Sipping with Grace: Apothic Crush Soft Red Blend with shepherd’s pie

For our second women in wine two-part series, we are featuring the 2020 Apothic Crush Soft Red Blend with a shepherd’s pie



This is the 2020 Apothic Crush Soft Red Blend with the shepherd’s pie.

JARED GRACE, Evergreen columnist

This week, for our family weekend edition and to celebrate women for Women’s History Month, I will be highlighting prominent women in the wine industry and pairing their wines. For this article, we will be pairing Deb Juergenson’s 2020 Apothic Crush Soft Red Blend.

These are both of the featured wines of the week: the 2020 Apothic Crush Soft Red Blend and the 2022 Sauvignon Blanc from Whitehaven.

This wine is a blend of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Petit Syrah with an ABV, or alcohol beverage content, of 13.9%. Starting with notes of dark cherry, plum and blackberry, this wine finishes with a very velvety, sweet finish and light notes of caramel.

This wine’s astringency does more to interact with the back of the throat rather than the front of the mouth and gives a very pleasing mixture of boldness and sweetness. I could only describe this feeling as drinking something like cranberry juice.

I paired this wine with a childhood family recipe: shepherd’s pie.

I will always swear by this meal, especially if you are a college student or a parent with kids. This meal is very simple and all you have to do is, in any pan you can safely put in the oven, cook any type of ground meat, add any vegetables of choice (I like to use green beans and corn, but I also recommend carrots and peas) and pour in brown gravy.

On the side, make mashed potatoes and spread them on top of the gravy veggie and meat mix. When you have spread the mashed potatoes all the way out, top them off with cheddar cheese and stick the pan in the oven until the cheese is melted.

Then you’re done!

If you are busy on the weekdays but have some free time on the weekend, another thing you can do is, instead of putting it in the oven, put all of your ingredients in a casserole dish and freeze it. Then when you need a meal, stick it in the oven.

As a child, my single father would prep this meal almost every weekend and then bake it during the week, and it was perfect for our family.

This wine pairs well with this meal because the buttery potatoes give something for the velvety mouthfeel to hold on to and the gravy gives the sweetness an almost equal opposite.

To consume this wine at its best, I recommend opening it and putting it in the fridge 15 minutes before serving. This should chill the wine to about 60–65 degrees while also aerating the wine enough to release those flavors and aromas.

Winery: Apothic

Varietal: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah

Vintage: 2020

Locations: San Bernadino, California

Price: $14–18

Pairing: Shepherd’s pie

I would like to emphasize that this column is not a review; my purpose for writing this series is to provide as much information about a wine as I can so that you can find your niche.

If you would like to inquire about anything I have talked about in these columns or recommend wines for me to pair in the future, email me at [email protected].

Drink up!