A by Acacia Pinot Noir 2015 – Delivering smoke, cola, and spice for under $9!

Price: $8.97 at Total Wine  Style: The "Tom" (Medium body with some more interesting and complex flavors.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: Quite good at this price with a much more pronounced nose than you can usually expect from a value Pinot. It carries more than just fruit, delivering mild smokiness, cola, and a bit of spice. …

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McManis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015 – Packing a lot more flavor than your average $10 Pinot

  Price: $9.79 at Total Wine  Style: The “Tom” (Medium body with some more complex flavors beyond just simple fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: Finally, another $10 Pinot that I can actually recommend! (I have to admit... the value Pinots are not exactly blowing my socks off this month.) But this one's definitely got a …

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Bogle Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 – “Herb-y” and yummy

  Price: $8.99 at Total Wine  Style: The “Tom” (Medium body with fairly simple and straight-forward fruit flavors.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: The Bogle is a very herb-driven interpretation of Pinot Noir. It serves up lots of oregano, sage, and earth, with just a little bit of tart cherry to give it a fresh and fruity …

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Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir 2014 – Cement truck drivers make pretty good wine

  Price: $11.99 at Total Wine  Style: The “Tom” (Medium body with some more complex flavors beyond just simple fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: A really nice nose on this one, mixing smoky cherry and raspberry aromas with some earthy undertones. In the mouth, this is juicy with crisp red fruit on the front of …

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Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi 2014 – Luscious Zin evolving from earthy to fruity with time

Price: $9.99 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Really Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: The Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel is a really nice offering that perfectly hits the balance of earthy and fruity for me. When we first opened the bottle, it was quite a bit …

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Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Napa 2014

Price: $11.99 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: Although subtle, everything about the Ravenswood Napa is nicely balanced and in-check. Many of the Zinfandels around $10 are overly sweet , overly thin, or display unpleasant levels of acidity or alcohol. …

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McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2015

Price: $9.49 at Total Wine Style: The “Lady Edith” (Lighter body with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Ok” Recommendation: “Have a glass or two” Review: The McManis offers fair value, but has some minor imperfections even at this price.  First, it's definitely got a bit of tingling acidity right in the mid-palate. Great for a Pinot Grigio, …

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Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel Heritage Vines 2014

Price: $11.99 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: The Zabaco definitely got on my good side from the get-go. The alluring nose was earthy, fruity, rich, and full of cedar, spice, tar, blackberries, and plums... significantly more complex than the average …

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Coppola Red Label Zinfandel 2014

Price: $9.79 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Ok” Recommendation: “Have a glass or two” Review: Meh... average to good for the price. A medium nose carries strong candied red fruit with some baking spices... enjoyable. In the mouth, this is smooth but too sweet on the …

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Oak Grove Zinfandel Reserve 2013

Price: $8.99 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: The Oak Grove Zinfandel delivered one of the most interesting flavors I've picked up in a Zinfandel this month... On the back of the palate, I got a very clear impression of …

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Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel 2014

Price: $9.79 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: The Zinfandels continue to preform quite well this month. The Peachy Canyon is no rock star, but it is a good solid offering under $10.  The nose is the distinguishing attribute for …

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Gnarled Vine Zinfandel 2014

Price: $9.99 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: Another nice bottle in this month's challenge! A wonderful nose; strong, sweet, and more complex than you usually get at this price, showing cinnamon, spice, and, sweet tobacco. The palate builds on …

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Ravenswood Zen of Zin 2014

Price: $8.49 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” (Medium body and power with some interesting tastes beyond basic fruits.) Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: We're starting off the Zinfandel challenge on the right foot!  The Zen of Zin gives you a great nose right out of the bottle with strong candied cherries and some buttercream frosting …

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Alamos Malbec 2015 – Argentina

Price: $6.77 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” Rating: “Good” Recommendation: “Grab a few bottles” Review: A really great deal at the $6.77 price at TotalWine.  This wine is nicely balanced, smooth, and gives just a little more flavor complexity than the basic red blend. None of the unbalanced alcohol, metallic taste, or lack of acidity that you so …

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Piattelli Malbec Reserve 2014 – Argentina

Price: $8.97 at Total Wine Style: The “Tom” Rating: “Ok” Recommendation: “Have a glass or two” Review: This bottle definitely had more complex aromas than most of the Malbecs we've been tasting this month. When we first opened it there was a bit of barnyard (brett) that was actually a little unpleasant. However, with a bit of air, that …

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