Until its recent surge in popularity with Argentinian offerings, malbec was known primarily as a great blending grape. It still is, and Exhibit A is the 2011 Famiglia Meschini Malbec-Syrah ($13), a rich, just-ripe-enough red with equal amounts of each grape. The dark-berry and plum flavors are punched up with some baking spices and nice doses of tannins and mineral, producing a harmonious finish. Slabs of beef, lamb or duck, slow-cooked in a braise or quick-cooked on the grill, make for swell accompaniments.

Available at Century, Tonka Bottle Shop, the Wine Shop, France 44, South Lyndale, North Loop, Sorella, Thomas and Solo Vino.

Bill Ward