Apothic Red Wine Review

Apothic Red 2020

Apothic Red comes from the Apothic wine brand in Modesto, California, USA.

Per the winemaker’s notes, Apothic Red is a blend of California grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel.

The notes also suggest that Zinfandel is the main varietal of the blend and they go on to say that the wine is aged in oak.

Apothic Red Video Review

My Second Time Reviewing This Wine

This review is actually an update to my previous review of this wine.

Previously, I reviewed the 2010 vintage and later on in this review you’ll find my thoughts as to how the 2010 and the 2020 compared. You’ll also see what the bottle looked like back in 2010, though you’ll see they are very similar.

I made it a point not to look at my review of the 2010 before tasting the 2020 so that I’d be going into my new review with a fresh perspective.

Now let’s get to my review of the 2020 vintage of Apothic Red.

Apothic Red Review

From the bottle:

Inspired by the Apotheca, a mysterious place where some of the earliest wine was blended and stored, Apothic Red is a bold red blend crafted with intrigue.

Apothic Red Bottle Label


In the glass, this wine is very dark and garnet in color, which is not surprising given the varietals that make up the blend.

It’s also fairly leggy. I kind of expected this from the last time I reviewed this wine. It was quite sweet indicating substantial sugar levels and that tends to result in a leggy wine.


On the nose, this wine is a bit complex.

I noted hints of butterscotch, cherry and a bit of eucalyptus. I soon found out that the wine’s sweet aroma would be leading to sweet flavors as well.

The aroma itself was enjoyable, though I’m still not sure if the eucalyptus note was due to the wine’s alcohol content or if was just what I would call “baked into the wine.”

Apothic Red alcohol content 13.5% per the bottle label.


My initial and ongoing thought to this wine’s taste was “really sweet.”

Chocolate, black cherry and vanilla were the predominant flavors.

The wine’s nose certainly foreshadowed this and the vanilla was likely due to the wine’s oak aging.

I enjoyed the wine’s taste. Now, some may find this wine to be too sweet, but I expected the wine to be sweet going into the tasting.

And as sweeter wines go, I find Apothic Red to be one of the ones I enjoy.

Mouthfeel and Tannins

The wine’s mouthfeel was quite milky. It’s texture (not its taste) reminded me of almond milk.

In terms of tannins, they were barely there. That’s neither good nor bad, but probably to be expected with such a sweet wine.


The wine’s finish was enjoyable, quite long and dominated by its flavors.

Given the lack of tannins, that wasn’t a surprise.

Overall Opinion of Apothic Red

Overall, I enjoyed Apothic Red 2020. I also found it to be similar in aroma, flavor and price to the 2010.

As mentioned above, I expected it to be sweet and I did enjoy both the rich aroma and rich taste.

If you prefer a sweeter red wine, Apothic Red is probably a wine you’ll like.

If you don’t like red blends on the sweet side, then this one might not be for you.

Apothic Red price $9.99.  Still the same price point from 10 years ago!

For comparison purposes, check out my reviews of Apothic Inferno, Apothic Crush, Apothic Dark and Apothic White from the same winemaker.

And if you like Rose, here’s my review of that wine:  Apothic Rose Wine Review

Ever consider a coffee infused red blend?  Here my review of that one:  Apothic Brew Wine Review

Previous Review of Apothic Red 2010

Apothic Red 2010

As mentioned, I previously reviewed the 2010 vintage of this wine, pictured above.

For that tasting I had help from my friend, Miss Jonelle, who did a great job helping out with that review.

Given that, here’s a summary of what we found back then.

Apothic Red 2010 Review

  • To start, the cork was soft but in good shape.
  • Dark in the glass, Apothic Red demonstrated slow falling fat legs that looked like fingers.  This gave us our first indication of its richness.
  • We both noticed a good hint of alcohol in the aroma, 13.1% according to the wine maker.
  • The enjoyable nose was of dark, jam like fruit with perhaps a hint of licorice.
  • Flavors included red fruits, black cherry and butter.
  • A long-lasting and tasty finish that we called “wicked smooth!”

Have you tried Apothic Red?

Join in on the comments below and tell us what you think!


  1. We had a bottle recently of Apothic Red and it was pretty terrible. Not sure what happened as we’ve never had a bad bottle from them. It did taste like they were incorporating some “smoked” grapes from the California wildfires into the blend, and it really ruins it. Would not recommend until they fix it.

