Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Points and more points...

The November 30th Issue of the Wine Spectator just dropped - Argentina was featured...here's a list of my Vine Connections Beauties! Yep - this collection of wines are a rockin'...you can find them on the Argentina shelves at your favorite fine wine shop in Texas!

New Wines section in Buying Guide (pg 158 -160)

Luca Beso de Dante 2003 – 92 pts

Mendel Unus 2004 – 92 pts

Tikal Jubilo 2004 – 91 pts

La Posta Malbec Paulucci 2005 – 90 pts

Mendel Malbec 2004 – 90 pts

Susana Balbo Cab Sauv 2003 – 89 pts

Mapema Malbec 2004 – 88 pts

La Posta Bonardo Armando 2004 - 87 pts

In the Aphabetical guide to ARG wines section (pg 180)

BenMarco Expresivo 2003 – 90 pts

BenMarco Cab Sauv 2004 – 87 pts

BenMarco Malbec 2004 – 90 pts

Crios Cab 2004 – 88 pts

Crois Malbec 2005 – 88 pts

Crios Rosé 2006 – 81 pts

Crios Torrontes 2006 – 84 pts

Budini Chardonnay 2005 – 82 pts

Budini Malbec 2004 – 85 pts

Luca Beso de Dante 2003 – 92 pts

Luca Chardonnay 2004 – 88 pts

Luca Syrah 2004 – 91 pts

Mapema Malbec 2004 – 88 pts

Mapema Sauvignon Blanc 2006 – 84 pts

Mapema Tempranillo 2004 – 89 pts

Mendel Malbec 2004 – 90 pts

Mendel Unus 2004 – 92 pts

Susana Balbo Cab Sauv 2003 – 89 pts

Susana Balbo Malbec 2004 – 91 pts

Susana Balbo Brioso 2003 – 91 pts

Tikal Jubilo 2004 – 91 pts

Tikal Amorio 2004 – 92 pts

Tikal Patriota 2004 – 90 pts

Always trust this logo when picking out Argentine wine and Ginjo Sake! Cheers - Ali

Spooktacular Wine

Yes - Halloween is the busiest pizza night of the year - forget football games, Halloween is the biggest evening of all among our favorite pizza parlors! How else can you get all the kids to eat dinner with all the candy lurking (and for parents to relax during the tricks and treating)???

Perfect Pizza Pairings...
  • Pellegrini Carignan
  • Budini Malbec
  • BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon
  • La Posta Bonarda
  • Crios Syrah/Bonarda
  • Handley Cellars Zinfandel
  • Storrs Merlot
It's a fact - Check out the article on www.sfgate.com

BOOO - Ali

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vintage TexaCali Ali

Click on this link from last January...it came up in conversation last week so here it is folks... "Breathtaking Beauty & Grace"

Cheers - Ali

30 Hours with TexaCali Wine Co.

Friday at 5:00pm Robert Pellegrini landed in Austin - exactly 24 hours after harvest ended for Pellegrini Family Vineyards! Talk about running on adrenaline...his trip to Austin wrapped up the most "high-energy" week TexaCali Wine Co. has accomplished yet! Whewwww- we made it!

So back to Bob's visit...Friday night I whisked him quickly from the airport to Spanish Oaks CC, for a beautiful sit-down winemaker dinner with members of the club. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

As for
Saturday, I'd like to thank the accounts we visited for their support and time with Robert while in Austin. Texas is a VERY important market for Pellegrini Family Vineyards and your enthusiasm for Cloverdale Ranch, Olivet Lane and Pellegrini wines are so appreciated!

Also, thanks to everyone who came by the Austin Wine Merchant to meet Mr. Pellegrini and taste
through his Olivet Lane Chardonnay, Olivet Lane Pinot Noir, Pellegrini Carignan and Pellegrin Zin...a total treat for all!

We ended the 30 hours with a stop into Cork & Co., these guys were fortunate to have visited the Pellegrini Winery a few weeks ago and caught the passion-bug for Pellegrini wines like I did many years ago. Nothing like watching a great college football game in the coolest wine bar on Congress Ave.!

Cheers - Ali

Friday, October 27, 2006

This is a BIG DEAL!

Who: Meet Mr. Robert Pellegrini, owner and head winemaker of Pellegrini Family Vineyards of Sonoma.

A fabulous wine tasting and bottle signing of the Olivet Lane Chardonnay, Pellegrini Family Zinfandel and Pellegrini Family Carignan.

This Saturday, 3-5pm

Where: The Austin Wine Merchant (512 W. 6th Street)

Why: Because a winemaker of this caliber rarely makes it to Texas! For four generations, the Pellegrini name has stood behind a family of award-winning, handcrafted California wines produced from grapes grown on their estate vineyards in Sonoma County. Pellegrini Family Vineyards produces estate wines under the Olivet Lane, Cloverdale Ranch and Pellegrini labels, and the great state of Texas can’t get enough of these beautiful wines!

