Saturday, June 30, 2007

Off Subject - Popping the Cork in Celebration this Weekend!

Griffin welcomes home Baby Brady! Click the picture to get a good look at the welcome waggin'!

A word from my little brother - a new proud Daddy!

"After a VERY LONG night (and early morning)...he has arrived!

Brady Clemens Smith
Born at: 3:04 AM, June 27th (his due date!)
Weight: 8 lbs, 3 oz.

...and yes, there might be a slight tint of red in his hair...!
Cara and Brady are both doing great, thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers over the last 10 months - I will keep everyone posted. "
-Colby and Cara...and Brady.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rainy Day Wines

When will it stop????

I took this picture sitting on Hwy. 290 yesterday trying to make it home to Austin from working in Houston with Pellegrini Wines of Sonoma... Crazy!

Since we are all stuck inside these days, here's a few bottles to uncork...

Loire, France -
2005 Domaine Jo Pithon Anjou Les Bergeres $25

Dry Creek - Teira Zinfandel $17

Santa Cruz Mountains - Storrs Santa Cruz Chardonnay $16

Alexander Valley - Pellegrini Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon $25

Oregon - Lange Estate Freedom Hill Pinot Noir $60

Russian River - Davis Family Vineyards "Dutton Ranch" Chard $30

Anderson Valley - Handley Cellars Estate Chardonnay $20

Sonoma Coast - Fort Ross Symposium $28

Argentina - Tikal Patriota $25

Email me if you want to know where to find these....Cheers - Ali

Monday, June 25, 2007

In the Dallas Morning News - GuideLive Review

So have you dined at Kenichi Dallas yet??? One of the best and most extensive Ginjo Sake selections in the State - if not the #1. Here's a blurb from a recent review in the DMN.

...Another server brings us a small pitcher of sake called Wandering Poet, which shimmies across our palates with its juicy notes of ripe cantaloupe. Kenichi's two Texas locations (the second is in Austin; there are also outposts in Aspen and Hawaii) offer some of the most extensive sake selections in the state.

Many are expensive: By-the-glass servings cost $12 to $30, and bottles start at $40. But exquisite sake can uplift Asian cuisine the way a 1995 Napa cab can romance a prime New York strip. If you're so inclined, it's worth the exploration and investment.

Read full article here

Friday, June 22, 2007

Off Subject...I agree, magical!

(Best viewed from a Firefox Browser NOT Microsoft Explorer)

For those in the know or just reading this now, Mike Meadows is my main man
and I'm crazy proud of him and his band mates...This article was in the Houston Chronicle yesterday...just got a call,
standing room only tonight in Houston to see
porterdavis rock the HOUSE! Cheers - Ali


June 20, 2007, 5:20PM

Porterdavis offers blues-infused roots, rhythm and rock


When: 8 p.m. Friday, June 22

Where: Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant

Tickets: $10 at the door or online at

When the band porterdavis left Boston for Austin in 2004, its unfinished album immediately reflected the change of locale, lead singer and guitarist Dan Barrett said.

"We finished the album in Texas and redid a few tunes here, and ... the post-Texas songs were so laid-back, slower and groovier. And the Boston version still sounded like we were looking for a parking spot — frantically looking for a parking spot."

The band got its start and its name in Boston.

Although Barrett has often been the target of shouts of "Hey, Porter!" there's no guy in the band named Porter Davis. After studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Barrett and percussionist and vocalist Mike Meadows began performing in two Boston subway stops — Porter Square Station and Davis Station.

VoilĂ ! The band had a name.

Even in the subway days, they never doubted they'd stick with the music.

"We were both clear in our own right that we were going to do this, so when we met someone else who was as unwavering and had a similar musical sensibility, there was no going back. It was almost odd," Barrett said.

Since then, they've pursued a musical career relentlessly. They were selling out shows at one of Boston's premier listening rooms, the Lizard Lounge, before they decided to move to Austin for quality-of-life reasons.

"Austin fits our values and what we like to do, the type of music we appreciate. Even down to the food and Barton Springs. It was a holistic decision. There was no one thing, but it all made sense."

Simon Wallace, a vocalist and blues harmonica champion from the United Kingdom, joined them in Austin in 2004. Three-part harmony and down-and-dirty swamp blues ensued. In 2005 porterdavis released 15 Hours Unraveling, its debut full-length album. It reached No. 10 on Waterloo Records' national sales chart and No. 2 in Texas. The latest release, porterdavis live at eddie's attic, recorded at Atlanta venue Eddie's Attic, is highly addictive.

This year, the band was also a finalist for the Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk award.

The band plays its mix of originals and classics at listening rooms, house concerts and college campuses. In many cases, it's the first blues-infused music the young audiences have encountered.

"Not too long ago we were in Charlotte, N.C., and this dad came up and said, 'My daughter said she liked blues. I never thought I'd hear those words come out of her mouth.'

"I think if you were in college when Led Zeppelin or (Eric) Clapton were coming up, some of the blues traditions would be a little more in your ears," Barrett said. "But not so many bands today are rooted in it — or they are rooted in it but they don't seem to know they are."

Educating fans about musical traditions is one of their goals.

"What would really be a hoot would be to know that we turn some people on to blues music," he said. "And not just blues. Roots music has a very literal and a more figurative meaning to me. When I started listening to (Bob) Dylan, then I wanted to check out the Carter Family and Johnny Cash. When I listened to Eric Clapton, I wanted to check out Buddy Guy and B.B. King and Robert Johnson. I would love to instill that kind of curiosity."

Barrett and Meadows also studied music in Ghana in West Africa. Meadows' choice of percussion instruments and techniques — drawn from Africa and Brazil and filtered through U.S. traditions — can seem exotic and familiar at the same time.

