The wine comes with a gorgeous red label and a great story. The wine itself is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot, and, apparently, several ounces of artificial vanilla extract.
Lately it seems that TWC's old nemesis, the cloying, semi-sweet, red cherry flavor one finds in many inexpensive red wines, has been sidelined and replaced with an obsessive overuse of oak. As many of you know, aging wine in oak barrels adds a subtle vanilla flavor as well as some tannins to red wine. French Oak is more subtle than American Oak. Either is more subtle than emptying a bag of oak chips into the vat of aging wine.
Granted, the pleasure of wine is very subjective and, perhaps, I'm oversensitive to oak in wine. Honestly, though. I can't drink this wine. Decanting helped, but not enough.
The Apothic Red is just under ten dollars US. There are quite a few wines in that range that are worth your while. I'd pass on this one. Your mileage may vary.
What's the rule? The quality of the wine is inversely proportional to the cool factor of the label. Not always, but often.
Apothic Red reveals intense fruit aromas and flavors of rhubarb and black cherry that are complemented by hints of mocha, chocolate, brown spice and vanilla. The plush, velvety mouthfeel and smooth finish round out this intriguing, full-bodied red blend.
EDIT: The Apothic Red puts me in the mind of offerings from the Phillips Brothers (Seven Deadly Zins). Too much vanilla for moi, but somebody is buying the wine and likes it. Hope that helps put this in perspective.