Today’s Wine Review

In an effort to eat healthier, I bought a package of ground chicken at the store. I compared it against the hamburger I usually buy that is 93% lean and found the chicken to be 99% lean, so I thought that I would give it a shot. Of course as I turned around to put it in the cart, Mitch looked at me in horror and asked what I planned to do with “that” as he put it. I said that I thought I would make a pot of chili with it, just like I make it with beef only use chicken. I wanted to see how it would taste. By the look on his face, you would have thought I was buying leaches to bleed him with. So I decided to invite our friends over to try it out with us. I figured if it turned out really nasty, then I would order pizzas. I made the chili just like I make hamburger chili, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, peppers and lots of chili powder. It turned out pretty good, so good that it was all gone by the end of dinner. Mitch isn’t a convert yet, but I’m working on it.

To go along with the chicken chili experiment, our friends brought over a bottle of McManis Family Vineyards Syrah, 2011. The McManis Vineyards are a California vineyard that makes a variety of different wines. You can find them at The Syrah had a smoky aroma with dark fruit taste. It was spicy and tart. The wine went great with the chili, a nice accompaniment. I haven’t had too many Syrahs, mainly because when I first started drinking wine, I preferred the lighter reds, like Beaujolais, but now I’m making the effort to widen my tasting range. This was a nice Syrah and I will definitely be on the lookout for more to try.


Today’s Wine Review

The bulk of the wines I taste are priced between $10 and $20 dollars, not because I don’t want to taste pricier wines, but because the mortgage company, gas and electric company all have a strong opinion on what they want me to spend on wine. Selfish utilities.

I do splurge occasionally on pricier wines, when we are at a tasting and get to try it before you buy it, always makes it easier to stomach the higher price. Or if a label and the write up on the back of the bottle sounds especially intriguing I might buy the bottle. I’m a big sucker for the label, but then aren’t a lot of people out there? That’s why graphic designers make the big bucks.

There is a winery that we routinely buy and love, Apothic, very budget friendly and oh so drinkable. The wines normally sell for around $9.99 but we will catch them on sell for as low as $7.99 a bottle, stock up time for sure. You can find them at or on Facebook. The winery is based out of Modesto, California and everything I’ve tasted from them has been a blend. The wines that I’ve tasted are Apothic Red, Apothic White, Apothic Rosé and their latest release, Apothic Dark.

The first wine we came across was Apothic Red 2010, Winemakers Blend. A blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon is not too high in alcohol, 13.1%, goes down very smooth. This is only bottle I don’t currently have in my cellar, modest though it is I do have one, sadly we drank all of the bottles of Apothic Red. (I see a shopping trip in my future). I can taste the burn of the alcohol but it doesn’t overwhelm everything else. It’s not as jammy as a big Zin, but you can tell that Zinfandel is part of the blend. The Syrah comes out in the smoky smell and the Cabernet Sauvignon gives the big red bite to balance it out. It goes really good with grilled meats like steak or a marinated grilled chuck roast. All of which I might are always rare. Is there any other way to eat steak?

The second Apothic wine we discovered was Apothic White 2011, Winemakers Blend. A blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato with an alcohol content of 12.0% has a slight sweet taste. The Chardonnay takes a back seat to the fruit forward taste of the Riesling. The Moscato keeps the blend light and a little sweet finish, making this a superb wine that complements spicy food like chicken fajitas or hot peppery shrimp. It is still a full bodied wine, the Chardonnay brings that to the table that makes this a very drinkable white wine.

Apothic Rosé 2012, Limited Release, First Cut, came out early this summer just in time for cooking outside or just hanging out with friends. The Rosé is a blend of undisclosed grapes, top secret stuff, so I can’t tell you what it’s made of, but it is one of the nicest Rosé’s I have ever tasted. It’s not too sweet very fruit forward and crisp. The wine has an alcohol content of 13% so it’s not grape juice, but it’s one of my favorite wines to drink with the lighter dishes I fix in the summer, salads and grilled chicken. Especially when I add crushed red pepper to the chicken. Or if you prefer, you can just sit around with friends or by yourself and sip away.

The latest release, Apothic Dark 2012, Limited Release, came out just in time for Halloween. It is one of my new favorites. Apothic Dark has an alcohol content of 14.1% higher than the others, still a blend and oh baby what a blend. It is another blend that the grapes used are undisclosed on the bottle, but when you open it and pour it in a decanter the first thing you see is how dark purple the wine is. Pour it in a glass and stuff your nose deep in to catch the bouquet and you smell the full body smoky aroma of a Syrah. Swirl it around and take a sip, that’s when the big jammy Zinfandel flavors fill your mouth. Hold the glass to the light and you see just how dark it really is. True to its’ name, so dark and rich. This wine goes really good with beef, roasts and steak again or a really good pot roast and crusty bread. Imagine sitting in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace snuggling up with your honey and holding a big glass of this wine. Bad things are gonna happen, good bad things.