Please bring your favorite wine loving friends to meet Mr. Pellegrini! A signed bottle will make a super-cool gift! Cheers - Ali

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

For the 1000 Folks in Fort Worth tonight!

The 7th Annual

Sixty-Five Roses Wine & Food Extravaganza

Sponsored by Anne. T. and Robert M. Bass

Benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

For the second year, TexaCali Wine Co. is a proud sponsor of the Wine and Roses event benefiting the
North Texas Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Fort Worth.

TexaCali Wine Co. was founded in the spring of 2005 with a mission of assisting family owned wineries across the world in gaining access to Texan’s who love wine! Alison Smith, the owner of TexaCali Wine Co. is a Fort Worth Native, Baylor University Graduate and is actively involved in the promotion of “real winemakers” bottles making it onto dinner tables all over the Lone Star State.

In under two years, TexaCali Wine Co. has grown to representing over 50 wine producers such as Fort Ross Vineyards from the Sonoma Coast, Susana Balbo from Argentina, Colgin Cellars from Napa, Pellegrini Family Vineyards of Sonoma, Handley Cellars from Anderson Valley and the great Burgundy wine from Domaine de Montille in France. TexaCali Wine Co. also represents the best Ginjo Sake producers from Japan – and yes Texas is a huge premium sake market!

Please take time to learn more about TexaCali Wine Co. producers on the web at www.texacaliwine.com and support these family owned producers when shopping for wines at your favorite retailer and ordering wines off a wine list. TexaCali Wine Co. thrives on giving back to the local community such as this great event for the North Texas Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

See you tonight! Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bringing Sexy Back From Argentina!

Vine Connections "Sexy Reds (and Fuchsia) Tour of Texas" is in full swing! Luca Beso de Dante is truly the STAR of the show this week. Click here for details.

I think it's the splash of Malbec that creates a little magic around this sexy cabernet kiss from Argentina. Bring it!

A big shout out to our dinner and late-night-shenanigan companions in Austin! We should start on our own little screenplay now...camels, bathing in India, bubbles and all! Cheers - Ali

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Budini Cab - Wine of the Week!

2004 Budini Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon $10 bucks in Texas!

The Chronicle Podcasts Wine of the Week celebrates the beginning of Cabernet season.

Not only are premium Cabernet grapes finally being harvested in Northern California - the cooler weather means it's time for heartier food and fuller bodied wines, and according to Chronicle wine reporter W. Blake Gray, this one's a steal.

Blake also podcasts about the label featuring a wild pampas cat of Argentina, which lives in the Andes mountain foothills, where Argentina's best wine grapes are grown.

Listen/Download Audio | 3:22 min : 3.26 MB


Cheers - Ali

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fort Worth Knows Malbec

Posted on Wed, Oct. 18, 2006

You should get to know malbec

By Jeff Siegel
Special to the Star-Telegram

A couple of years ago, no less an authority than Robert Parker suggested that malbec would become the next great everyday wine.

It hasn't happened yet, but Parker's reasoning was sound. Malbec -- which is to Argentina what shiraz is to Australia -- is food-friendly, mostly inexpensive and much easier to drink than similarly priced cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.

So why hasn't Parker's prediction come true?

"I think it's because Americans just don't know it," says Leslie George, who runs the wine department at Market Street in Colleyville. "Americans know cabernet, merlot and shiraz. So there's no reason why we should look for something else."

In fact, malbec is something that even Parker and those of us who drink the $10 stuff can agree on.

It's a red wine with black- and blue-fruit flavors; but with more heft than a California merlot, fewer puckery tannins than cabernet and less of an overwhelming presence than shiraz. It pairs with red-wine dishes such as beef as well as white-wine dishes that include plenty of garlic or some fat, such as roast chicken, to balance its fruitiness.

Malbec, a typical New World wine, came to Argentina from France, where it was used in Bordeaux as a blending grape. The Argentines do some blending with malbec, but for the most part they leave it alone, and they have figured out how to make it the star of its own wine. Some of this might be a function of where it's grown, in the high-altitude Mendoza region in the Andes.

You might find malbec from elsewhere (both Chile and California do it), but the Argentines are better at it than anyone else.

These malbecs will give you a good look at what the grape offers. Serve them at room temperature; if they're too cold, they lose some of their distinctive character......

Mapema Malbec 2003 ($22). An outstanding example of what can be done with malbec if you're willing to pay more. All the classic fruit is there, but so are oak and intriguing minerality (something not often seen in this style of wine). It's a bright, lively wine.

Cheers to Fort Worth for being one of the best Malbec supporting cities in Texas! Ali

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Saturday in Austin

Come by Grapevine Market for a taste of Argentina!

It's a come and go tasting from noon - 6pm, I'll actually be there from 3pm - 6pm doing my thing! We'll uncork Mapema, Crios Syrah Bonarda and a few other goodies...please stop in and at least introduce your self!

