Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sexy Wine Bomb Blends Have More Fun Red

Having seen Sexy Wine Bomb on a couple of blogs and upon finding it at my local Total Wine, I knew I had to give it a whirl. Not one to always jump on the wine bandwagon, the wine was priced right at $9.99, so what the heck!

Aromas are full of red and purple fruits. Flavors are spicy and jammy with underlying plum and cherry notes. While I find the label fun, I found the wine a little lack luster, no complexity. The wine did lose some of the overly jammy flavors with 5 seconds of the Clef du Vin. I’m not saying it’s a terrible wine, I think a younger wine drinker will find it just fine. And who knows, maybe it was just another off night for me but I don’t know if I’ll try this one again.

Blend: 38% Merlot, 38% Zinfandel, 23% Syrah, less than 1% Petite Sirah
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol: 15%
RS: 0.8

Just a few years ago, I would have thought this wine is delectable, maybe even delicious and a delight to drink. But something has changed, I know longer find those jammy under developed wines to be enjoyable at all. In fact, I find them to be almost appalling and they take the fun out of drinking wine. What’s wrong with me, could it be, has it happened…am I, gasp, a wine snob?

No, I refuse to believe I’ve turned into a wine snob. I find too many fabulous and incredible wines for between $8.99 and $12.99. Besides, I’m too cheap to be a wine snob. So maybe my palate has changed a little, maybe all those wonderful wines in the $20 range have swayed my taste buds a bit but I still have my go to favorites priced under $10 and unless I win the lottery, that won’t change.

Found at my local Total Wine for $9.99.

****To donate to the America’s Disaster Relief Truck, currently helping Alabama tornado victims and Mississippi flood victims, click here.

2011© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Argyle Black Brut 2008

Seems like Florida’s summer began in early April but this week, we’ve had a reprise of early spring. Temps in the 70’s and low humidity mean wine time by the Koi pond is back! On top of this lovely and refreshing weather, I have some big things going on that I’m just bursting at the seams to tell you about. But, still waiting for things to be finalized, so until then I’ll just have to keep you on the edge of your seats and tell you about some of the great wines I’ve had recently. Oh and just in case anyone is thinking it, no, my big news does not involve children.

This week my husband and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary and we did it in style. We cracked up the third and final bottle of Argyle Black Brut 2008 which we shipped back from our honeymoon in Portland, OR.

Color is an amazing deep purple/garnet color. Looks like Pinot Noir but with bubbles. Aromas of black cherry bounce out of the glass. Flavors bursting of currant and blackberry are a delight. Made from 100% Pinot Noir, the grapes are sourced from Knudsen Vineyards located in Willamette Valley AVA, Willamette Valley, OR.

Brian Croser and Rollin Soles saw the benefits the Willamette Valley could provide to their wines with its cooler temps. The region is known for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and in 1987 the duo began using these grapes to produce methode champenoise sparkling wine. Grapes are hand harvested and chilled overnight to 35F before crushing. Chilling the grapes helps to retain the fruit characteristics and limits oxidation.

While the Black Brut is not available nationwide in-store, it is available on the Argyle website for $30, and completely worth it. You can find Argyle Blanc de Blancs a 100% Dijon clone Chardonnay nationally at Total Wine priced at $27.

To donate to the America’s Disaster Relief Truck, currently helping Alabama tornado victims and Mississippi flood victims, click here.

2011© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

2009 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay

I’m experiencing a few changes in my world and hoping some really big ones come soon. In the meantime I find myself falling back to tried and true favorites. While I welcome the monumental changes that I expect and hope come soon, sometimes you just want to stick with familiarity that’s why I recently reached for Columbia Crest’s 2009 Grand Estates Chardonnay.
Aromas were a little closed at first but after some light swirling soft oaky aromas wafted out of the glass. Hints of apple and white fruit hit the palate. The flavors are creamy and buttery true to the new California Chardonnay style, smooth, clean and refreshing. I say new California Chardonnay style because not so long ago, CA Chardonnay tasted like you would pour over popcorn. I find the new styles, lighter, more delicate and very easy drinking.

I’ve covered Columbia Crest in several blogs, I mean why not, they’re affordable and they taste good. Two of the most important factors I can think of when choosing an everyday wine. I don’t want to sound like a broken record and give you the same info over and over. So what info can I dig up that I haven’t already covered…. Here’s something you may not know and it doesn’t have anything to do with the winery but is related to the area.

Mount Rainier located southeast of Seattle is noted as the most prominent mountain in the US. It is also considered to be one of the most hazardous volcanoes in the world. The top of the volcano contains three summits, the highest being named Columbia Crest. A little geography lesson for you today. I’ll throw in a little info about the winery as for those of you who have not seen my previous blogs.

Columbia Crest’s history begins back in 1978 when the first 500 acres of vineyards were planted in what would eventually become Columbia Crest Winery. By 1983 the winery is officially open for business just one year before official appellation (AVA) status is granted to Columbia Valley, WA. By 1997 the winery has one several accolades as well as being listed under Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines, an honor they now receive year after year.

Found at my local BJ’s Wholesale Warehouse for just $8.99.

2011© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

2009 Big House Unchained Naked Chardonnay

Having just returned from a vacation to the Northeast Georgia Mountains, I find myself dreaming of running away to the mountains and making soaps and candles. Instead I face 90 degree temps on a hot and steamy Florida day. Hard to believe, it’s not even summer yet. Guess the best way to survive will be to stock up on some crisp white wines like my latest sample, Big House Unchained Naked Chardonnay 2009.

Pineapple, peach and tropical aromas swirl up through my glass. Flavors are full of citrus and tropical flavors. Mouthfeel is creamy but there is still a nice balance of acidity. The finish provides a little hint of sugar after the tartness subsides.

Bringing a weak and wimpy Chardonnay into the Big House compound wouldn’t do for these winemakers. They decided this Chardonnay needed to be able to stand up for itself. So they threw the traditional California Chardonnay standards to the guard dogs and opted for using steel tank and neutral oak barrels allowing the true fruit flavors to break through. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks meant the grapes were given time off for good behavior, skipping the secondary malolactic fermentation period. This allows the wine to cast off the traditional oaky flavors and take on more of the natural fruit flavors in the Chardonnay grape.

What can I tell you about Big House that I haven’t already covered? Looking around the website I stumble upon one of my favorite things; free stuff! There you’ll find PC wall paper, recipes, videos and you can even have a temporary tattoo mailed to you. While looking at the video, The Birdman Pinot Grigio, I was reminded of a very little known piece of my family history. The Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud, was a relative of mine. Yep, strange but true and even stranger, there’s mention of his family in a newspaper article outlining the murder of my great-great grandfather. Birdman didn’t have anything to do with that murder, I think that was a jealous ex-boyfriend of my great-great grandmother, uh the drama!

Priced at just $10 you won’t have to commit strong arm robbery, or murder, to get yourself some great wine for the upcoming summer months.

2011© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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