Friday, December 29, 2006

K & L Wine Merchants buyer Mulan Chan says the best values are found in Spain and southern France.

So I've written about my dear friend Mulan a few times on the blog over the past few years, she's quoted today in a very cool article in the San Francisco Chronicle...MULAN is a wine expert on wines of Southern France and a hand full of other wine regions around the world! Smart and Pretty - Mulan Rocks!!

Cheers - Ali

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Packing it Up Today

So I'm trying to motivate this morning, I'm heading up to Dallas and Fort Worth for the Christmas Holiday. First things first, I've got my case of wine and bubbles already tucked in the car. Like all of us in the wine business, this time of year is exhausting and over the last few years Christmas Day has been somewhat a blurr from the 365 days leading up to Dec. 25 each year. I love the current BMW commercial running on the television - you know, the one where the 2 little kids scream at the top of their lungs when they open Santa's gift on Xmas morning - makes me laugh so hard each time I see or hear those screams of joy! This will be the last "grandkidless" year in our family, my brother and his beautiful wife are expecting their how the world spins madly on. I'm in the midst of setting goals for my wineries, distributors and for myself for 2007. So much to accomplish and look forward to in the next set of 365 days. The TexaCali Wine Co. Year in Review will be posted soon...

Here's hoping all of you have been a little naughty and nice...wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Cozy Holiday week ahead!

Cheers - Ali

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Spec's In Austin - SNAP!

Well Well, a big shout out to the new Spec's team in Austin. It's not everyday this single girl gets marriage proposals and hugs from a dozen or more guys! Oh - count me in to help out anytime fellas! Big Smile!! And thanks for supporting TexaCali Wine Co. family owned producers - always.

The new store is located within a stones throw from 290 off of Airport Blvd. I've received quite a few emails asking where this is...coming from the Westlake and North Austin areas - take 183 and exit Lamar - turn right and then left at Airport Blvd - Spec's is on your left - Hoover's Online headquarters is right across the street.

5775 Airport Blvd. Ste. 100 Map
Austin 78752
Web site

See you there! Ali

A few remaining cases left in Texas

Wow - I can hardly believe this- here's a real treat. There are a few cases of the 2002 Fort Ross Chardonnay available in Texas. It's around $29

This is not a typical California Chardonnay, but is more in the style of a Burgundian grand cru. Layers of luscious white peach, ripe apples, and honeyed aromatics, interlaced with the vineyard’s signature minerality evolve into a smooth, elegant finish. The generous flavors of this graceful Chardonnay are balanced by just enough acid to create a lively, well-structured wine that can be enjoyed now or cellared for several years.

Please send me an email asking where to find this gorgeous wine! Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gifts for Under the Tree

For all you collectors out there, this list is what is currently on the shelves in Texas - let me know if you need help searching!


  • 2004 BenMarco Malbec 90 Points, Wine Spectator
  • 2003 BenMarco Expresivo 90 Points, Wine Spectator – 91 Points, Tanzer
  • 2005 Crios Malbec 90 Points, Top 100 Wines of the Year, Wine Enthusiast
  • 2005 La Posta Paulucci Malbec, 90 Points Wine Spectator
  • 2004 Luca Chardonnay 91 Points, Tanzer
  • 2004 Luca Syrah 91 Points, Wine Spectator
  • 2002 Mapema Primera Zona 90 Points, Wine & Spirits
  • 2002 Mendel Unus 92 Points, Wine Spectator
  • 2002 Mendel Malbec 90 Points, Wine Spectator
  • 2004 Susana Balbo Malbec 91 Points, Wine Spectator
  • 2004 Tikal Patriota 90 Points, Wine Spectator
  • 2004 Tikal Jublio 91 Points, Wine Spectator


  • 2002 Fort Ross Reserve Pinot Noir 92 Points, Wine Enthusiast
  • 2002 Fort Ross Pinot Noir 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
  • 2002 Fort Ross Pinotage 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
  • 2003 Fort Ross Chardonnay 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
  • 2003 Davis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Gold Medal, Best of Class, 2006 Country Fair Wine of the World Competition
  • 2004 Davis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, Best in Competition, Gold Medal, Best of Class, 2006 Country Fair Wine of the World Competition
  • 2004 Davis Family Vineyards Syrah Gold Medal, 2006 San Francisco Wine Competition
  • 2003 Duchamp Estate Winery Syrah Cuvee Trouvee 90 Points, Robert Parker
  • 2004 Handley Cellars Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc Gold Medal, Sonoma County Fair
  • 2003 Handley Cellars Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer 93 points, Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wines of 2006
  • 2003 Lewelling Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 91 Points, Robert Parker
  • 2003 Lewelling Wight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 94 Points, Robert Parker
  • 2004 Pellegrini Family of Sonoma Carignan 4 Stars (out of 5), Restaurant Wine

New Zealand

  • 2005 Davis Family Gusto Sauvignon Blanc 91 Points, Beverage Tasting Institute

There are numerous high-scoring wines among TexaCali Wine Co. producers who were not included on this list because wines have already sold-out. Not to worry – I’ll keep you posted when the next vintage arrives!

