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bianchi famiglia There are days when listening to Mozart will put you to sleep; Radiohead will irritate with their meandering sounds in search of a center; Billie Holiday, too tragic; Costello or Springsteen, too much message; Bjork, just too weird. On these days, you need to listen to good, old- fashioned mid-western rock—John Mellancamp, Bob Seeger, Chicago Blues. Hefty, straightforward, no frills.

This is the wine for that day. Deep purple color, with lots of concentration and depth to the flavor, the Famiglia Bianchi gives you a hardy blast of black and blue fruits that carries all the way through the finish. Sure you can grab a little smoke, tobacco, and hints of nutmeg if you look for them. A vigorous swirl will release some some nice herbal notes. But this wine is not about subtlety or complexity. It wants to kick out the jams and has the structure to keep the palate refreshed. It’s not blowsy or oaky, nothing over the top, it doesn’t scream “look at me”—just honest rock n’ roll.

It has a smooth, mid-palate mouthfeel although the tannins get a little sandy on the finish. At 14.1% the alcohol doesn’t overpower. Big, simple flavors and good balance. This will pair with any boldly flavored meat dish.

Malbec from Argentina typically has exuberant fruit, a little spice, and a pleasing texture. It is seldom refined, sophisticated, or profound—it goes with the food of the region, lots of grilled meat. Think of it as a “manly” merlot.

The Famiglia from Bianchi is a very typical representation of this pleasing but somewhat limited grape—but there are days when it can save your life.

Score: 87/100

Price: $18

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