Apothic: Bold, approachable flavors marry with soft texture

apothicAPOTHIC: The wines are right under your nose at the supermarket. Give them a try if you like dramatic flavors and velvet-like texture. The wines are approachable for inexperienced palates but still intriguing for those more knowledgeable. E.&J. Gallo created this brand — no doubt relying on its famous lab in Modesto to come up with the style and flavor maker. Flavor maker? In the case of Apothic’s new Inferno, a limited release on shelves now, the not-so-secret step is the aging in whiskey barrels. Wow. It adds a bold new dimension to a red wine blend.

Apothic Inferno California 2014, $16.99: This dark monster is an explosion of dark berry fruit, cherry, plum and spice on the nose. In the mouth, you pick up the smoke and brown baking spices from the whiskey barrels and a sweetness similar to port wine. Alcohol is 15.9 percent.  It’s a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir aged for three to six months in various kinds of oak and then 61 days in whiskey barrels. Texture is soft, tannins are well-integrated. It not only has staying power once you open the bottle, but just a splash will perk up any meats and sauces you are cooking. Try sipping it with a soft French cheese. It’s a limited release.

Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend California 2014, $13.99: Rich, decadent, lush. The blend of flavors is bold and inviting. It brings a truckload of dark berry-cherry fruit, dark plum, brown spices, toffee and a texture like velvet. It’s a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Apothic White Winemaker’s Blend California 2015, $13.99: A blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio, this wine doesn’t know if it wants to be sweet or dry, which means it’s going to please a wide range of guests. The Chardonnay gives it structure along with the typical flavors of apple and pear; the Riesling provides the sweetness and floral notes; the Pinot Grigio adds lime and the green herbal character. It’s crisp and refreshing with a kiss of sweetness.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.