  2. So, I was googling what type of people drink Apothic Red on the regular, (you’re my people) and as I read through the article, I scrolled past an advertisement for this wine. The wine is for sale at the low price of $9.99 – huh? I love Apothic Red – Hi, my name is Sweet Tooth. Anyways, my only thought was, “Where the heck do you buy this for $9.99?” I pay over $20.00!

    Nice review!

    1. Glad you enjoyed my review, Steph!

      I think most of the bigger wine shops in the US carry Apothic Red for around $10.

      Maybe pricing is different where you’re located? Not sure.

  3. I usually tend to steer away from red blends, but for some reason this wine’s description intrigued me enough to try it. I was not disappointed in the least. It may seem odd, but I used a snifter when drinking this wine, and found that when taken very slowly, I found all of the flavours in the profile, and some more complex variants on them the more I let it linger.

    While I am not as well versed in wine tasting as many others, I can say that I appreciated the smoothness of the wine at the outset, and the more I let it rest on my tongue, the more I appreciated it. It got more complex and felt velvety as I slowly swallowed (if that makes sense). This has become my go-to house wine when I need a good versatile red to compliment, well, just about anything that I eat.

    As odd and perhaps sacrilegious as it may seem, it went just as well with a good (like Chicago deep dish good) pizza, as well as with a light spinach and arugula salad with crumbled gorgonzola and a raspberry balsamic dressing. I enjoyed it with lighter beefy soups as well, though I think a good Cab would have gone better with them, but this stood up to them.

    I will definitely keep this wine in my stock as much as possible. I just purchased a bottle of 2019 Crush that I am going to try soon, and I am eagerly looking forward to it.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write such a well thought out comment, Kim… Much appreciated!

      Sounds to me like you ARE pretty versed in wine tasting.

      Cool idea using a snifter for tasting, too. I may have to try that myself.

      Many of the fancy Reidel wine glasses are actually designed to focus a wine’s aromas up to the nose, much like a snifter does. So, you’re definitely onto something there!

      Thanks for sharing your pairing suggestions. I’m with you on red blends and pizza… A great combo!


  4. I love, love apothic red. I tried the apothic merlot and gotta tell you it ain’t bad. I don’t know what those people who dislike apothic are talking about.

  5. Hello Jon, This is one that I think will blow most people’s mind. About 2 weeks ago I contacted Apothic Red’s Company A.K.A. ( Consumer Engagement Department). I told them how much we enjoyed the wine and offered to send them pictures of 257 Apothic Red Corkscrews that were purchased in the last 12 months or so. I also explained to them that we have told and shared with over 200 of our friends and work associates about this wine. I asked the phone Representative” Raul A.” if it was possible for Apothic Red Wine company to send us some coupons for being such loyal customers. He sent me two 50 cent pocket flashlights.
    Of course, they have lost a loyal customer. Because of the lack of appreciation from them, I will send this story to every local & national news channel, Facebook, Instagram , Twitter and anyone else that will listen with all pictures.

  6. As I write this I’m drinking the 2014 Apothic Red Blend. The first sip hits you pretty hard……..wow, that’s rich. Too many flavors to describe! It felt almost dessert-ish. I love a treat ♥ What a mix this is……I feel the sweetness first…………..OK by me. It’s like a flavor explosion, honestly..not too many wines strike me that way. And, it’s smooth. and dark. I made my own wines for years, and if one of mine had tasted like this, all I can say is I’d be packaging ASAP as gifts to my favorite people. ♥♥

    I’m going back for a case. Thanks Kappy’s!

  7. My go to wine has always been skinny girl california red. Wanted to try something new and the bottle caught my eye…tastes like cough syrup. Still have the full bottle minus a glass.

  8. I recently received a bottle of Apothic Red as a gift. I was wondering if this wine is preferred chilled or at room temperature?

    1. Thanks for commenting Lisa!

      The good news is, it’s totally up to you. Maybe try both?

      I prefer my reds at temperatures in the 60’s F. but that’s just me. I find that when reds are chilled, their flavors don’t reveal themselves to my personal palate.

      Maybe other people will chime in with what they prefer…

      1. I prefer Reds in the mid 50’s and set my wine cooler to 57F. I do think Apothic is best chilled. As it warms to room temperature it also gets exposed to air, which doesn’t really change Apothic’s profile, but finer wines, to me at least it makes a huge difference to let them sit. I aerate my reds on each pour, but must admit I’ve never let Apothic sit in a carafe, will give it a try.

