Anthony Rose: 'A little bit of sugar helps the medicine, whether tannin in red wine or acidity in white, go down'

 

I first heard of Apothic when the PR for the new California brand from Gallo asked me if I wanted a sample of a wine "fusing Old World intrigue with modern sophistication". It sounded too untrue to be good so I declined. I thought no more of it until, lo, two days later it turned up all sweet and chocolatey at Tesco's press tasting. Yum, I hear you say. Perhaps. The wine trade refers to this kind of wine as an 'entry wine', in other words, designed to appeal to newcomers to wine in the same way as, say, moscato or gewürztraminer.

The idea seems to be that a little bit of sugar helps the medicine, whether tannin in red wine or acidity in white, go down. The great success story of the modern era is the Aussie brand Yellow Tail, whose sugary chardonnay was endowed with the Midas touch.

There's a fair bit of this sort of wine around posing as sophisticated and dry. Tesco's apparently dry Cuvée Prestige de France has almost as much sugar as Apothic, as does Brancott Estate's 'lower alcohol' sauvignon blanc. Lanson White Label Champagne calls itself 'Sec', or dry, but it's semi-sweet. Don't even get me started on the plethora of saccharine California rosés.

According to Tesco's wine buyer, Apothic is extremely popular with customers as it's "a bit like a wine chocolate milk shake for grown-ups". On my way home from the Tesco tasting, I came across an Apothic pop-up at Waterloo Station dispending plastic thimblefuls to stressed commuters. In an instant vox pop, sure enough, seven out of 10 said they loved it. The other three found it too sweet.

I don't buy the argument that the Apothic drinker will graduate to drier and better, but is it a little bit snooty of us so-called arbiters of taste to have a go at such marketing-led confections? The world is full of great sweet wines from sauternes to port and they wear their sweetness with a badge of pride. Apothic and its ilk pose as sophisticatedly dry when they're mawkishly sweet.

For a red in which the fruit not the sugar does the talking, try a satisfying languedoc such as the spicy, red-fruited 2011 Taste the Difference Pic Saint Loup, £9.99, Sainsbury's, a priorat like the powerhouse plums and spiciness of the 2010 Clos de Tafall, £12.99, Wine Rack, or, from Australia, the rich, smoky, blackberry-laden 2011 The Hedonist Shiraz, McLaren Vale, £12.99, Waitrose.

Alternatively, for the sweet of tooth, why not go for a brazenly sweet LBV port such as the aromatic walnuts and prunes richness of the Maynard's LBV Port, £9.99, Aldi. Or go the whole hog with Bailey's Chocolate Luxe, £17.50, 50cl, Waitrose; liquid death by chocolate.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
News
Danczuk has claimed he is a 'man of the world'
news
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor