Friday, April 28, 2006

Davis Family Cabernet Tonight in Dallas!

Ok all you lovers of big, bold and beautiful Napa Cabernet! Grand Tastings is hosting a killer Cab event (4430 McKinney Ave, Dallas, 75205 - (214) 559-3491). A VERY rare occasion, 2003 Davis Family Cabernet Sauvignon will be poured. Go to for pricing and details...

Guy Davis' 2003 Cab is a combination of Stagecoach Vineyard at 2000 feet above the Napa Valley, and a small block at the Rutherford/St. Helena border (Lewelling). This blockbuster wine pushes forward both red and black currants, loads of baking spice and a mocha-like finish of cocoa and coffee. Flavors that are lush and ripe, but still bright - enhanced by full mouthcoating textures...perfectly balanced - I WISH I HAD A CASE TO MYSELF!! Cheers - Ali

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bon Appetit!

Crazy how life and career can become full-circle…tonight I co-hosted an incredibly delicious event for Bon Appetit magazine in Austin at Kenichi. I’m sleepy so I’ll keep this short - but so cool that Bon Appetit magazine has been an “old faithful” in my life as a foodie and gourmet wanna-be! Check out the November 2001 copy I pulled down from my kitchen cookbook rack tonight, literally helped me create my first turkey feast (no I’m not talking ex-boyfriends here! Argh.).

Tonight I was given the opportunity to speak about Ginjo Sake from Japan, Torrontes wine from Argentina and Olivet Lane Pinot Noir from California to a group of publishing and advertising professionals - who all walked away with raised eyebrows about their new liquid discoveries.

So cheers to an incredible food and entertaining at home magazine for the ages, I’m thankful to have contributed to “ah-ha” moments once again…
Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Because I was up to my ears in Ginjo Sake

last week...I missed this one! The Fort Worth Business Press listed Fort Ross Symposium as a go-to springtime sipper. "Fort Ross Vineyard Symposium Red Wine 2002 ($29.99) — This one contains 96 percent pinot noir, with the rest pinotage. The wine rests on the tongue and then opens with concentrated cherry and a mineral crispness that is not too heavy for springtime drinking."

It's available at King's on Berry and Central Market on Hulen for all you Tarrant County Wine Lovers! Cheers - Ali

Monday, April 24, 2006

This is the one...


2002 Cloverdale Ranch

Cabernet Sauvignon

"Sonoma’s Best Value"
"Leaner style than most, with well-integrated fruit and oak."
April 5, 2006
I must have recieved 200 emails about this, so posting it again. Jordan didn't even make the cut, so save some cash and buy Cloverdale Ranch next time! Cheers - Ali

CBS Austin Features "Texas Sake Tour"

Yes - my phone rang all weekend after CBS aired a great feature on the "Texas Sake Tour" last week. For those of you who missed it, stay tuned for a webfile soon to download and watch.

Here's a picture of Miho being interviewed on camera, who is the Master Brewer of Moon on the Water, literally the "Helen Turley" of Japan! Cheers - Ali

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Behind these Hazel Eyes at Whole Foods

So, I'm walking into Whole Foods in Arlington today alongside a pretty blonde gal which just happened to be my hometown girl - Kelly Clarkson. I know I know, sounds cheesy but I think she sings her guts out and writes some pretty cool lyrics too. So, cool me of course - not, waited until I was all set up for an Olivet Lane tasting in the wine department before I got up the nerve to say something to her.

A minute or two pass before she walks into the back of the wine department (looking for milk and eggs) shopping like the rest of everyone at Whole Foods. I whisper over to her "Hey Kelly", she says "oh hi again", and then I said "I think you kick-ass and love your latest CD, I so appreciate your music, it's not everyday I get to tell a grammy award winning artist from my hometown that she rocks!".

Kelly then says with a big smile "thank you so much, I wrote those songs b/c I got my heart annihilated". Then I say, "yeah, you could have written those just for me, our eyes are both Hazel (laughing) ". Then we both smiled real goofy big and gave each other a hug. Pretty cool little story...and yes, the Olivet Lane Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were a total hit too! Cheers - Ali

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Wandering Japanese Part 1

What a great couple of days with John Gauntner, Miho, Midori and Dr. Sato in Texas! Thanks to all of you who have come out to taste and learn about Ginjo Sake with us.

Today is the last day in Dallas, so please don't forget the 5:30-7:00pm tasting at Chateau Wine Market with our "Wandering Japanese" guests! Man, I have taken some super cool pictures, but my camera isn't cooperating this morning...stay tuned for pics of this week very soon - Cheers Ali

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Current May 15 Issue of Wine Spectator Lists

2003 BenMarco Malbec as one of the “Top 100 wines rated 90 points + for under $25”. Now listen up, all the 2003 has either been bought up, cellared or consumed!

The Good News...
The 2004 is smokin', here's a description by my pal Wilford Wong, the Cellarmaster for BevMo in Cali..."A tremendous example of the varietal, the '04 Ben Marco Malbec exhibits a well-defined mix of red fruit and mineral flavors; zippy and fine in the aftertaste; excellent depth. 91 points."

Just betting the 2004 is going to go QUICK, and the BenMarco Cabernet too! In stock at your favorite Texas wine retailer. Cheers - Ali

Live from Japan

Get Ready Houston, Austin and Dallas! Everything is set for next week's visit from John Gauntner and the Vine Connections Sake Producers...all details are here on my website .