    2. Not much of an expert I wines as of yet, but I’ve taken the advice that sweeter reds tend to be boozy and room temperature but acidic when too cold. In this case, I’ll be trying it with a couple hours of fridge time and trying it at different temps over time to see where I like it.

  9. I am a dry red drinker so for me this is possibly the worst tasting wine I have ever tried. I would not pay $2 for it at the LCBO.

  10. I love this wine. I don’t consider myself a wine connoisseur, but I know what I like. I don’t like dry wines. This wine is so smooth you have to be careful as it goes down easy. I’m sure other fans of this wine will agree. I find this wine to be similar to Primal Roots. Everyone has their preference, but Apothic is a great wine that should appeal to a broad spectrum of red wine aficionados.

  11. I discovered this wine over the Christmas holidays and this is my new flavor!! I love it and encourage my friends to try it, many who agree with me!! Some say it’s sweet, some say its bold, some say it’s a bit bitter/tart. I think I may taste each of these, but they blend well, for me!! It’s refreshing, tasty and silky smooth. I’m disappointed when I go to purchase and either the shelf is empty or the store don’t carry. So, I made it a point to go to Sam’s Wholesale at least once a month to stock up! Wish they gave a discount for multi-bottle purchases though. Very delicious and I’m a fan!! Thank you!!

  12. Well, let me talk about sweetness and Apothic Red. You see, I’m a punch to the palette Cabernet kind of guy. The sweet white dessert wines couldn’t be fashioned to be less favorable than they are. That said, Apothic Red educated me. It is possible to be a bit sweet and still knock your socks off. The blend is just perfect – enough of a base with Cabernet to convince you of its substance but this sweet forward taste to encourage a second glass. Really, the sweetness complaints are over blown in my opinion – the balance is just right, and this coming from someone who abhors sweet wines. Thank you Apothic for making a wine I look forward to the second glass both in my mouth and my wallet. I’m buying a case.

  13. This is my favorite wine! I drink it a lot and when I have to have something else or to try to mix things up I’m disappointed. Away on business I was with a woman who was working for me and after work we were going to get a bottle of wine and relax – I told her Apothic Red is the only wine I drink anymore and to my surprise she said she was the same way! She said she and all her friends are hooked on it. Its just a really, really good red wine.

  14. Just read your review of Apothic Dark. It has just arrived here in Calgary, Alberta Canada. On Sale in Alberta at Sobeys Liquor store for $10.99. Looking forward to tying this as Apothic Red is one of my favourites

  15. I did not like this wine. I am a person who does not like alcohol. I want a wine that taste more fruity and less alcohol.

  16. Apothic Red is my family’s go-to for drinking, dinners, and gifts. We love how ultra smooth it is, and that dark fruit taste. We do agree that it needs at least an hour or two to rest decanted, this seems to change the flavor completely. We have gotten bottles for as low as $8.99, and we typically keep at least two on hand at all times. Love it!

    1. Thanks for the comment! Keep an eye out for Apothic Dark around the holidays. It’s very limited but everyone I’ve talked to loves it when they can find it. It’s even smoother and darker. Cheers!

  17. Love the apothic, prefer blends overall and am a big old vine red zin fan but not many are so what I like about apothic is I can open a bottle of this and everyone will drink it happily and still gives me my zin fix. Here in Calgary, Alberta Canada I can pick it up on sale for $9.99 which is a great price point for such a great wine

    1. Thanks for the comment Rick. I like your point about serving Apothic as a wine everyone will drink. Same goes at my house, or when I bring a bottle to someone else’s. Cheers!

  18. I happened to try Apothic Red nearly 6 months ago when I hosted an evening with friends. It is hands down one of the best red wines I have ever had!!! I absolutely love this wine and truly enjoy every sip. I am simply blown away by the negative comments here about it. Someone mentioned in an anonymous post that there are 2 kinds of wine drinkers, those who enjoy a sweet red and those who enjoy a dry red… This is definitely on the sweeter side. LOVE IT!!! It is priced at $15.95 here in Windsor, Ontario (Canada) I happened to try a similar tasting wine this evening, Yellow Tail Big Bold Red ($13.95 price point), very tasty s well… Thanks for posting the review! Cheers!

  19. I have never been much a wine person, however needed a bottle of wine for dinner tonight and a customer at a local store directed me to this wine and said I couldnt go wrong. Not only did I enjoy it, but each of my guests commented on how good the wine was. it was excellant.

