Day 5: 2013 Apothic Red

Costco is the largest retailer of wine in the U.S. Their turnover is high, their inventory varies often, and they carry wine from all price points. Because their company policy is to set profit margins very low, Costco is known as the place to get the best price on whatever wine they have in stock.

So what wines do consumers buy most often?

At my local Costco, it’s a red wine called Apothic. There’s also a Malbec from Argentina that sells very well, I was told, but it’s the Apothic that people ask for the most.

Me: Do they buy a lot of it?

T (Costco’s wine department manager): Yes. By the case.

Me: Do you notice any patterns of who buys?

T: What do you mean?

Me: Older? Younger?

T: Both.

Me: Men? Women?

T: Both. Everyone. All races, all religions.

Me: What makes it so popular?

T: Look right here.

She pointed to the stack of Apothic boxes, and to the description of black cherry, mocha, and vanilla. “That pretty much tells you what you’re going to get, and it’s true,” T said. “It’s an intense, heavy, extracted, fruit-driven wine. Plus it’s sweet, and it’s $8 a bottle.”

I get the price point as a definite factor and, once the wine was in our glasses, we could see that the black-cherry-mocha-vanilla descriptors are right on. There’s more to it too (tobacco, some mint) and the finish was short — which strikes me as perfectly appropriate, as this wine is drunk quickly and easily and we’re ready soon for the next sip.

This wine is also drunk in quantity. There’s now a group of people who recognize this wine, T. told me. “It’s a comfort zone for them, so they keep coming back. There’s also a sweetness there that the American palate has grown up with.”

“I like it,” my husband said. He’s Belgian, in fact, but seems to also fit the sweet-preferred palate. “It makes me think of a Zinfandel, which tastes sweeter to me. I don’t feel like my tongue is being grated. The Apothic isn’t acidic, it doesn’t make me go like this [makes a sour-lemon face]. If this was a $60 wine, I wouldn’t argue with it. I’ve definitely drunk worse $60 bottles of wine. We should buy a case of it.”

Quick Background Note: The Blue Collar Wine Guide is a 30-day, 30-wine experiment that looks at some of the world’s most popular, consumer-friendly wines. The idea is to take off my wine-writer shoes and stand instead in the shoes of Jane-and-Joe-in-front-of-a-wall-of-wine. Thank you for reading today’s post!