‘Tis the season of darkness and mystery, when the air turns chill and the days grow dark, leaving more time to curl up next to warm fire with a glass of wine. This is the season for rich, dark reds with complex flavors. Apothic Dark, a red blend from Modesto, California’s Apothic Winery suits the mood of the season.
It pours dark, a deep inky glass with just a hint of translucent purple around the edge. The nose opens with a blast of sweet grape — an almost jammy aroma that, frankly, left me prepared for disappointment, expecting a shallow, juicy wine. Instead, I was treated to a rich, full-bodied wine loaded with blueberry and blackberry flavors. Some time out of the bottle revealed more subtle notes of currant and coffee with a hint of dark chocolate at the finish.
The specifics of the blend are a bit of a mystery, in keeping with the Apothic name. It derives, according to apothic.com, from the word apotheca, a secretive place where 13-century European vintners kept their most prized blends — and their most closely kept recipes. Deeper history extends to ancient Greece, where apotheke meant repository, or warehouse. That seems like a pretty plebian beginning for a name meant to conjure deeper, darker images from a past where All Hallow’s Eve was an ominous precursor to winter rather than an excuse for a costume party.
Apothic Dark would stand up well in either case, whether you are reading The Telltale Heart by candlelight or wearing your favorite gypsy costume to the neighborhood Halloween gala. Speaking of gypsies, the fortune-teller on Apothic’s website is an interesting touch. A hand-selfie is all she needs for a palm reading, which is entertaining, even though her interpretation of my lifeline was much less on-point than the wine.
We nearly passed on this wine ($11.99 at Fred Meyer) after being underwhelmed by the ubiquitous Apothic Red. But the bottle, which looks like it came from Count Dracula’s wine cellar (even the cork is black), speaks to the spirit of the season, and brought a treat better than anything likely to be discovered by the little goblins knocking at our door in search of candy.
Aromatique: Sweet grape to start, warming to dark berries.
Sip quips: Full-bodied, ripe blackberries, blueberries and black currant. Hints of coffee and dark chocolate.
Kitchen couplings: Subtantial enough to stand up to meaty dishes or sharp cheese, but smooth enough to accompany pasta or chicken. Or a mystery novel.