Cheers - Ali

Where to Buy...

Well, I've received just under a hundred requests this week asking where certain TexaCali Wines are available in Texas. Here's a short list (and I mean short since the wine and sake is available to each and every retailer in Texas - just ask for it if you don't see it).

I've narrowed the following list down according to the amount of TexaCali Wine Co. wines they've brought in for the Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years Holidays...

  • Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits - especially the one on Preston Rd. near NWHY.
  • The Wine Therapist
  • Pogo's
  • Whole Foods - Loma Alto location.
  • Central Market Dallas - but get there before Saturday afternoon b/c the wines sell out fast!

North Dallas
  • Mr. G's - best collection of TCWC producers in the state!
  • Far Pointe Cellars - Frisco (great wine bar too!)
  • Corner Wines - West Plano off of Preston Rd. near Spring Creek Blvd.

MidCities -
  • Far Pointe Cellars - Southlake

Fort Worth
  • Central Market - ask for JR
  • Put a Cork in It - ask for Chris

Waco -
  • Dicortes on Lake Air - ask for Lori

San Angelo -
  • In Vino Veritas - everything over $25 can be found here

Austin -
  • Cork & Co. - by the glass or take home a bottle.
  • Beverage World - next to the Whip In
  • Central Market - both locations.
  • Austin Wine Merchant
  • Grapevine Market - check out the Sake!

San Antonio
  • Central Market
  • Joe Sag's
  • Beeman's on I-10
  • Bootleggers

Houston -
  • The Tasting Room
  • Spec's various locations - the motherload is at their Smith store - sake too!
  • Central Market
  • Houston Wine Merchant
  • Le Chateau - big POINT wines here

Again - this is just the short list, there are hundreds of great wine shops and stores that support all TexaCali Wine producers across the Lone Star State - just ask!

Happy shopping - Ali

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Have you been here lately???

It's 80 degrees in Austin today - breaking out the Crios Rose of Malbec this afternoon for sure!

Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

For the TexaCali Wine Inner Circle promised from the email that went out today -
here's what the Crios wines look like. Yes, we all need help
remembering what we are looking for once we walk into the wine store!
Cheers - Ali (more informaton on

Keep "La Posta-ed"

Meet Erika - she's a PLM, knows her wine, mother of the cutest little boy ever and one of the best wine peeps in the Lone Star State - the real deal!

The following is what is currently on her myspace page for all to see! Enjoy - Ali

Monday, December 11, 2006

Keep "La Posta-ed"
Category: Food and Restaurants

From Mendoza, Argentina comes 3 distinct single vineyard wines. Their name is La Posta del Vinatero , "the tavern of the winegrower". The company that imports them asked the growers to stop selling their spectacular fruit that they used to sell to other wineries to blend, and make single vineyard wines. Two Malbecs and 1 Bonarda. They are all absolutely fantastic. First, the La Posta "Estela Armando" Bonarda Vineyard. 43 yr. old vines, that offer a perfect bacon smokiness, crushed berry fruit and dark chocolate richness that carries through on the palate. AWESOME Bar-b-que wine. It will be on the list at the new LAMBERT'S. Retail $15.99

The more demure "Pizzella Family Vineyard" Malbec makes you feel like you just discovered your first perfume that actually smells good on you, or her as the case may be. Beautiful fruit notes, with hints of sandalwood and spice. Its like a glass of love. Not much left of this one Retail $15.99 And last but certainly not least, the if you want to cheat on another wine, cheat with this one...

La Posta 'Angel Paulucci Vineyard' Malbec 2005 Right out of the bottle animalistic and provocatively wanting to be Spanish. But it comes back home with that crazy mineral, iron rich, salt driven Argentine earthiness, with intense fruit and backbone. I would put this up against 'Anime Negra' for a test drive just to see what happens. It has a great balance you won't find in any other wine for under $20. Retail $17.99 and worth every sipping penny.

Friday, December 08, 2006

'Tis the Season

Please join me at Central Market - N. Lamar today from 4-7pm and on Sunday 1-6pm at the Westgate Central Market locations. I'll be uncorking many Fine Wines for you to try...Cheers - Ali

Austin, Texas

Holiday Wine Selections

Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

This Alexander Valley California classic is a must have this season, perfect as a gift to your boss or by the case as your house-wine! Beware – not for the faint of heart – this bottle is BIG and RICH with Dark Fruit Flavors. With firm and velvety tannins, the wine shows elements of black pepper and crushed bay leaves, while capsicum and red peppers present hints of toast and spice $25

