Tuesday, January 31, 2006
From its vineyard within sight of the Pacific Ocean, Fort Ross produces highly individual and beautiful wines...These are limited production wines...The 2001 Pinot Noir Reserve is sold out and the 2002 is now available at a suggested price of $49. There are also regular ’01 and ’02 Pinot Noir bottlings at $34. The ’01 and ’02 Chardonnays are $32. These special wines are not inexpensive, but their individuality and value come through in every sip.
Read the article here http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4020512/
Oh and their Pinotage is mind-blowing - try it - you'll like it!http://www.fortrossvineyard.com Cheers - Ali
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Look for me Friday-Sundays hosting instore tastings at Whole Foods during the month of February! Cheers - Ali
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Central Market Ft. Worth - Meet "Eloise" she's a beautiful Sauv Blanc from California's North Coast.
Far Pointe Cellars (both Southlake and Frisco) is hosting a wine taste off showcasing Luca and Tikal "Kings of Argentina".
Centennial Fine Wines (On Preston Rd.) Handley Chardonnay, Handley Pinot Noir and Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet. WOW - An Amazing California Line-up!
Majestic Wines (please call your neighborhood store) is featuring Argentina's most incredible female winemaker - Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon.
Please be sure to introduce yourself as a fan of TexaCali Wine Co....Cheers - Ali
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I woke up to one of the most clear and sunny days I can recall ever experiencing here. For lunch, I was invited to join owners Linda and Lester Schwartz at their beautiful mountaintop home and tour their Fort Ross Vineyards - a visit that literally took my breath away. Talking wine with Linda and Lester all afternoon reminded me of Argentina’s Susana Balbo and Pedro Marchevsky’s passion for meticulous attention in the vineyards and winemaking philosophy in producing exceptional wines.
Texas is lucky – truly lucky to have a nice allocation of Fort Ross landing this week. I can hardly wait to tell every wine drinker I know about the phenomenal complexity and elegance the Fort Ross wines embody. Each wine is so easy to fall in love with. I’ll leave you and end my trip to Cali with the following pictures taken today. From the Fort Ross hilltops I saw the Farallon islands towards the southwest and to the northeast pristine hilltop vineyards of Kings and Queens such as Pahlmeyer, Martinelli, Peter Michael,Helen Turley, Mark Aubert and Flowers - WOW what a view from the top!
Beauty and Grace….enjoy - Ali
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Ulises came to the house this morning to meet me and learn a little about Texas while I was still sipping on my first cup of java. Robert Parker recently wrote "The 2004 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard (96-98pts), made by Mark Aubert, may turn out to be one of the finest Pinot Noirs ever made in California." Also, "One of the finest viticultral managers in northern California is Ulises Valdez, and his 2004 (Paul Hobbs, 95pts.) Ulises Valedez Vineyard boasts a wonderful leesy/broiche character intermixed with honeysuckle, orange rind, tangerine, and hazelnut notes...Interestingly, Valdez also farms vineyards for both Pahlmeyer and Aubert, so he is unquestionably at the top of his field." I'm looking forward to Ulises first release under his own Valdez label - at least 3 varietals to start - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Ulises and I , along with Dick Handal this morning sat together like old friends sharing passionate wine tales and truly profound ideas about the future together...Just another day in the life of TexaCali Wine Co. I am grateful to know both the Handals and Ulises Valdez - the future is soo bright!
Also, I tasted the "Henley Late Harvest Syrah" from the barrels this afternoon. Texas is a lucky lucky state this year - YUM! Cheers - Ali
I spent a long weekend in the Russian River area - literally our house was a stones throw from the River...the tasting highlights of the weekend were of course Pellegrini wines! So fun to have our group of 25 or so folks stop into the winery to meet the winemakers and many of the Pellegrini family members. The 2004 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir and the 2002 Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon stole the spotlight. Great value wines with exceptional quality. As we walked into the Pellegrini winery we were greeted by 2 Pellegrini sisters and their cute pups while Frank Sinatra sang throughout all the wine barrels inside.
We feasted on ribs, chicken, salad and many other little nibbles the guys made for the ladies on Saturday evening back at the house we rented on the river. Here are a few bottles brought home from the day of tasting and a toast to the fellas for preparing a great dinner for us all!
(view of the Russian River from the back of our house)
Cheers from Dry Creek until tomorrow, off to meet someone SUPER special in a few minutes...Ali
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Enjoy the pics...a big weekend is coming up for TexaCali Wine Co. in the Russian River area - stay tuned!
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Friday – Laura Catena was our special guest for lunch and gave in-depth Luca presentation for the Vine Connections team in Marin. As always Laura is a complete delight to learn from and talk to about Mendoza wine growing and producing. Seriously – most of the Luca red wines come from “old vine” vineyards that are at least 60 years old. Laura and Vine Connections are truly pioneers for believing in many producers in Mendoza when nobody was taking small producers with old vines seriously.
