Blend Into the New Year

December 2015
Written By: 
James Ginley
An emerging category gives new meaning to ‘seeing red’

Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend 2013
California, $9

When this wine was introduced in 2012, it became an immediate favorite. The name was inspired by a mysterious place called Apotheca, where wine was made in 13th century Europe. The grapes that create this cuvee are Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. A super wine for $9, the brand also includes Apothic Dark for those who enjoy a fuller body and Apothic White for white wine fans. Alcohol content is 13.5 percent.

Bogle Phantom 2012
California, $18

This proprietary blend lives up to its name: the new vintage is introduced every fall and, because of its popularity, disappears quickly. Blended from Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it is concentrated and full of delicate spice and ripe berry flavors. Full-bodied and intense, with high alcohol at 14.9 percent.

BV Reserve Tapestry 2011
California, $30

From Beaulieu Vineyards, this is another proprietary blend—the name is trademarked. Tapestry is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot grapes from the Napa Valley, the only grapes permitted in red Bordeaux wines, which are the most famous blends in the world. Elegant and luxurious with a long finish. Alcohol content is 13.9 percent.

19 Crimes Red Blend 2011
Australia, $11

In 18th century England, convicts guilty of one of 19 crimes were banished to Australia. Many died during the voyage, but survivors helped create the new country. Blend is Shiraz, Grenache and Sangiovese, not often seen together. Bold flavors, lingering finish, ominous label and alcohol at 14.5 percent make it a bargain. Plus, each cork is labeled with one of the 19 crimes. 

Caymus Conundrum Proprietary Blend 2012
California, $25

One of the stars of Caymus Vineyards, owned and operated by the Wagner family. This is another proprietary blend of gently harvested grapes that is barrel-aged and results in wine of deep fruit character, spice, chocolate, lingering finish and 14 percent alcohol. The unknown grapes in the bottle are the “conundrum.”  The white version appeared first back in 1989.