Thanks to its juicy presentation, its sweet taste and its blend of zinfandel, merlot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon, Apothic Red has gained something of a cult following among wine enthusiasts. It just tastes like you imagine wine is supposed to taste.
So, if you too have been caught up in the craze for Apothic’s red blend, here is a list of a few similar bottles to try (and what to expect in each one).
1. 19 Crimes
Almost as famous as Apothic’s offering, 19 Crimes brings in the best of wine maker traditions: storytelling.
While you pour yourself a glass of this blend, which will have excellent blackberry notes and medium tannins, make sure that you download the 19 Crimes app.
While in the app, your phone camera will activate and upon scanning the bottle will present the life of crime and punishment of the resident villain on the bottle.
2. Witching Hour
Witching Hour is another red blend which mixes some of the best traditions of California’s vineyards. Combining Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir, it accomplishes what will be one of the bolder flavor profiles on this list.
It is common to taste vanilla, cherry, black plums, and a very light hint of chocolate. The tannins are grainy and entertaining.
It's available at a similar price point to Apothic Red, so you can easily try out a bottle next time you cook a fresh weeknight meal and are looking for a nice red to go with it.
3. A3 California Red Blend
This blend comes from the same vineyard that has offered its own culturally rising offering of Ménage a Trois. While the ménage has a much harder acidic presentation than this blend, the same tradition of sweetness over legs is what led to its tongue-in-cheek name.
A3 comes with spicy oak notes, and sweet fruit. The tannins are almost perfect glass to glass for the experience you want—and as a less recognized table red blend, you might just introduce your guests to a new wine they haven't tried before.
Try it soon if you want to be an early adopter though—A3 is sure to grow in popularity as it is discovered among budding connoisseurs!
4. Crimson Thread
No list of great wines would be complete without something from the E&J Gallo family. Owned and operated by the same family since its inception in 1933, E&J jumped easily into the blend trend.
Blended with their signature Cabernet, Merlot, and Zinfandel, Crimson Thread delivers vanilla, brown sugar, dark cherry, and a hint of blackberry in glasses filled with this blend.
This is a versatile wine that goes with a wide variety of dishes and can be enjoyed by wine novices and experts alike. It has a smooth mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish that will keep you coming back for another glass.
5. Ancient Roots California Red Blend
One of the only wines on this list to include Malbec, Ancient Roots brings experience of vineyard, winery, and family to bring a unique bottle to the red blend game.
Not just a catchy name, Ancient Roots uses long established vines to bring a much more aggressive flavor to the table with espresso and dark cherry notes.
The Malbec blends with Cabernet for a unique experience with medium tannins.
6. Big Six Bourbon Barrel Red Blend
The second most expensive bottle on this list, Big Six Bourbon Barrel Red Blend is by far the most unique.
This wine is aged in barrels previously used for bourbon distillation for six months before bottling, allowing an incredible flavor portrait of both sweet fruits, as well as spicy oaks.
The blended wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, contribute their signature cherry flavors, while the bourbon barrel process regulates the tannins to a lower to medium tannin.
Big Six also uses a process for filtration to qualify the wine as a vegan-friendly product.
7. The Prisoner Napa Valley Blend
Stories sell wines. This is no different for The Prisoner, except unlike its nominal sibling 19 Crimes, The Prisoner’s story cannot be heard via a phone app: it is instead simply the story of a wine that blew up in popularity so quickly that it sold out twice in ten years.
The Prisoner can best be described as a kitchen sink blend, throwing together an expert pairing of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Charbono (the only bottle on this list that can afford such a luxury).
Its creationscent profile calls to ripe cherries and cedar wood while its flavors bring oak and vanilla. Ripe figs and blackcurrant finish the flavors with a delightfully soft tannin.
At an average price of $39 per bottle, this wine is the upper end of the price range for this article, but in my opinion it is worth every penny.
8. Melodramatic Red Blend
Sometimes the bottle you bring is almost as important as what is inside. With so many new wine enthusiasts, there are sure to be new wineries attempting to make a name for themselves in an already crowded field.
Melodramatic brings to all of its bottles an art style that calls back to the times when vineyards became continuous family businesses and specific families did better than others.
With circus-like art on the bottle, it’s less blush-worthy than a bottle of Ménage (see: when you're looking for a bottle to take to a dinner party) and more accessible. The flavor profile majors on sweet cherries and dark wild berries. If you are careful, you can also detect black pepper.
9. Vinestone California Sweet Red
Vinestone’s Sweet Red blend is a fun wine to finish out this list, considering that it is also a great wine to finish out a meal. Without a doubt, it is the sweetest wine on this list and therefore a perfect dessert wine.
The tannins are playful with both cherry and peach flavors, which go perfectly with the sugary and juicy glass you sip with your chocolate cake at the end of the night.
Some, new to the wine scene, have also sworn to everything they love that Vinestone pairs well will spicy takeout food—I'll leave you to experiment on that one!
The end of the bottle
Apothic, which has gone on to launch several other blends thanks to the massive success of their red label, kicked off a sensation of red wine lovers the world over—and with good reason. But there comes a time when you're ready to branch out and try something new.
The fun in exploring wines is that there is always a new favorite just waiting on the shelf for you to try. These are a few of my favorite red blends, mostly from California (but with one sneaky addition from down under). What's more, most of them are supremely affordable.
If you are looking for a blended red experience like that found with Apothic Red, I hope you find it in this list!