Red wine. Infused with cold brew coffee. It’s a thing. How do I know?
Because I’m drinking some right now.
Lemme explain: Yesterday I went to the store to get some last minute ingredients. Ok, fine — I needed to buy cookies. A household without cookies is hardly a home, don’t you think? Anyway, my tiny local independent grocery store has a surprisingly well-stocked wine selection, I’m assuming because the winters in Vermont are so goddamn long and there’s not a whole lot else to do except wear flannel and drink. Since my house was ALSO out of wine, it was a spur of the moment two birds/ one stone deal. So I grabbed my usual (any bottle of red that costs roughly $15, because I can’t remember which kinds I like, so every time it’s a journey of discovery) and set out to get the last few items I needed.
But the thing about tiny local independent Vermont grocery stores is that they sort of just set up displays of random shit in whatever aisle they want. So even though the “wine” aisle is the one that also has the freezers full of frozen pizza (a.k.a. the best aisle), I ended up discovering a surprise rack of additional wines over in the soda/seltzer aisle. And on that rack was THIS GLORIOUS CONUNDRUM RIGHT HERE:
So I quickly sought the advice of my fellow Overlords, asking whether buying a bottle would be a huge mistake, whether I could review it if I did buy it, and whether it would be a tax write-off if I did review it. The overwhelming response was YES DUH WHY ARE YOU EVEN THINKING ABOUT THIS JUST SHUT UP AND DRINK IT FOR SCIENCE (I’m paraphrasing).
Related: I’m not sure my colleagues actually have my best interests at heart.
Anyway, with that settled, I snatched up a bottle and carted it home. Seeing as it’s infused with cold brew, I popped it in the fridge to chill and then did some research. Apothic Brew, as it’s called, is bottled by Apothic Wines in Modesto, CA. Their press release says that the new wine “captures the smooth mouthfeel and velvety chocolate notes of cold brew with the juicy blackberry characteristics of a dark red wine.”
“Last year during the long hours of harvest, I joined the cold brew craze myself,” said Deb Juergenson, Apothic Winemaker. “Quickly, I realized that many of the characteristics in cold brew coffee and red wine naturally complement each other. This led us to experiment with a few blends, eventually leading to the seamless creation of Apothic Brew, which brings together red fruit notes and subtle mocha essences of cold brew.”
But setting flavor aside for a moment, the first question I had is: Does this mean I can get wine drunk and wired at the same time? Because seriously, I’m a freelancer — I stay up late writing sometimes. And if I can find a fucking bottle of wine that’ll keep me awake longer, I’ll buy stock in it. Sadly, the brand’s website claims that Apothic Brew contains less caffeine than your standard cup of decaf, which is a total letdown. I used to mix red wine with Cherry Coke Zero and sneak that shit into movie theaters (I was young, don’t judge me), and that probably had more caffeine than this stuff does. But it also tasted a hell of a lot worse.
Because that’s the thing: This coffee wine is NOT bad. It’s sweet and smooth. Dark, but not heavy. It starts like wine, but finishes with that coffee flavor — yet, it’s one of the least acidic wines I’ve ever tried. It reminds me of a dessert wine, in that I’m not sure I could really drink more than a glass at a time. But dammit, I’m gonna try!
Sure, I’m no wine expert. I mean, my all-time favorite wine is Lambrusco, the sparkling red stuff that I’ve never seen retailed for higher than $20, so I’m definitely not a great judge of quality. I have a sneaking suspicion this is actually super trashy and I just don’t know any better (though if it is, then I’m not the only one who thinks it’s pretty tasty). In the end, though, I simply don’t care. I love cold brew coffee, and I love wine. And as it turns out, I love the combination of the two as well.
The only problem is that it’s a limited edition, which means it’ll run out soon (note to self: go buy more bottles). So I foresee a lot of half-assed experimentations in my future, trying to pour cold brew into some cheap red wine and hoping it’ll taste the same. #noshame