Truly a once in a lifetime hands-on learning experience about Japan's most premium Sake and the history behind them all. Please email me with any questions! Cheers - Ali (Pictured is John Gauntner and Mr. Shunichi Sato, producer of Bride of the Fox and Wings of Fortune brewed at Kaetsu Shuzo in the Niigata Prefecture, founded in 1880).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kistler, Flowers, Montelena, Rochioli, Far Niente

are all Chardonnay producers I use to throw down some serious cash on - truly wines that turned me onto my love of wine. So over the last 12 years or so, I've drifted away from big, bold and rich California Chardonnay.

But one smokin' glass of the 2002 Fort Ross Chardonnay produced from the ridges high above the Sonoma Coast brought me back to the good ol-days! Now I know Texans love their chardonnay - so here's a chance to try one that is brand spanking new to the Texas market - it is sure to become a classic in your household, most certainly a staple among fine wine lists in restaurants too! It's spooky burgundian like, maybe why I enjoy it so.

Fort Ross Chardonnay is one of the most highly acclaimed chardonnays among the world wine trade and media today. The most incredibly well balanced and beautiful (premium) California Chard I've tasted in years - maybe a decade. Strong words - but I stand strongly behind them. The only other one at this price point that stands as tall is Guy Davis' Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, which doesn't last a week on shelves anywhere in Texas since he's been producing a few years longer (and we Texans know a good thing or two...)

So jump to it! I urge you to look for Fort Ross at your favorite wine store or just ask for it - it's here, sitting in a chilly wine distributor warehouse in Austin - ready to be consumed by those who get their hands on it first! I promise, it won't let you down. Suggested Retail $32
Cheers - Ali

Monday, April 10, 2006

What time is it?

It's time to load up on Sauvignon Blanc in Texas!! Here's your list to print off for your next run to the wine store...

Eloise- a killer bottle with a 1940's broncing Cowgirl on the label. This is popping up on wine lists all over Texas - so keep your eye out while dining too! SRP $14

Pellegrini Sauvignon Blanc - a true favorite of mine for many years. The juice comes from the Lake County region just Northeast of Napa. Full of bright citrus notes, but a beautiful stoney nose (much like walking past a wall of austinstone after a spring rain shower). SRP $12

mapema - THE ONLY ARGENTINE SAUVIGNON BLANC YOU SHOULD SPEND YOUR MONEY ON! See the blog posting a few weeks ago. I can't say enough great things about the producers and the amazing juice in the bottle. SRP $14

Handley Cellars - this is my favorite bottle to give to others. Its magical flavors will put a smile on faces anywhere! Milla Handley uses incredile fruit from Dry Creek and works her own magic in her Anderson Valley winery. Truly a bottle to enjoy with friends! SRP $16

Loica - a great value from Chile, at $10 a bottle, it's easy to keep a case around at all times. Grab this while you can, it doesn't last on shelves long.

Cheers - Ali

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet - Best Value in the NY Times today!!

"Our No. 2 wine, the Pellegrini Cloverdale Ranch, was a pronounced example of the leaner style of Sonoma cabernet. This wine was decidedly not a fruit bomb, and so is counter to the currently popular style, yet it was balanced, and, at $22, it was our best value."

I've been preaching this for YEARS, you should always have a least 6 bottles of this killer Cabernet at home! Read all about Cloverdale Ranch in today's NY Times...

Ask for the Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet at your favorite wine shop, if they don't have it tell them to call me or Prestige Wine Cellars, their Texas distributor. Cheers! Ali

Last Night In Houston

A special thanks to Michael L. and Julie B. for kickin' in full gear last night during the downtown Spec's "Tuesday Tasting". TexaCali Wine Co. was represented quite well with Eloise Sauvignon Blanc, Tikal Patriota, Olivet Lane Pinot and Chardonnay.

Terrific to meet all the wonderful Spec's customers at the event, the feedback on the wines were and are very appreciated - "Ali, 5 stars on the Tikal","Eloise is a great value - I'm taking a case home", "oh the Olivet Lane wines stole the show tonight, what beautiful wines and we love the price!"...just a few comments I parked in my memory bank to share today with the world.

Customer tastings are my very favorite part of TexaCali Wine Co., I love - I'm talking love it!! Nothing beats a smile on a strangers face after they sip one of my wine treasures. Thanks for making my late drive back to Austin a pleasure indeed.
Cheers - Ali

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day Is Here!

Oh Yeah! You know what Opening Day really means? Spring has Sprung, time to fire up the BBQ's and enjoy the warm (not hot yet) Texas sunshine! Of course, being from Texas and I must admit to uncorking my favorite bottle AFTER a nice and tasty cold beer to celebrate Opening Day in true Texas spirit.

Here are a few "Opening Day" Wine Suggestions we should all do-a-little-dance about hearing the crack-of-the-bat".

Crios Torrontes $14.99 (light, bright and refreshing white wine from Susana Balbo)

Handley Chardonnay $20 (beautifully soft texture with a hint of vanilla)

Pellegrini Carignan $19 (big berry fruit without any tannins)

Cloverdale Ranch Merlot $19 (Perfect with a juicy burger hot off the grill)

Fort Ross Symposium $22 (complex blend of Pinot Noir and Pinotage - lighter in style, so this would go terrific with grilled salmon)

Block 16 $50 (a superior cabernet blend from Napa, open this one for your closest friends if you dare to share!)

Cheers to Opening Day! Alison