A pair of value-driven reds from Cali – Review

By Duane Pemberton

It’s always good to find some “go-to”, everyday wines to help take the edge off your day and to help keep from draining your budget. These two popular red blends from California each feature Zinfandel – the darling red wine grape of California.

2009 Apothic Red – W.E.P. Rating: 60%

Technical Data:

  • Alcohol: 13.1%
  • Blend: Syrah, Zinfandel and Merlot
  • Price: $12

Nose: Cherry-soaked vanilla-laced oak right on the nose which has me a bit concerned here. I’m also getting notes of twizzlers, cherry cola and white pepper.

Taste: Unfortunately, my suspicians of the oak were on-point. Far too much oak saturation for my palate as it really does overwhelm most of the pending flavors that are trying to rise to the surface. I totally understand the market for this wine and can see why so many like it, however, it’s not my style. A bit too “sugarfied” – if you know what I mean.

2009 Tractor Shed Red – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: “California”
  • Blend: Zinfandel, Syrah and Cab Franc
  • Alcohol: 14.3%
  • pH; 3.64
  • TA: 5.9 gl/l
  • Price: $14

Nose: Nice combination of cherries, raspberry and a hint of blackberry. I also get some big-league chew bubble-gum action along with spice, leather and shoe polish.

Taste: Black pepper-crusted ref fruits are the star here and have a nice back-up cast of leather, tar, tobacco and dark chocolate. Good mid palate and a finish that lingers make this a very tasty daily drinker.