A red you bring home to Mom

5 May

My mom hates is scared of red wine. In fact, a lot of people I know are. I hear the reasons all the time: It gives me a headache/rash/other weird physical thingie. I don’t like a challenge. I only like Chardonnay, because I’m unadventurous. Or I’m so scared about how to pair things with food, I just don’t want to think about it.

So here’s an anecdote about the power of social media: I was in my neighborhood “wine store” (quotes because I find it lacking in a lot of ways) because I was too lazy to get in the car and drive to a decent wine store to pick up my assignment for my tasting group when I came across Apothic Red, which I first became familiar with because they started following me on Twitter. So, as a polite Tweet-type, I followed them back. And here they were, smack in my hood. So of course, I had to try it. Yay, power of social media!

Apothic Red 2009 is a blend of California Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel–all fairly friendly wines. The name comes from some ‘mysterious” alleged dark ages “apotheca” where wine was stored by monks, alchemists and warlocks or whatever. That sounded like the marketing wizards in full force, but I digress.

The irony is that there’s nothing mysterious about this wine.

When you know enough about wine to a) spout your gob off without much b) a pain in the ass to undereducated wine store clerks c) sought out by your friends for recommendations, you kind of want your fermented grape juice to be a challenge. A little bit of a puzzle or challenge. Something you can tussle with. Something that’s going to stay on your mind. Kind of like dating. For me, Apothic Red was a pleasant enough encounter, but I wasn’t going to call it again.

Wine is supposed to develop and evolve from when it hits your lips to when it goes down your throat. This one didn’t. Sure, it was chockablock of cherry, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla. Things I like. And what do those things make really well? Candy. This was definitely a candy wine: easy to consume in mass quantities. It’s off-dry (which means there’s sweetness without wielding soda-level sucrosity <–no, I don't think that's a real word) and there are next to no tannins. It's a one-note wine. This is not a wine that tells of the struggle of some idealistic, dedicated vintner who works the land out of love and a little madness. You can imagine this wine has been focused-grouped and manipulated to appeal to as few objections about red as possible.

And that’s okay. And if that's your kink, that's cool. Here's one for your shopping list. You could serve this at a party and pretty much with a lot of things for dinner and mix up some decent sangria with the leftovers. It won't offend anyone.

Ironically enough, I think my mom might like it, precisely because it's not challenging. So maybe I will be bringing it home to her.


$12 from a place I’m not gonna name because while the store is nothing special, the people are nice–one of them going so far as to offer to bootleg me a copy of his MC5 documentary. Also available, according to Apothic’s website, at Blanchard’s Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, The Urban Grape, Bauer Wines, Huntington Liquors, Reservoir Wines, Marty’s Newton, Ball Square, Gordon’s, Liquor Land, Martignetti’s and a gazillion other places.

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