Since drums weren't allowed in Boston subway stations, Meadows had to be creative from the beginning, using anything that sounded like a drum — a tambourine, for example — but didn't really look like one.

"Watching him play is a lot like watching a magician," says John Wilson of "You keep thinking that the harder you stare at him the easier it will be to understand how he makes all of those sounds. Dream on. I finally just gave up and concentrated on the sound. It was still magic."

In Africa, porterdavis' founders also adopted the ritual of paying tribute to their musical heroes — Ray Charles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis, Townes Van Zandt, Muddy Waters, Little Walter and others — before every show, by toasting to the show and pouring a bit of their beverages on the floor.

It's called a libation ceremony.

"Before you were allowed to study with any particular tribe you had to do a little ceremony where you honored the spirits in the drums and the past teachers. People have thought we are being silly, but we're very earnest about that. If there was a thesis statement to our band, it would be to honor the roots of the musicians who came before you."

In Africa, music is both more and less mystical, he said. "You just live in music there. Everybody's a musician or a dancer. It's not projected onto a few people, it's shared communally. It's really pretty inspiring."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New pictures posted...

Finally I posted a few pictures from the Malbec Masters Tour on June 7 & 8 on - just click on TCWC Photos.

Off to The Woodlands now...

Cheers - Ali

Friday, June 15, 2007

And you think Austin is getting bad...

this article today in the San Francisco Chronicle made me spit my coffee from laughing, I felt the same way while living in SF ...glad to be back in Texas these days!!! - Read on...

Monday, June 11, 2007

You'll have to wait

for all the pics from last week, no time to upload - I actually sat out by the hotel pool yesterday instead of working all afternoon. Needed THAT!

Anyhoo - I picked up Milla Handley late last night in Dallas - looking forward to a wonderful week of Milla sharing her rich history about Handley Cellars and sipping her cool climate award winning wines! Only trying to decide if I should squeeze going to see the John Butler Trio in Austin late Wednesday night - we have a VIP sales meeting at 10:00am sharp on Thursday in Houston - ohhhh decisions...See everyone tonight at the first Women's Winesense Meeting in Dallas! Cheers - Ali

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tiny update

Hey Everyone - last week was a huge success. From the greats of Burgundy, the vineyards of Fort Ross to the Masters of Argentine Malbec, so many folks experienced wines of their life!

Thanks for coming out - both those in the wine trade and Texas wine consumers. Pictures and details coming tomorrow - GOOD NIGHT! Ali

Monday, June 04, 2007

Fort Worth - Wine Event of the Year

As far as I'm concerned...and since I’m a Fort Worth gal and all, this is the wine dinner I’m more proud to host than any other before. Argentina’s Masters of Malbec- Susana Balbo and her husband Pedro of the famed BenMarco label inspired me to start TexaCali Wine Co. a few years ago…and they - along with the winemakers of Mendel, Luca, Tikal and La Posta are hosting a wine night at Lanny’s – a true Texas Culinary Treasure right on 7th St. in the heart of Fort Worth’s museum district.

I’m serious about his one folks, it’s the talk of the town and will surely become a treasured memory among many food and wine lovers in Fort Worth, and I can hardly wait for this amazing night to unfold…please pass this along to your friends who won’t want to miss out on a chance to meet the Top Winemakers of Argentina and Lanny’s magic in the kitchen…

Thursday June 7, 2007.

Accepting reservations from 5:30-9:00

Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana

Invites you to an Exclusive Argentine Wine Dinner

with Four Award Winning Wine Makers

Susana Balbo

Pedro Marchevsky

Roberto De La Mota

Luis Reginato

Dinner will be six courses with six wines for $125.00 (plus tax and tip)

Call us at 817.850.9996 or

Hamachi Ceviche, Roasted Tomato and Chile Viaigrette

Crios de Susana Balbo, Torrontes, Cafayate, Argentina 2006

Lobster Ravioli, Foie Gras Butter, Jalapeno and Brussels Sprouts

Luca, Chardonnay, Alta de Mendoza, Argentina, 2005

Squab Breast, Barley Risotto, Blackberry Reduction

Luca, Syrah, Alta de Mendoza, Argentina 2005

Brie and Pepper stuffed Lamb, Truffled Spaghetti Squash

BenMarco, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 2005

Elk Loin, Broccolini, Mole Colorado

Medel, "Unus", Mendoza, Argentina 2005

Mixed Berries, Mezcal Sabayon

Crios de Susana Balbo, Rose de Malbec, Cafayate, Argentina 2006

Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana is located at:
3405 W. 7th Fort Worth, TX 76107

A night to remember…see you at Lanny’s!

- Ali

We had a ball in Boerne!

Wow - a great crowd gathered for a Vine Connections Argentine Wine Dinner at The Limestone Grill on May 27, here are a few pictures from the night.

Here's the line-up of wine...

2006 Crios Rose of Malbec

2006 Crios Torrontes

2005 Crios Malbec

2005 La Posta Paulucci Malbec

2005 BenMarco Malbec

2005 La Posta Bonarda

A big shout out to the
Chef - the empanada's were the best I've ever had in North America! YUM.

- Ali

Dallas - the place to find FINE Argentine Wine

Easy to stock up on the Award Winning Wines of Vine Connections at Centennial Fine Wine on Preston Rd. near Northwest Hwy.

Ask for Lance and John to guide you to the smoothest bottle of RED from Argentina. I'll be there Saturday afternoon pouring a few of these...Luca, Tikal, Susana Balba, Mapema, Crios and the a few from Sonoma Coasts' Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery.

Oh YEAH! Cheers - Ali