  20. You can’t make everyone happy …There are two kinds of wine people, the kind that like sweet red wine and the kind that like dry. If you don’t like a wine that tastes even a little sweet then this one is not for you. If you are a person who loves sweet wine then this one is the best one you will ever taste, period, end of sentence, full stop. Drink your dry mouth puckering red wine. It just leaves more for us!!!!

    1. Too late on the warning, I am afraid. A huge disappointment, reminiscent of over sugared cherries, with distinct chocolate tones. Serve it over ice cream, but not a serious offering for those who like good reds.

  21. I agree – wicked smooth is an accurate description. I thought I had settled on a Gnarly Head red blend as my favorite, I picked up Apothic because it was pretty and I like to try new things at this price point ($11.99 in my neck of the woods) – I was surprised at the drink-ability, and it immediately became my favorite.

  22. Is that vanilla?! I thought it was tobacco! I’m not a fan of vanilla, but I do love this wine. I am sipping it now as I read this. Just had to see what others thought as I enjoyed my third glass. Thanks for your review. (ps – here in Canada we’re paying about $15 per bottle.)

  23. Read your review, tried it tonight and found it delightfully pleasant, especially for the price. Thanks for your review, Jon.

  24. I agree with Amy. I too love full bodied wine, but this wine did not appeal to me at all. I have not been able to put my finger on what is off-putting about the taste. Perhaps it is the overtones of vanilla? The sweetness? Not exactly sure. I do agree with others that the body, aroma and color are great.

  25. Amy, great assessment . I’m not picky but the cloying sweetness was too much for me. Better wines (less sweet) at similar price points.

  26. I was introduced to this wine from my sister. I have to say that I was very impressed with Apothic Reds smoothness and cherry notes. I will now enjoy this new blend as it is impressionable on the diverse notes
    and also easy on the budget. Thank you for a wine that is amazing and affordable.

    1. my name is vicky and i absolutely love this wine and the flavors are very present in the body of the wine. There is no lingering aftertaste from my experience.

  27. Hi Jon,
    I absolutely love this wine. Apothic Red has become my everday drinking wine either by itself or with meals. It goes great with barbeque. I cannot get over the wines quality in flavor, body ,aroma, and color at such a reasonable price. I have purchased this wine for as low as $6.99 a bottle on sale from Bottle Bargains with an average price of $9.99. To all of Jon’s readers : Do not let the price fool you, this is a quality wine at a very reasonable price that you would be confident serving to your friends and family. I typically prefer Cabernet, Syrah, Red Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir and have found this blend to be quite delicious. Enjoy with a few good friends. Mike

    1. I must agree, I like the Apothic red and the dark. great with Steaks or Salmon. I buy at Walmart, Usually under $9.00 a bottle . I wish Costco would pick it up as a bargain blend.

  28. Hi… I love a full-bodied wine, am accustomed to oak and I’m not anti-blend. In the glass this wine is beautiful and I liked the alcohol in the nose. That said, I SO disliked this wine, and the very similar Cupcake Red Velvet (even worse, IMO), that I’m becoming afraid to buy any blend I haven’t tried before. That sweet, up-front vanilla (perhaps not the best description but it’s as close as I can get) on the palate is so off-putting to me, so how do I know what NOT to buy in the future? It seems impractical to stay away from all oaked reds, so are there descriptive terms I should watch out for? This is an honest question and I would really appreciate any insight. TIA!

    1. Hi Amy… I think your description is pretty good, actually. Both Apothic Red and Cupcake Red Velvet have Zinfandel in their blend. So, check the back of the bottle for the blend before you buy. Also, look for terms like “black cherry”, “jammy”, “fruit forward”, etc. You mentioned “vanilla”, that’s another one to watch for. Look for anything that might hint as to how sweet the wine might taste. It’s not foolproof, however. I’ve often tasted a wine and wrote down what I tasted. Then, looked at the bottle or the wine’s official tasting notes on their web site and disagreed with their descriptions.

      Another thing I’ve noticed is that the sweeter blends seem to come from, and be marketed to, the U.S. I was recently talking to a package store owner and he was telling me that the sweeter blends are what’s selling best these days, so we may see more come down the pike.

      A different “blend” that’s not sweet at all (or at least not in my opinion) are the Super Tuscans from Italy. The base of those blends is usually Sangiovese. You may want to try one for the sake of comparison. Hope that helps a little… Cheers!

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