Like I tell EVERYONE, if you aren’t sure about a foreign wine – twist the bottle around and look for the importer, you are guaranteed a killer bottle if you see the Vine Connections logo on the back label.
Saturday was filled with wine from all over the world while staying up in Anderson Valley. Most eclectic goes to the sparkling Carignane from France and the most delicious pairing with braised short ribs (that had been cooking for 18 hours) was the Handley Reserve Pinot Noir, just enough dark fruit to balance the mouth-watering ribs – compliments to Chef Eric (again!). If anyone wants my notes on the other 10 bottles we downed that night send me an email…
(Founder's Tree at Handley Cellars)
Sunday night was a special dinner put on by Milla Handley and her stellar team. As a special treat we began the night with a 1997 Handley Brut Rose, the nose was baked chocolate cake, great acidity and slight sourdough on the finish. The color was baby girl light pink…LOVED this rose! We went on to the Handley 2003 Sauv Blanc that also had great acidity with nice finish. This SB tends to be more citrus fruit driven than grapefruit. I like! 2003 Anderson Valley Chardonnay was tasted next, we all agreed, super creamy and tropical nose, soft supple butter finish with a hint of lemon verbena. The 2003 Pinot Noir was elegant as usually, bright fruit and berry pink in color. On the flip side the Handley 2002 Zinfandel was loaded with dark berries and rich structure. I tasted this Zin a few months ago and could tell a significant difference from then – it’s evolved into a very complex and rich Zin– yum! 2001 Syrah from Mendocino County is filled with fruit from Potter Valley and McDowell ranch, nice light fruit and very berry driven. A great complement to the red-meat course. In contrast we tasted a 2002 Crozes Hermitage that was all about black pepper and dark black fruit. It was such a great way to taste through all the current Handley releases with food… To end the evening, I believe I had a few glasses of 1995 Royal Tokaji (6 Puttunyos) which tasted of silky caramel and kick started the best night of sleep this girl has had in years!
Monday began with a 10AM appoint in Ukiah at Germain-Robin who produces Alambic Brandy. Yes, I was sipping brandy to start my week off with a bang- serious bang. Check out the pictures, we spent a few hours with Hubert Germain-Robin and Joe Corley who is the assistant distiller. Didn’t take notes, but just take my word for it – HUNT this producer down no matter what state you live it. They know what they are doing and wow – what a pleasure to have learned so much about their distillery and process.
Sunset on Monday inspired a stop into the Half Moon Bay brewing company for a few pints of Mavericks Amber Ale (my favorite!). A glorious way to end a incredible weekend with dear friends, gourmet foods and artisan wines. Stay tuned for more notes and updates to post soon – I’m typing this from the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley after meeting with a new TexaCali Wine Co. producer (I’ll announce very soon!).
Cheers to whatever tomorrow brings...Ali
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Highlights of the Day –
I had the great honor and pleasure of meeting Dave and Doug Wight of Lewelling Vineyards. Tasted through a Lewelling Wight Vineyard vertical of 1997-2005. INCREDIBLE. I had no idea that they sell most of their fruit to Caymus, Viader, Xtent, Orin Swift, Guy Davis Sydney Frank and BV among other top Cali producers. More later…
Coolness in a bottle. Guy opened his home (which sits above his vineyards looking southeast over the Russian River valley) up to the Vine Connections crew today – we tasted the future and man is it good! Swung by the Davis Family Winery that sits about 5 feet off the Russian River in Healdsburg to taste some more and check out the place before dinner at Charlie Palmers Dry Creek Kitchen. Guy brought in a new gem to end the night with “Apple Brandy”…oh I can’t hardly wait to fill you all in! Cheers - Ali
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
This wine and all the killer Argentine wine in my opinion is imported by Vine Connections and distributed by Virtuoso Selections. Here for the Dallas Morning News Link...http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/taste/stories/DN-nf_wow_0104liv.2.State.Edition1.1362d349.html
But tonight - I'd like nothing more than to see University of Texas annihilate this flashy, egomaniac, snotty USC football team. I'm nervous, the media is not kind to Texas - ever. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Texans have taken over Southern Cal this week, the players better show up and make us PROUD to wear the damn "Don't Mess with Texas" t-shirts! - GO LONGHORNS BEAT USC! Ali
Sunday, January 01, 2006
I hope the rain stops! The picture of the SF Bay and Marin was taken from my backyard (Presidio) while living in San Francisco, oh how I miss that view.
In California I'm visiting with the fine folks at Vine Connections, Handley Cellars, Pellegrini, Portet Wine Selections, Hoffman Wine Group and Fort Ross (oh and a few others I'll announce later). Check out my blog for updates from the road!!!
2006 is going to ROCK! Cheers - Ali