Taste testing the new coffee-infused wine from Modesto’s Apothic
Like lots of people, I enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning and I’ll sometimes settle down with a nice glass of wine at night.
But what if — and stay with me here — you didn’t have to choose between the two. What if you could have your coffee with your wine anytime. Well, wonder no more. Because Apothic Brew, the new cold-brew coffee-infused red wine, is here.
Apothic is the first major wine label to infuse coffee into its blend. The E.&J. Gallo Winery brand, produced right here in Modesto, has already made a splash with the unique offering before it has hit a single store shelf. The wine has been featured in segments on Good Morning America, The Chew and received a glowing review from Cosmopolitan magazine. But it won’t be available from retailers nationwide until April 1.
Now, blending coffee with things that are not coffee is nothing new — coffee cake, coffee ice cream, coffee milk, coffee beer. But more recently, with the rise in popularity of cold-brewed coffee, the trend has hit a new high.
Apothic winemaker Deb Juergenson, a Davis High and California State University, Stanislaus, graduate, said combining the two was a natural fit. As is, red wine is often described with words related to coffee, like roasted or mocha or nutty. So Apothic Brew takes it one step further.
“We had a an amazing time blending this and getting this wine together. So it’s great to see the reactions from everyone. Like, ‘Oh wow, that’s different’,” Juergenson said. “That’s exactly what we wanted. Something really cool, really fun. Something that brings out a lot of uniqueness, but still tastes like a red wine.”
The result is a subtle, yet flavorful concoction that isn’t overpowering in either direction. But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of my colleagues, who were more than happy to sample the wine in the middle of a workday and offer their opinions. Reactions ranged from “it’s awesome” to “it’s not bad, really not bad.” Reviewers said they could taste the coffee, but it was very mild and had a smooth finish. They also praised the blend as not as tart or acidic as some reds, and the coffee overtones are mellow.
Still, those hoping to substitute their favorite energy drink with the wine might be a tad disappointed. One glass of Apothic Brew only has about the same amount of caffeine as regular cup of decaf coffee. So, you know, not a bunch.
Juergenson declined to specify the kind of roast and process of cold brewing used for the coffee in Apothic Brew — trade secrets and all. The coffee is added before bottling. All of the grapes used in the red blend — which includes Petite Sirah, Teroldego, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and other select varieties — come from Lodi. It took about half of 2017 to come up with the mix right — from last summer to last winter. The limited release retails for $14.99 and is expected to be on store shelves locally and nationally in April, and be available into the summer depending on supplies.
“People love coffee and people love red wine so now there is something with the best of both together,” said Kristina S. Kelley, Gallo senior director of public relations.
It joins Apothic’s collection of year-round and seasonal wines the label has been releasing since 2009. They includes Apothic Red, Apothic Dark, Apothic Crush, Apothic Rosé and Apothic White and seasonal release Apothic Inferno, a small-batch red blend aged in whiskey barrels. Apothic Brew will be available online via Gallo’s The Barrel Room at www.thebarrelroom.com by the end of the week.