Apothic inferno Review

Apothic Inferno 2019 Red Blend Review

Meet Luke

Luke is a Level I Certified Whiskey Specialist with a passion for exploring and unearthing the best whiskeys around. Luke has a preference for Rye whiskeys but has tasted over 250 different whiskeys to date varying from bourbons to scotches. He continues to expand upon his whiskey knowledge by tasting dozens of bottles monthly and reviewing them here on Barrel and Brew as he pursues his Masters of Whiskey certification.

We’re back with some more wine reviews, and this time we’re talking about the 2019 vintage of Apothic Inferno. Apothic is a fairly popular wine, but Inferno caught our eye for a specific reason – it is aged in whiskey barrels for 60 days before bottling. And well, we love our whiskey so we had to give this a try.

In this review, we’ll touch upon the history of Apothic before jumping into more specifics about their 2019 Inferno. Stay tuned to find out if Apothic Inferno is worth buying!

Apothic inferno Review

Apothic Wine History

Apotheca is a term that, in the 13th century, referred to a place that stored spices, herbs, wine, medicine, and more. It’s where the term apothecary comes from, but it’s also the inspiration behind the name of Apothic Wine.

Debbie Juergenson is the winemaker behind Apothic, which is made and owned by E.J Gallo, the largest exporter or California wines.

According to Apothic’s website, their goal is to craft bold and captivating wines, so I suppose we’re going to find out if they accomplish that!

Apothic Inferno 2019 Overview

  • Wine: Red Blend (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Zinfandel)
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Owned By: E.J. Gallo
  • Region: Modesto, Ca
  • Aged: 2-4 months in oak. Then, whiskey barrel-aged for 60 days
  • ABV: 15.9%
  • Price: $10-15

Apothic Inferno is a red blend that uses 5 different wine grapes mentioned above. We aren’t sure of the exact make-up of this blend percentage wise, but all the grapes are commonly used in blends.

E.J. Gallo winery is located in Modesto, California, so it’s located roughly an hour south east of Napa Valley and Sonoma County. As mentioned, E.J. Gallo is the largest exporter of California wine and one of the largest producers of California wine.

Probably the two most vital components of Apothic Inferno is the ABV and being aged in whiskey barrels. 15.9% ABV isn’t an unheard of or egregious ABV for a red wine, but it’s certainly higher than most. You’re typical red wine usually runs between 13-15%.

It’s unknown which whiskey barrels Apothic Inferno is actually aged in. It’s likely not bourbon, otherwise they would probably specify that, so we’re stuck with just “whiskey barrels”. Regardless, we can expect more oak and spice present with Apothic Inferno than many other red wines.

Apothic Inferno V19 Tasting Notes

Apothic wants to create unique wines that are ‘unforgettable’. It’s time to pour ourselves a glass and see how they did.

Appearance: Dark with thick, slow running legs

Nose: It didn’t take long to notice the oak from the extra aging. There’s loads of fruit on the nose with blackberry and plum. A light spice to it as well. There’s a touch of alcohol on the nose too and smells a touch thin.

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Palate: Oak and spice here primarily. Still plenty of blackberry and fruit, but not a sweet, fruity palate. The flavor is fruit, but it’s with a predominately spicy undertone. Slightly metallic, but not bad. There’s a funky taste in there that I can’t quite put my tongue on, too.

Finish: Certainly a dry wine, but the finish isn’t quite as long as I was expecting. Some vanilla spice hits, but fades away quickly. Not overly short or sharp, short-medium in length.

Apothic Inferno 2019

Tasting Summary

The appearance of the wine meets expectations. Aged in whiskey barrels for an addition 2 months is going to add some extra color, and the high alcohol content is going to create thicker, slower legs. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

My immediate response to the nose is “hmmm, what is that?” – in a this is different, and something smells a little off here kinda way. You could clearly pick up on the oak, spice, and fruit, but there was something else there.

On to the palate and I had the exact same experience. I wasn’t sure if I liked it, and there was something that I couldn’t pick out. I continued to sip and sip and sip. Eventually, I realized I was sipping it because I really liked it, not because I was trying to figure out what it was.

The finish was pleasant, just a touch short which is probably part of the reason I kept going back to sip it so quickly.

I still don’t know what it is I was getting in my first couple sips because it eventually faded, and I just began enjoying the wine. The uniqueness and alcohol content seems to take a couple sips to get used to, and then it becomes quite good. Well done, Apothic.


A bottle of Apothic Inferno is around the $10-15 price point with most bottles coming in closer to the $13 mark. That situates it right in the sweet spot. Most of your average wine drinkers don’t spend more than $20 on a bottle, but like something a bit nicer than a $5-8 bottle. Most of the wine I drink is right around $15 as well, give or take.

The $13 price tag can explain a bit of the metallic/thinness/shorter finish, so it’s very fairly priced. It’s not way better than $13 and it’s not a cheaper wine than that either. I think the value comes from it’s unique profile, and the fun of trying a wine finished in whiskey barrels. Apothic inferno definitely works as a gift to a whiskey lover, or simply a new wine to try.

Summary of Apothic Inferno Review V19

Apothic certainly completed what they set out to do with their Inferno release. It’s a solid $13 bottle of wine that is flavorful and different. The nearly 16% ABV makes it an efficient wine to drink as well if a nice buzz is what you’re after, too.

Apothic Inferno probably doesn’t cut it as my daily wine. For that, I’m probably still going to stick to Bread & Butter or a couple others. However, Apothic Inferno is something I’ll certainly have again and may even send as a gift.

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One Comment

  1. I was always a beer or white liquor drinker vodkas and gins my niece introduced me to wine about 6 years ago and I enjoyed it it was a bottle of cab from Paso Robles. I thought it was delicious and a nice change I have been sipping wine ever since she introduced me to an affordable wine which happened to be Apothic Inferno. My brother and I meet on Fridays to split a bottle of Dove and stone I believe it’s called at the Elusive Grape in Deland Florida the people are great there. I would like to try a true Bourbon Barrel aged wine if you have a recommendation in the price range of Apothic Inferno. My brother has learned to appreciate his bourbon and his first love was Blanton’s which we can hardly find around here. He settles for Less priced bourbon because Blanton’s is no longer 60 to 70 dollars a bottle. I have to admit I have one full wine glass of Apothic Inferno every day then my cheap go to two or three glasses after is a white zinfandel which I know is frowned upon buy wine aficionados but it has a light refreshing taste at around 10% alcohol. And of course my time for bed is Tito’s on the rocks about three to four shots and I’m out like a light. Thanks for listening to my commentary

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