Sunday, July 30, 2006

D Magazine's Best of...

Cool. My phone and email account are BLOWIN' UP this week due to the TexaCali Wine Co. #1 Food and Wine Best Bet in the August Issue of D Magazine. I'm uncorking some old favorites and brand new releases - don't miss this one folks!

BEST BET Dallas Uncorked This month, Dallas Uncorked joins forces with TexaCali Wine Co. for an exceptional night of wine featuring boutique producers such as Susana Balbo, Pellegrini Family Vineyards, Fort Ross, and Handley Cellars. Kitchen 1924 provides lovely appetizers to boot. Aug 8, 6:30–8:30 pm. Kitchen 1924. 214-999-0820. Cheers - Ali

Friday, July 28, 2006

Highest Award Ever Given...

Best of Nation
& Double Gold Medal

Given to KANBARA
"Bride of the Fox" by the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

This is a BIG DEAL people, this competition has the most comprehensive sake category among all wine competitions! I was fortunate along with a few other Texans to visit the brewery in Japan last February - way cool! Also, for those of you who attend the Live from Japan sake seminar last April, Dr. Sato was one of our visiting guests and is the mastermind behnd Kanbara.

A few facts about Bride of the Fox...

Quality Grade: Junmai Daiginjo (at least 40% of rice grain polished away)
Rice: Gohyakumangoku
Alcohol: 16.5%

Tasting Notes: Intense aromas of grilled nuts, pistachio and a hint of warm liquid cocoa. In the mouth, the flavors follow through with nuts and melon as it heads for a crisp finish, and then just a hint of lingering sweetness. It is at once savory and sweet, and has enough power to make it a great match with a wide variety of food pairings. A truly distinctive sake.

Brewery Name: Kaetsu Shuzo (founded in 1880) Brewery Location: Niigata Prefecture

Toji (Master Brewer): Mr. Yamaga Kenichiro - he has been brew master there for 6 decades.

The story behind the name: This wonderful sake was inspired by local legends about mysterious lights that appeared on nearby Mt. Kirin in the distant past. Locals claim the lights are paper lanterns carried in the fox-bride procession. This mysterious event is celebrated in Niigata every year in the fox-bride festival. Kaetsu uses rice grown on the high plains and pure mountain water to brew superior sake, both rich in aroma and clean in taste.

Cheers - Ali

Pellegrini Tasting on Saturday

at Beeman's on I-10 in San Antonio! Please stop by to try all the current releases of the Pellegrini Family wines of Sononma.

The NY Times recently awarded Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon the "best value" cabernet in Sonoma County!

I'll be there pouring and chatting it up from Noon to 6pm....see you tomorrow! Cheers - Ali

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Snoop Doggin' Wines

Check out TexaCali Wine Co. according to the words of Snoop...

Fo shizzle the funniest thing I've seen in weeks! Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Where is TexaCali Ali?

Well, the signs on the left signify a flat tire change at midnight after a day with Pellegrini Wines in San Antonio. Yes, this DAMN HOT summer is kicking my 1999 Acura's ASS. I don't want to even think about all the miles I've put on my poor old companion this month alone...soon - soon a new vehicle will come - a real knight in shining armor to swiftly carry me around (and my bag of wines).

So what do I do driving around Texas each week? For those of you in
the wine trade, well - you see me.

But for those of you that simply enjoy wine, just think of the entire supply chain - how that grape is turned into wine, bottled, aged, sold, delivered, stored, sold to a retailer and put on a wine list. Well, it takes a lot of something special to shine through all the mass (and mess) of wine these days. And there's a whole lot of Texas highways and backroads that I must travel to make sure Texans are getting the good stuff!

That's right where I come in, unfortunately for my old car Texas can only be covered one day at a time, one buyer at a time, one wine at a mile at a time in between.

