Thursday, January 26, 2012

Italian Wines, Don’t Forget About It!

Tenuta Ca’ Bolani Friuli Aquileia DOC Pinot Grigio and FeudoPrincipi di Butera, Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT
Reason number 202 why moving to the NE Georgia mountains was a good move; the ability to easily travel by car to other states. This past weekend my husband and our cat Daisy made the trek to Nashville. I was amazed we were able to get there on just one tank of gas. Granted the trip took 4.5 hours since there’s no interstate cutting across Georgia but when we lived in Florida, it would have taken us 4 hours just to get out of the state. Oh the possibilities, spring in DC, summer in Boone, fall in Williamsburg, Christmas in Ashville. Now if I could just drive to Europe, well until that’s doable, I’ll just have to drink some Italian wines here on my own soil. Two recent samples Tenuta Ca’ Bolani Friuli Aquileia DOC Pinot Grigio and Feudo Principi di Butera, Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT can take me away even while sitting on my couch.

Tenuta Ca’ Bolani Friuli Aquileia DOC Pinot Grigio 2010
Floral and tropical aromatics, flavors of under ripe white peaches and chalky minerals. Finish is full of tart citrus.
Region – Cervignano del Friuli, Udine, Italy
Varietal – 100% Pinot Grigio
Alcohol – 12.5%
SRP $14

Located in Italy’s north-eastern region, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Named as a DOC in 1975 the region encompasses 17 communes (townships) in the province of Udine. Known for its ideal growing conditions, Aquileia was founded in 181 BC and is still intact today. The terroir provides the wines with a clay and mineral flavor. Close proximity to the Adriatic Sea provides for a maritime climate, allowing for sunny days and cool nights to wash over the grapes, resulting in fresh and fruity wines.

Feudo Principi di Butera, Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT 2008
Nose is full of spice, cassis and vanilla. Flavors are dry and fruity. Good structure and balance between cherry and spice. Medium bodied with a long and dry finish. I often find Old World Wines a bit too dry for me but this was just the right balance.

Region – District of Buterain the Province of Caltranissetta in the Riesi DOC Sicily (now that’s a mouthful)
Varietal – Nero d'Avola
Alcohol – 13%
SRP - $15

Feudo Principi di Butera estate tends to 334 acres of vineyards located in Sicily. The hills, sunny days, altitude and nearness to the sea are ideal conditions for growing premium grapes. The estate which once belonged to the Branciforte and Lanza di Scalea dynasties, took the name from the first Sicilian Prince Ambrogio Branciforte. Branciforte was named Prince of Butera by King Philip II of Spain, in 1543.
I was just thinking about travel and where are those flying cars we’re all suppose to have now? I also want one of those conveyors you get on and it takes you through the shower, does your hair, makeup and dresses you. Ah, now that would be living!

If you would like to send samples for my review, please contact me at

2012© Kellie Stargaard.  All Rights Reserved.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

James Oatley TIC TOK Cabernet Sauvignon, Mudgee Australia

We all have clocks; internal ones, the kind you hang on the wall or wake up to and the ones that are more in our mind. I recently saw a friend post a comment on Facebook about her 20th high school reunion and how could it have arrived already. Many of us view time as an inevitable and unstoppable measure of periods in our lives. It can be viewed positively as the “good times” we had or in a less positive light as the time that is slipping away. Mostly I only view my time in the slipping away sense when I’m crazy busy and can’t seem to get everything done in the day. Then there’s those days when I watch the clock and wonder if it’s a respectable time to open a bottle of wine. Today is one of those days but since it’s still too early, I’ll just have to think about the bottle of James Oatly Tik Tok Cabernet Sauvignon I had recently. I do feel like time is ticking by on me getting this blog finished so forgive me if it’s a short one this week.

Aromas of black cherry and cassis.  With aromas carrying over to the flavors, the wine is fruit forward with complexity, balance and soft tannins. This isn’t a bold and in your face cabernet but a more subtle wine. This makes the wine feel more sophisticate than your average $15 bottle.

Drink Now to 2016
Alc/vol 13.5%
RS 0.47 g/L
pH 3.56
TA 5.91 g/L
SRP - $14.99

The 2010 Cabernet is a cross-continent blend of cabernet sauvignon grapes grown in Mudgee North Western Australia (66%) and Frankland, WA (28%). Bob Oatley is credited with bringing Australian wine to the rest of the world. His success with his Rosemount Estate Chardonnay, launched Oatley into wine stardom. He also is credited with helping to stock American retail shelves with Australian Shiraz. Having learned agriculture, international trading and markets while working the coffee and cocoa trade market, Oatley’s reach continues to span continents. Robert Oatley wines opened a Petaluma, CA office in 2008, bringing those tasty and affordable wines to the US.

I’ve done a few blogs on James Oatley wines, for more info, click here.

I have a lot of those “good times” memories and maybe that’s what many of us are trying to recapture. While I no longer find dancing until 5:00AM or playing drinking games until the wee morning items very appealing, there is a comfort in knowing I can still enjoy “good times”. Those times now are spent sipping wine while overlooking the countryside at a local winery or exploring the little towns in the NE Georgia.

While time may be passing by, you’re never too old to grab time by the reigns and take charge. My only complaint is there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on my plate.