La Posta Malbec

This Malbec is one of the highest rated Argentine reds under $20. Vibrant red color with aromas of red cherries, raspberries, and blueberries wafting from the glass along with notes of caramel from the oak. On the palate, the fresh berry flavors mingle with spice notes in the finish. This is a medium-bodied and well-structured wine that is incredibly full of life. It’s in High Demand for the Holidays in Texas. This 90-year old vineyard has created a lovely red sipper that will keep you warm over the winter months – great with Pizza too! $18

Olivet Lane Chardonnay

This beautiful Russian River white is one of the top values on Texas shelves today – don’t spent the big-bucks on brand names, the Pellegrini’s are pioneers in Sonoma winemaking – a beautiful artisan chard that should be enjoyed year-round. The 2004 Olivet Lane Estate Chardonnay has classic Burgundian notes of mineral, flint and wet stones evolving into hints of toasted bread crust. The mouth is rich and full-bodied with firm acidity, and the lingering finish is long and seamless. $20

Susana de Balbo Crios Torrontes

Ahh – this is perfect for all your pre-holiday snicky-snacks! Goes incredible well with spicey nuts and crackers – even better with goat cheese and pesto. Susana Balbo put torrontes wine on the map and we ALL love her for it – no oak, just amazing floral and leychee fruit flavors abound. Austin’s #1 selling white wine from Argentina! $15

Tikal Patriota

An absolute favorite among Ernesto Catena’s Tikal wines, this Bonarda and Malbec blend incredibly elegant and smooth red wine. Take this to your pinot noir lovers – they will be pleasantly surprised with this outstanding Argentine producer. Aromas of bright berry/cherry fruit and electric-purple color. Like swallowing a whole bowl of mixed ripe berries at once. Big body yet very balanced, with luscious layers of raspberry, cherry, and cocoa flavors. $25

Mapema Sauvignon Blanc

This loveable Argentine white starts out with enticing aromas of lemon, fresh herbs, honeydew rind, and a hint of oak. Once you swirl it around your mouth, you’ll get a vibrant blast of lemon zest acidity along with lemongrass and a slightly creamy texture. This wine delivers a lot of body without losing its lively acidity, and the crisp finish doesn’t keep this wine from lingering on your palate. Hard to find this kind of complexity and flavor intensity at such a reasonable price. $14

*please note prices vary by retailer

Thursday, December 07, 2006

For all the Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Lovers!

Robert’s Roast Sirloin of Beef

"Cabernet Sauvignon with fur, Merlot with feathers”

--Old Bordelais saying

Pairing food and wine greatly enhances the dining experience. Although some of the old rules--red wines with red meat and white wines with seafood--may be an oversimplification, there is some basis for the theory. While it ultimately comes down to what you like, some food and wine combinations are hard to beat, like simply roasted beef and wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon. The weight, tannins, and flavors of the wine bring forth the rich flavors of the meat; in return, the natural, unadorned flavors and texture of the meat showcase the complexity of the wine. The following is less of a recipe than it is a marriage of great elements.
- Robert Pellegrini

Robert’s Roast Sirloin of Beef

This cut of beef, also called a New York Strip, is the king of roasts and would be an excellent choice for serving a dozen guests at a holiday dinner.

1 12 lb. sirloin roast of beef, boned
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 gloves garlic, halved
Rosemary, in sprig
3 teaspoons sea salt
3 teaspoons pepper
A rack and a low-sided roasting pan to just fit the roast

Dry the faces of the roast with a knife. Make 8 small incisions throughout the roast and press in a half clove of garlic. Coarsely chop the rosemary leaves and with the olive oil, salt and pepper, rub all over the exterior of the roast.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place beef on a rack in the roasting pan, fat side down (so you only have to turn the roast once), and place in the oven to brown. After about 15 minutes, turn the roast fat side up. When that side is browned, turn down the heat and complete the cooking at 400 degrees.

Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. At 120 to 125, the meat will be rare. Allow the roast to rest in a warm place for twenty minutes before slicing.

If desired, pour off the fat in the roasting pan and deglaze with a cup of beef stock and a cup of Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. Scrape the bits on the bottom of the pan, reduce by half, and serve along with the roast in a sauceboat. Serve this dish with crisp oven-roasted potatoes and sautéed green beans.

Delicious! I just may whip this up for Christmas dinner! Ali

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

December Wines of the Month

Greetings this sure to read about Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet and Fort Ross Vineyards and Winery on the home page of

20 days until Christmas - so check back for quick updates regarding Holiday gifts within the next few hours! Cheers - Ali

Friday, December 01, 2006

Try it - you'll LIKE it!!

Please stop in and try a little chilly Sake at Centennial with me – we are opening…
  • Kanbara Bride of the Fox - Junmai Ginjo
  • Fukucho Moon on the Water - Junmai Ginjo
  • Tozai Well of Wisdom
  • Tozai Voices in the Mist - Nigori

This Saturday afternoon from 1:00pm-4:0pm, Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits, 8123 Preston Road, Dallas, Texas, 214-361-6697

I'll be explaining the basics of Ginjo Sake along with the tasting...

Cheers - Ali