Cheers to Sterling Acura of Austin, where my old companion is currently undergoing a bit of reconstructive surgery - Ali

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tasting Today in Austin

Please stop by Grape Vine Market on W. Anderson from 12noon to 6pm today. I'll be there chatting it up about my favorite Argentine sippers this summer. The following wines are featured:

Budini Chardonnay
Crios Torrontes
Crios Syrah Bonarda
Mapema Tempranillo
BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon

See you later! Ali

Saturday, July 15, 2006

San Antonio Express News

published last Wednesday in the Express News "Wine Matters Column"...

Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec 2005 Argentina
Rich, well-balanced, spicy malbec rosé made by the traditional method. Dry.
$12-$14, Western Beverage,Central Market

This is available many other places, just ask your favorite retailer for Crios! Cheers - Ali

Wine and the Backrows...

Baptists and drinking: Drunkenness, not alcohol, is the real problem...article published today in the Dallas Morning News. Finally. Cheers - Ali (Baylor Class of '94)

When remembering the Alamo...

you may now sip on the wines of Pellegrini. Cloverdale Ranch, Olivet Lane and Pellegrini Family bottles can now be found throughout San Antonio!

From Boudros on the Riverwalk to Beemans out on I-10, just ask your favorite retailer or restaurant for a bottle! In fact, Peter Beeman himself has selected the entire Pellegrini line-up as his values wines of the week. According to the crowd at his tasting bar last night, each wine is showing beautifully! Cheers - Ali

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Money Shot

From the top of Rockpile Road Vineyard last Saturday afternoon...NICE!


A few notes and pictures from my weekend in Northern California ...

Storrs Winery in Santa Cruz was my first stop, which I was lucky enough to catch Steve and Pamela Storrs at the winery, meet Mrs. Christie of "ChristieVineyards" and spend some quality time with their national sales manager, Terry while he drove me around vineyards and the land where Storrs is building a beautiful winery...did you know that Christie Chardonnay vines are over 80 years old? I don't think I've seen Chardonnay vines this old in California before!

Next I drove up HWY 1 to San Francisco and was off to meet with Daniel Donahoe in his family's ROCKIN' house in Cole Valley. I tasted his new Teira Sauvignon Blanc and 2004 Zinfandel. Both wines where quite beautiful and the Sauv Blanc is going to be especially good for us Texans in this long summer heat! After a few sips of Teira I was off to the Mission to meet a dear friend for dinner at Range. Just an incredible day in the Bay Area.

Friday morning was full of meetings and tastings in Dry Creek (big annoucements coming soon!) then had a wonderful time with Guy and Judy Davis of Davis Family Vineyards. Guy busted out a brand new bottle of Gusto Sauvignon Blanc he makes from New Zealand which was soo lovely, bright and crisp with a smooth mid-palate. A terrific pairing with goat cheese by the way! We wrapped up Friday over dinner a local favorite Zazu while sipping on Davis Family Pinot Noir, which of course just AMAZING.

Saturday's big event was the Valdez Family Wines release party on Rockpile Road Vineyard - and I mean BIG EVENT. No doubt this takes a place among my top wine experiences so afternoon full of family, friends, food and extremely killer wine. All details will be posted soon (including pictures) on TexaCali Wine. The evening finished up with an incredible dinner with the Handal family at Zin, right down the street from The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg.

Sunday was spent with friends in Dry Creek and ended with a gorgeous evening at Duchamp Winery with dear Pat and Peter Lenz. They paired the Duchamp wines with grilled Tuna and greens, then with fresh strawberries, and lovely little bites of sweet cookies and cheese and soo many other nibbles on the table! Their syrah's are fascinating in every way a solid syrah should taste - look out Texas - we are awaiting TABC approval - make room on your dinner table now!

California was breathtaking as usual, but glad to be back in Austin and share the stories and enthusiasm of so many wine producers!! Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

One more thought today...

Prosecco is my sparkling of choice today in honor of Luca Toni...
the one reason I watched the
2006 World Cup this year. GO ITALY !!!

Only Sparkling and Bubbles Tonight

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

I'm offline until Monday July 10th - stay tuned for a full report of my quick trip to California. Exciting week(end) ahead for TexaCali Wine Co.

Austin fireworks show pictured above...
Cheers - Ali