Tilia Malbec

Tilia Malbec 2011

A great Malbec for the price, offering abundant notes of ripe—but not overripe—cherry and plum, and a heady violet bouquet. In the background, there’s a slight minerality and a dusting of bittersweet cocoa. Well-balanced and not overly concentrated, this is an easy one to pair with food.

Folie à Deux Winery Ménage à Trois Red Wine

Menage a Trois 2010

This blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Zinfandel is in what we would call the mass-market Australian style. In other words, bursting with jammy fruit, lacking discernible tannins, and packing noticeable sweetness (at just over 1% residual sugar, it’s technically off-dry). If you like this style, give the Ménage à Trois a swirl.

MAN Vintners Pinotage

Man Vintners Pinotage 2010

We have tasted and enjoyed (but not reviewed) earlier vintages of this South African Pinotage, so we had high hopes for the 2010. Unfortunately, it falls a bit short. Though the smokey, almost rustic, flavor so typical of Pinotage is on full display, the fruit tastes stewed—dangerously approaching sweetness. It is, nevertheless, a drinkable wine at a decent price. And it’s true to the variety. It deserves a star.

Artazuri Garnacha

Artazuri Garnacha 2009

With a nose that made one of us think of decaying wood on a forest floor, an acidic palate, and a bold sour cherry flavor, this Spanish Garnacha might be a little tough to appreciate, especially compared to the Borsao Garnacha we reviewed last week. But those who like their wines a little earthy—maybe even a little wild—will find much to appreciate here. Though at the top of our price range, the Artazuri earns three stars.

Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Refosco

Trader Joes Refosco 2010

Trader Joe’s is probably best known for its infamous Two Buck Chuck, but it is also a great source of unusual varietals, which is certainly the case for this wine. Refosco hails from, and is mostly grown in, northeastern Italy, where it has a tendency to be high in tannins and acidity. (more…)