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…)

Borsao Garnacha

Borsao Garnacha 2010

Until now, the 2009 vintage of this wine was, at $5.99, the least expensive wine to receive a three-star rating from us. Despite inflation in nearly every other consumer sector over the last year, the 2010 vintage of the Borsao still sells for $5.99. And, we are pleased to report, it is every bit the bargain that the 2009 was. (more…)

Epicuro Nero d’Avola

epicuro nero davola

This is on the lighter side for a Nero d’Avola, both in color and in flavor. Stylistically, it’s closer to South America than Sicily, but at this price, these are quibbles. Almost entirely devoid of tannins, this is a very fruity, almost off-dry wine with a medium body and little acidity. (more…)