Apothic White 2013

Apothic White 2013: Light yellow color; flowers, peach nose; apricot, peach, melon, apple, tropical fruit, vanilla on the palate.

Semi-sweet blend of chardonnay, pinot grigio, and riesling; in earlier vintages, muscat was used instead of riesling; the riesling makes for sharper taste, different aromatics, and tames some of the sweetness. This is soft, easy to drink with intriguing layers of juicy fruit; it can be enjoyed by itself as a cocktail party wine or as an after-dinner dessert wine, but does not have the acidity to classically pair with banquet of foods. Never mind. There is huge, growing market for sweet and semi-sweet wines—they are the engines of the wine tsunami in America. The U.S. consumer is not switching from beer to serious artisanal efforts from Napa or the Old World; they are switching to sweet (moscato) and semi-sweet offerings. Apothic is Gallo’s semi-sweet, mass market white wine play; Apothic Red, a semi-sweet, big oak effort approaches one million cases annually. Gallo makes some superb serious wines, but the Monster of Modesto did not become the largest family-owned winemaker in America with more than 25% of the market because of that. They got so big by discovering what consumers want and then giving it to them at reasonable prices and with almost universal availability. Apothic White is clearly a part of that winning history: it offers layers of tasty fruit in clean semi-sweet style that will please many, maybe turn a beer belter into a wine sipper. $11-14Apothic White