Written by: Jamie

Updated: January 25, 2024

Apothic Cab Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Review

Apothic wines are hugely popular and this is their take on Cabernet Sauvignon.

They are known for their interesting blends, and even though this is labeled as Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s really a blend too.

The label mentions an “alluring twist on Cabernet Sauvignon” and the twist comes in the form of the addition of Zinfandel grapes. This should add some jammy fruit and maybe some spicy notes. The tannins could also be a bit mellower than your typical Cab.

The winemaking literature makes no mention of the amount of Zinfandel the wine contains but the grape plays a significant part in the overall character of this wine. 

American wine law dictates that just 75% of the stated grape varietal needs to be included in the wine. Therefore, we’re looking at anything from 25% to less than 1% Zinfandel!

apothic cabernet sauvignon and glass and corkscrew

Wine Specs

  • Price: $10
  • Vintage: 2019
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Location: California
  • Winemaker: Apothic Wines (Debbie Juergenson)
  • Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon + Zinfandel (amounts undisclosed)
  • Winemaking Techniques: Some of the blend aged in oak for 2-4 months
Apothic Cab bottle and glass


At $10 this is budget wine territory and expectations are low. I've seen this as low as $9 but ten bucks seems to be fair. 


It’s dark and opaque. A deep ruby colour. A swirl coats the glass with slow moving tears. This is a full bodied wine that’s not going to pull any punches!

apothic cabernet sauvignon in glass


Even upon pouring this wine is revealing notes. Aromas just jump out of the glass and this wine is very forthcoming. 

It’s very fruity, with jammy dark fruits the theme here. Jammy black cherry and blackberry aromas are prominent and they are accompanied by lots of vanilla. 

According to the winemaking notes, only a portion of the blend spent between 2-4 months in oak, but it sure had a big impact on the wine, with the vanilla aroma playing more than just a bit part here.

With the big jammy dark fruit and vanilla notes, the nose is reminiscent of dessert. It's a lovely aroma, a little like a black forest gateaux.

However, all this points to a sweet wine, which has me slightly worried at this stage. 

Ten dollar red wines tend to be overly sweet blends and it feels like that's where we're heading.

If I wanted a sweet wine I wouldn’t have bought a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, that’s for sure.

apothic cab in wine glass from above


Onto the palate. I’m expecting an overly sweet, jammy fruit bomb. That’s what the nose indicates anyway.


It’s actually not bad. It’s sweeter than your average Cab, that’s for sure, but I can live with it. My first mouthful is a pleasant surprise.

The flavour is exactly as anticipated. Plum, black cherry, blackberry, and a little lighter red fruit in the way of strawberry. The vanilla is there too but it’s lighter than the nose.

The tannins are mellower than your average Cab. Medium minus and smooth. As for acidity, there’s barely any here. Just enough to make the extra residual sugar bearable.

This all adds up to a silky smooth “Cab” that has absolutely no subtlety whatsoever. This is a big, bold, fruity, simple wine that’s really quite enjoyable.

The Zinfandel has had a big effect and toned down the tannin of the Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a really mellow wine that’s slightly sweet and with little acidity. 

It’s been designed this way to cater to a bigger audience of occasional wine drinkers that desire a smooth, fruity drinking experience. Sure they've made compromises and this will upset purists but they've resisted the temptation to go overly sweet which I applaud.

Apothic Cab cork and corkscrew


I thought I would hate this but I actually really enjoyed it. For ten bucks this is better than similarly priced mass market Cabs like YellowTail and Jacobs Creek.

My only real issue is with the name. This isn’t Cab, it’s a blend. There might only be 10% Zinfandel in this (we’ll never know) but it has a huge effect on the overall character of the wine.

The tannin has been mellowed, the jammy fruit has been upped, and there's really little acidity. This isn’t Cabernet Sauvignon as you know it.

I’d call this Cabernet Sauvignon Light. It’s big and bold and the fundamentals are there but it’s been carefully shaped into something smoother and more crowd-pleasing. 

As for a score, I think 7/10 is about right. It’s good value at $10 and it’s an enjoyable wine that’s hard not to like. Easy to drink, approachable, and well judged for what it is.

If I was looking for a cheap bottle of cab or if I wanted a bottle of red for somebody that doesn't normally drink or even like red wine then this would be the bottle.

As for alternatives, Costco has some amazing cab at bargain basement prices. There's also things like the Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon at just $7. It's a great introduction to the grape on a budget.

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About the Author Jamie

I'm Jamie (James to some), professional over-thinker and aspiring pun champion. I'm fluent in emoji, sarcasm, and song lyrics.

I'm a certified cork dork wine obsessive and wineturtle.com is my megaphone.

I have the WSET Level 2 (with distinction) in Wine and I'm currently enrolled in level 3. I've also co-written a book on wine.

I look for value in wine and I'm always on the look out for the next hidden gem.

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