Folie à Deux Winery Ménage à Trois Red Wine

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

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.

Stonehedge Reserve Petite Syrah

We feel confident in saying that this wine will not appeal to most tasters. One of us described the palate as almost-rotten fruit, soy sauce, and green vegetable. Another described it more succinctly as smelling like a dried Italian sausage. On the palate, there was a pronounced oakiness, almost like smoked mesquite wood. One of us thought the whole package was a disaster, while the other thought it was interesting and different enough to merit (just barely) one star.

Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz – Cabernet – Petit Verdot

Though definitely a fruit bomb, we found this one a little more complex than the typical Australian Shiraz blend offered at this price. The nose offers up tobacco, leather, sandalwood, and pepper. The palate entry is surprisingly tart, with a strong taste of sour cherry. Proceed with caution, though, as one of us thought the fruit was overripe. A blend of 55% Shiraz, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 17% Petit Verdot.

Yalumba “Y Series” Merlot

Another split opinion. The nose is either grassy and vegetable, or replete with strawberry and apricot. On the palate, it’s either soft and refreshing, or thin and acidic.