeing the legs so much in this one, but this is the wine I imagine old men playing dominoes pouring from their 5 gallon jugs into juice glasses and sipping at all day long.

  10. Susie says

    So disappointed! Taste is bitter and not matured. I am a huge fan of Merlot, Malbec and red blends and this wine taste like a amateur attempt.

  11. Duncan says

    Plenty in stock(for the moment anyway) in S.E. Wisconsin! Woodman’s has it for $7.99 a bottle and if you buy a case they take an additional 10-15% off! That makes it $7.30 – $7.50 a bottle! Whoo hoo! A co-worker and I have already bought a case each and based on this info, we may just go get another one!

  12. Dani says

    I just found it at a local grocery store in Rapid City, SD. All their Apothic wines are on sale for $10 right now. I only bought one bottle, because I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I had it last night with a brown sugar crusted ribeye, and I’ll be going back to buy many more bottles!

  13. Jean says

    Apothic Dark is being offered at SOLO Liquor Stores in Alberta, Canada for $9.95 Can. a bottle this w/e. I hope that there is some left when I get to town!

  14. Anonymous says

    Apothic Dark is being offered at $9.95 Canadian in Solo Liquor stores this week! I hope that there is some left when I get into town! Jean

  15. Nikki says

    Just bought a bottle of this today in at a liquor store in Syracuse, NY for $8.99. .I’ve never tried the Red but I’ve seen it in recent years and had been curious about it and thought I’d try it tonight, but.then saw the Dark. Compared the labels and decided to go with the Dark instead. I asked the cashier if she’d heard anything about it and she told me she hadn’t…always a disappointment! Anyhow, drinking it now and not sure how I feel about it…. I appreciate the bold flavor of this wine and wow, it’s definitely dark! Held my iPhone light up to the glass and not a spec of light came through it! Maybe it just wasn’t what I expected… I’ll have to try to pair it with a nice steak instead of drinking it on it’s own as a night cap!

  16. Anita says

    I loved Apothic Dark limited edition 2012 but just bought and opened the new Apothic Dark 2013. So dissaponted compared to last year’s version. I called customer service at Apothic Wine and asked them if they had changed the recipe?
    She looked it up and low and behold no# 1 – The alcohol content went from the original 14.1% to the present 13.5%.(which I had already noticed) She also found they replaced the Cabernet part of the varietals to a Merlot!! I told her that was crazy and I couldn’t believe they would omit Cabernet from the mix. She tried to pronounce the other 2 varietals, but my main concern was if they truly changed anything!!!!
    I couldn’t believe they would change a thing about a limited edition of a wine that everyone was in love with.
    I don’t know if I will buy anymore.
    Please try some if you dare and let me know what you think.
    I just happened to have ONE bottle left of the 2012 Apothec Dark version to compare.

  17. Shawn says

    Apothic Dark is back! And selling out quickly here in NJ. I’ve seen it in Pine Creek Liquors in Ringoes, Valley Wines in Pennington, and in Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar in Raritan, but it’s going quick!

  18. Martia says

    Just found Apothic Dark in Alexandria, Va. I bought 1 bottle …. Loved it and an about to go back and buy the rest on the shelf…. It says limited edition… :-)

  19. GiGi says

    Apothic Dark is out for a limited time. Just purchased a case from Luekens Liqours in Florida. Shipping is free with a case!

  20. Savannah says

    My local grocery outlet had this wine for $6.99. I loved the design so I just had to have it just for the bottle (and price!) Excited to try it tonight.

  21. Joe H. says

    Hey all,
    In regards to the September 2014 update I just bought a bottle in NJ and they seemed to have plenty in stock.

  22. Jennifer says

    My husband and I found a rather large stash of this wine at our Walmart today in NC. Looks as though they re-released it! definitely going to stock up!

  23. Nikki LeMaster says

    I absolutely fell in love with this wine as well!! Like it much better than the Apothic Red!! I follow Apothic on Instagram and they mentioned(hinted it will be coming soon)….as I read followers comments, I read it will be released in September of this year. A few days later while browsing a liquor store right by my house, the owner and I started chatting about wine and I asked him if he was going to get any Apothic Dark in and he made a quick phone call and did indeed verify that he would be getting it in about a week or so and only one to two cases of it!!!!

    Also, on another note, try Menage a Trois…their midnight blend. I think its fantastic!!



  24. Aimee Lou says

    Thank you for such a great review! Found this particular wine in the clearance section of my local Walmart and based on your review I knew I had to buy it immediately.

    • says

      Hi Joann, thanks for checking out my site! I’m a wine blogger and reviewer, so I don’t actually make or sell wine directly. I’m really just a wine consumer like you…

      Now, with that said, I went ahead and contacted Apothic about Apothic Dark and when it might be released again. Just like you, I want to know too.

      When I get a response back, I’ll update my review so everyone will know when we might expect to be able to buy it again. Cheers!

  25. Dunayer says

    I NEED THIS WINE!! I saw it in the store and said hmmmm this looks interesting. I tried the Red and the White so I just bought one bottle. NOT THINKING IT WOULD BE THE LAST BOTTLE ON THE PLANET!! After my husband and I drank it I read the bottle and noticed “limited release”. I immediately reached out to a friend that works at the liquor store (I’m not an alcoholic. I just have peoples!) and he told me there’s no more and you can’t order it ANYWHERE! After about 20 liquor stores later I finally gave up…….I NEED THIS WINE!!! HELP! :’O(((

  26. Nick says

    “Apothic Dark is a smooth drinking wine with a cottony mouthfeel. Tannins were felt in the inside upper lip for two of us (men) and on the tongue for one (woman).”

    Why the HECK do you think the gender is relevant here? God didn’t give men and women different mouths.

  27. Bethany says

    If you like Apothic Dark and are looking for wines with similar smoky & dark fruit qualities, try Carnivor Cabernet or Dark Horse Cabernet. They are now my go to wines, as I can’t find Apothic Dark in Dallas anymore. Salut!

  28. Joyce says

    We LOVE Apothic Dark! We purchased 2 cases when we realized it would be “hard to get” later. Well, we have one bottle left, and are searching for more! Sent a message to Apothic … let’s see when it will become available in the Charleston area again Can you suggest another wine that is somewhat comparable?

    • says

      Hi Joyce, thanks for the comment! The closest I’ve tasted is Apothic Red. You might also try Cupcake Red Velvet. But, truthfully, Apothic Dark is very unique so keep that in mind. Good luck… I hope they get back to you with some positive news!

  29. Leighton Abbott says

    Fantastic wine. No longer available in Virginia. Found it in Florida and bought two cases. Please let me know when it will be available in Virginia.

  30. Crystal Sage says

    I absolutely love this wine. I also Love Apothic Red. I just can’t find the Dark out here. I live in Oceanside, Ca and I bought it in my neighborhood liquor store and he can’t get it either :-( it was a trial run for his store…

    Crystal Sage

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Crystal. Apothic Dark is getting harder to find just about everywhere. I bought the last couple bottles at my local store and the people that helped me with the review just ran out and got the last three bottles at their local store. I’m hoping they release more in the future. Cheers!

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