Click here for directions - http://www.grapevinemarket.com/

Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Last Sunday in The Times...The 2006

Dining & Wine

Wine Under $20

Dry, Delectable and Memorable


Published: October 8, 2006

Dominio del Plata’s 2006 Crios de Susana Balbo is a brilliant example of torrontés, Argentina’s principal dry white. Its floral scents bring to mind a perfume shop. Its citric flavors are delectable.

Ms. Balbo’s torrontés incorporates characteristics of young, light riesling, alberiño and viognier. Given a quick chill, it is a show-stopping aperitif. Its spiciness can enhance Thai, Chinese, Korean and Japanese dishes. $14.99 in Texas. Cheers - Ali

Monday, October 09, 2006

Handley Cellars is Available in Texas

Natural Balance in the Vineyards and the Wine: Part II of an interview with Milla Handley

“We like to get fruit from a lot of places in this valley, because we like to make complex wines. It’s not necessity; it’s intentional.”

by Thom Elkjer
October 5, 2006
Read the full article here...

Have a Great Week Everyone! - Ali

Friday, October 06, 2006


For the 2006 Vintage, The Time Is Now

Fresh, Young Wines Arrive
From Below the Equator;
Newer Than 'Nouveau'
October 6, 2006; Page W5

Sometime during this long weekend, go to the store, pick up a wine from the 2006 vintage, open right away and celebrate the harvest….

Crios Rose of Malbec - $11.99 Charming. Vibrant strawberry color and a juicy nose of strawberries, raspberries and cherries. Fresh and light, with a hint of sweetness. Perfect with a lamb sandwich. Our favorite wine of the tasting.

Crios Torrontes - $15.99 Fascinating and different, with hints of honeydew and real weight. Some lime, some intensity and a real sense of fleshiness. Needs food.

Now, Texas has been drinking these for years, nice to see the rest of the nation finally keeping up! That’s what I’m talking about…Cheers - Ali

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Party for one or many!

Bottles to uncork next...

Pellegrini Sauvignon Blanc
- sipping on this right now, LOVE it, you'll love it to if you like a good amount of acidity and citrus flavors that stand out in this lovely bottle. Retail $12.99

Handley Pinot Noir Rose
- AHH, everytime I open this it's with someone special. Yes, a rose to save for your drinking friends who "get it". Retail $15

Storrs Merlot - DAMN GOOD with a steak hot off the grill, this is such a "date night" wine...oh yeah baby!! Retail $22

Fort Ross Pinot Noir
- Symposium - I don't get to sip on Fort Ross too often since it's so limited. I had a few bottles out this week with buyer
s and WOWZA! This little pinot noir and pinotage blend made friends all over Texas. Retail $25

Mapema Tempranillo - I've written about this so much that I have started dreaming about it! No kidding - the "go-to" bottle in your stash for any night of the week. Went particularly well with Studio 60 last Sunday night! Retail $16

GO TEXAS - BEAT OU!!! Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Attention Austin TexaCali Fans...A Great Cause

Key To The Cure
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
- Sunday, October 15, 2006 Austin, TX

To help raise awareness for all women’s cancers Saks Fifth Avenue Austin and the Entertainment Industry Foundation will partner with Fertile Hope and host KEY TO THE CURE a national shopping weekend, taking place October 12th through October 15th.

Please join the Saks Fifth Avenue Austin for the kick-off party on Wednesday, October 11th from 6-8pm with special guest Kristin Armstrong. Enjoy food and beverages by Starlite, entertainment, auction items, and of course, shopping. Tickets to attend the kickoff party are $35, with 100% donated to Fertile Hope.

Saks Fifth Avenue
Arboretum Market
9722 Great Hills Trail
Austin, TX 78759

During the kick-off and the four-day shopping event, 2% of store sales will be donated to Fertile Hope. Saks Fifth Avenue Austin will be hosting an in-store party open to the public on October 12. Events include henna tattoos, chair massages, mini manicures, auction items, and food sampling from many local restaurants.

Tickets for Kick-Off Party

To purchase tickets, please click here.

A Great Cause and Great Shopping! Be sure to grab a glass of Handley Cellars Chardonnay or Susana Balbo's Crios Cabernet! Cheers - Ali

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Out of Gas

So I'm back in Austin for a day, sitting on my couch, hardly able to move from a 90 minute hot yoga class today. Nothing like clearing your mind after an exhausting week - though a very successful week. Better get your hands on the 2003 Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon before the rest of the country finds out how incredible this vintage is! Seriously.

Looking ahead, it's an even bigger week and month. A winemaker from Argentina, friends from California and Colorado drop in, then a visit from Mr. Pellegrini to lead a few dinners in Austin and San Antonio to wrap up the month. I'm looking into hiring a maid to at least help me with my laundry and dry cleaning, everything else...I'm two steps ahead. Like I was told many years ago when entering into the world of wine "never take your foot off the peddle"...yep, I'm in the fast lane for sure, should probably buy a new car next.

Good night, Ali