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steakThere is nothing like a grilled steak or other beast off the charcoal during these hot summer days. After lots of Rose’ and white wine, it’s time for a taste of red.

Fire up the grill, add a little BBQ rub to those thick ribeyes and enjoy any of these three wines. Here are three diverse choices with Argentinian Malbec, Australian Cabernet, and a wonderful red blend from Washington state all making the grade.

zuccardi_serie_a_malbec11Zuccardi Serie A 2011 Malbec – There are a lot of so-so and uninteresting Malbecs on the market – but even those are good QPR (quality to price ratio) wines.

The Zuccardi really delivers big dark fruit, some will argue a little over-ripe or jammy, but the finish had enough tannin to cut through the fat of the ribeye.

The silky mouth feel and lighter tannins make a great steak pairing. The winemaker ages 70 percent of the juice in oak. It comes in at 14 percent alcohol.

This wine earned 90 points from Robert Parker.

Zuccardi Serie A 2011 Malbec, online at $12-$20, widely available, Highly Recommended.

GBCabSavChateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon – Like many Americans I haven’t been drinking much Australian wine in recent years. Much has been written about the decline of Australian imports. Fingers are often pointed at the critter wines which brought Australian wine to prominence but were of lesser quality.

So I was prepared for a so-so Cabernet and found myself pleasantly surprised and pleased with the Tanunda Cab. The winery dates back into the late 1800s and the nice balance of this wine suggests a long tradition of winemaking.

The grapes are a blend from several vineyards in the Barossa region. Once into the winery the wine is aged 16 month in oak for a big structure and body that holds up great for any grilled beast.

Ratings from Australian reviews put the wine at 89 points, and I’d say that’s about right.

Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon, $17 average online price, Trade Sample, Recommended for the price point.

09_PW_SPECTRUMPowers 2010 Spectrum – I liked all three of these reds alot. The Spectrum was my choice of the three though. It’s big enough to please regular wine drinkers, rounded enough for wine novices, and pairs great with about any dish.

The blend is 39 percent Merlot, 33 percent Syrah, 22 percent Malbec, 6 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich red fruit and a hint of herbs makes this a great drinking wine. It’s oaked in a combination of new and neutral wooden barrels.

It registers in with 14.5 percent alcohol but didn’t taste hot on the palate at all.

Powers has a very nice line of wines. They have been a leader in organic and low-impact farming.

Powers 2010 Spectrum, $10-$13 online, Highly Recommended.

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