I’ve changed. I’m not as big a wine snob as I used to be. Not quite as pretentious a pratt when I’m let loose in a room of vinophiles. No longer ready to extol the nuances of my latest and greatest find from some Eastern European country made with some almost extinct grape that I can’t even pronounce. No longer ready to argue that Wine Spectator only gave it an 88 because they probably were sampling their 102nd bottle that day.

How have I changed? Well I’m no longer looking for wines with sophisticated tastes of tar and leather and barnyards and cloves and violets and freshly mown hay. These days I’m looking for fruit and the more fruit the better. And even though I’m looking for fruit, I am not looking for mulberries, loganberries or huckleberries because, if you blindfolded me and put one in my mouth, I’m not sure I’d even know what it is. Hell, you could take the blindfold off and I still might not know what fruit it is. I want cherries, strawberries and raspberries, the fruit that I know and love.

Which brings me to my first choice for a reasonably priced red these days. The one I buy by the case. It is called Apothic Red. It’s yet another from the brilliantly marketed portfolio of that company founded in California by the brothers called Ernest and Julio.

Part of that brilliant marketing are the words, “Inspired by Apotheca, a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe.” Now even though I had my suspicions, as I once wrote that same kind of BS for a living, I had to check out this word Apotheca. Apparently Google and Yahoo’s encyclopedic knowledge doesn’t go back to the 13th Century. Hmmmmm!

The word apothic confused me as well. Perhaps someone who collects old drugstore jars? The only meaning I found for apothic used this example: “Staring deep into the apothic abyss, I found myself feeling as if there were a woman, somewhere down there that had my heart.” Double hmmmmm!

The copywriting crap continues with a quote from winemaker, Debbie Juergenson: “I strive to tell a story with each blend of Apothic,” Debbie explains. “Whether it’s one of drama, intrigue or romance, the wines of Apothic are truly original.” Triple hmmmmm! And the third strike.

So let’s forget about truth in advertising and talk about truth in the taste of wine. Apothic Red is an absolute explosion of fruit. Cherries, blackberries, raspberries, plums. All punching you in the mouth. So jammy you’re tempted to drink it with toast. Sophisticated? Not at all. But who cares. This isn’t the wine in the little black cocktail dress. This is the wine in tight Levis and tank top.

The main taste comes from the Zinfandel grape. I am a big fan of Zin. Big enough to attend the Zinfandel Experience in San Francisco. Big enough to drink 100 different Zins in one night (yes, a spitoon was my date). For years, Zinfandel almost always flew solo. These days, its true potential is being unlocked in blends. Apothic Red combines Zinfandel with Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes into what I think is a magical blend. But I’ll warn you, not everyone does.

One sommelier said it was like fermented Tropicana Grape Punch. Don’t you hate those wine snobs…oops, I was one last month…probably will be again next.

When it came to pairing Apothic Red with food, I thought of two things. Steak and chocolate. As Don Day’s Wife does not allow me to have chocolate as my main course at dinner, I was down to steak and the steaks I’m enjoying most these days in San Miguel de Allende are the strip loins from La Comer (one of the two places I usually buy my Apothic Red; the other is Soriano).

They’re very well marbled and have a few weeks of age. Some people won’t like paying for the strip of fat along the edge. Some people (including me) won’t like that they’re cut less than half an inch thick. But I can’t imagine anyone not liking getting two steaks this good for under 200 pesos.

And, of course, washing them down with a bottle of Apothic Red. Cheers!

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