If you would like to send samples for my review, please contact me at

2012© Kellie Stargaard.  All Rights Reserved.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Un4seen Red Wine 2009 and Un4seen White Wine 2010

Unforeseen, the mere mention of the word puts me on alert. Something unexpected looming, just waiting to pounce when I least expect it. There it is, the unforeseen, an unexpected event requiring a reaction from us, be it good or bad. I consider myself rather brave but I have to admit, when it comes to the unknown, I get butterflies in my stomach. I’m a list maker, a planner and when things don’t go just as I expected, I don’t always know how to react.  I have to admit, I don’t always know how much I’ll like the wine samples sent to me but the wine I’ll be discussing here was (you have been warned, here comes the pun) an unforeseen welcome, Un4seen Red Wine and Un4seen White Wine.

Un4seen Red Wine blend 2009
It took awhile for the aromas and flavors to open but after about 20 minutes in the glass, a personality began to develop with scents of earth, red fruits and spice. Flavors were faint but after some swirling hints of plum, cherry and spicy black pepper emerged. Medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel and well structured tannins. I typically find Petit Verdot to be a very perfumey wine but not pick up the notes in this wine. May have been an off night for me.

Varietal - of Zinfandel, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot
Appellation - California (Lodi, Clarksburg)
Alcohol – 13.9%
TA – 6.1 g/L
pH – 3.6
RS – 6.2 g/L
SRP - $10.99

As you can see the Un4seen Red is a blend of four varietals, each harvested and fermented on their own, then blended. The blend of the four varietals creates a harmonious flavor combo with great complexity as each sip brings out new flavors and aromas.

Un4seen White Wine blend 2010
Tantalizing aromas of honey and tropical fruits. Flavors burst through with apple and mango. Finish is lush and full of perfumed floral notes. It’s like summer in a glass. Something many of us can use this time of year.

Varietal - Chardonnay, Semillon, Viogner and Moscato
Appellation -  California (Lodi, Clarksburg)
Alcohol – 13.9%
TA – 6.1 g/L
pH – 3.53
RS – 7 g/L
SRP - $10.99

A blend of Chardonnay, Semillon, Viogner and Moscato

Seems like every time I turn around, there’s another change affecting me. The dismissal of co-workers or contacts that have a vast and very important knowledge of what we do. The passing of my 19 year old cat, Katundra, who was with me through most of my 20’s and all of my 30’s. While I contemplate what the future may bring for me after all these changes, I know it’s up to me to rise above and continue moving forward. So maybe it doesn’t have to be such a foreboding word. Maybe it’s a positive change in our path; an unforeseen fortune, an unforeseen adventure, an unforeseen opportunity. Hmm, fortune, adventure, opportunity; I like the sound of those words.

If you would like to send samples for my review, please contact me at

2012© Kellie Stargaard.  All Rights Reserved.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Clif Family Winery The Climber Red Wine 2010

Happy New Year! Every year after the ball drops, we vow to change bad habits, focus on the things that are truly important to us, spend more time with our families, etc. In essence every year we single out all the things we feel could use a little tweaking and vow to make a change. Many of these resolutions don’t last 3 days; most others will be a distant memory before we find ourselves gorging on Valentine’s candy. So why do we do it? Is it the hope that we can become something other than we are now or is there some kind of internal trigger set off at the stroke of twelve every January 1st that says, you must make changes? As I contemplate a better approach to the New Year’s Resolution, I can’t help but notice my choice in wine last night, need not change one bit. Clif Family Winery The Climber Red Wine Blend, was a perfect start to a new year and new wines.

Aromas full of cherry and blackberry. Raspberry and vanilla combine with firm and well structured tannins. A hint of black pepper in the finish rounds out the flavors.
Varietals - 50% Zinfandel, 36% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Sirah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot
Alcohol - 13.9%
SRP - $14

I bet the Clif Family is hoping to see another year like 2010. A wet spring was followed by a long, cool growing season and some late heat spikes that helped the grapes reach full maturity. While the weather was a bit like a rollercoaster, the unpredictable weather resulted in subtle yet elegant wines. For more info on Clif Family Wines, click here.

Last week I read an article by a local columnist challenging us to make a big change this year, one that would surprise even our closest friends and family. Since I made a huge change last year by moving from Tampa, FL to NE Georgia I’m racking my brain trying to figure out what I could do to top that one. I think it’s important to take a chance, and not become too complacent in your current life or situation. Too often, I hear people complain about their lives yet they never make an effort to change it. Many people didn’t know my husband and I were even considering the move until 6 weeks prior to loading the truck and setting out for our new adventure. While we had each other to offer support through the stress and uncertainty, all you really need is belief in you.

When we began talking about moving, I pictured myself living another way. One outside of a subdivision, away from miles and miles of asphalt but instead surrounded by acres of land. It was exciting and frightening at the same time. Whether it’s giving up smoking or breaking away from a relationship that is no longer working, start with small steps, and then few bigger steps until you see yourself reaching your goal. “You are what you are and you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are and you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind.” – Zig Ziglar.

Hmm, maybe I can find a resolution or two to work on after all….

If you would like to send samples for my review, please contact me at
2012© Kellie Stargaard.  All Rights Reserved.

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