Sunday, September 30, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
For now, check out these SWEET pictures sent from the Pellegrini's this week from Sonoma.
The hot air balloon is drifting over the Pellegrini winery and their Eight Cousins Zinfandel Vineyard - smack dab in the heart of the Russian River region.
The whole cluster of grapes is the Zinfandel from the Eight Cousins Vineyard at Pellegrini.
Oh - please note the handsome harvest intern hard a work punching down - GO CLYDE GO! Cheers - ALI
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Lange Estate is visiting Texas! We are visiting accounts in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio this week - I mean bigtime busy with these gorgeous wines to show off from Oregon! What a pleasure - tasting notes posted later this week. Below is "Lange Staff Development"... Winemaker Jesse Lange takes the Tasting Room staff on a vineyard tour just prior to harvest 2007. 09/21/07 Cheers - ALI
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Luis hard at work at Central Market
Luca, Tikal and LaPosta wines were a big hit!
Luis at the Oasis for a cool Austin sunset and dinner.
Too cute to keep to myself - Mike (my guy) and Luis at the Oasis with TexaCali Ali! A great ending to a great weekend of GREAT WINE!
Cheers - ALI
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Tonight -we celebrate his accomplishments with a good-ol Texas sized BBQ, complete with finger lickin' good ribs and college football blaring in the background.
If you live in Austin - please come out to see Luis and try his wines, today from 2-4ish at Central Market North Lamar and tomorrow from 2-5 at the Central Market Westgate location. You can find Luis smack-dab in the middle of the wine department.
So later this week - Tuesday-Thursday, the National Sales Manager from Oregon's Lange Estate will be with me educating the masses about the wonderful wines made by the Lange family up in Dundee. I'm real excited - this is a first time visit with TexaCali - a full week of appointments are lined up and confirmed!
I-35 once again...Cheers - ALI
Thursday, September 20, 2007
- 90 Olivet Lane Chardonnay
- 89 Pellegrini Zinfandel
- 88 Pellegrini Cuvee 107
Load up, these beautiful Pellegrini wines are in stock now in Texas! - ALI
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
But whatever - I discovered an incredible group "Gotan Project" from Argentina and Paris! This was the show of the night as far as I'm concerned, MIA was really cool, but these folks brought the best of old and new school together with POWER and Elegance! Everyone was doing "The Tango" - soo fun! Those of you attending my "Luca and Tikal BBQ" next Saturday will have a nice long chance of hearing the Gotan Project - it is now the theme music of the night! Cheers - ALI
Watch the video here
Hey - have you clicked around the TexaCali website lately? I'm adding content each and every day!
Cheers - ALI
Friday, September 14, 2007
Best New Sommelier-Made Wines
Napa and Sonoma's Best Winery Tours
Medlock Ames is so young that it has produced just six vintages, yet its Merlots, Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons show fine depth of flavor and balance. Owners Ames Morison (who's also the winemaker) and Christopher Medlock James give tours of the eco-friendly 350-acre ranch and its 50-acre organic winery by appointment only, via electric car and on foot. Stops include the gravity-fed winery, organic vegetable garden and viewing points for wildlife corridors, where deer, coyotes and mountain lions can move freely across the property.
The 2003 Medlock Ames Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($50), with its chocolate-covered cherry lusciousness, and the ripe, plummy 2002 Medlock Ames Alexander Valley Merlot ($35).
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Oh and then there are a few MAJOR events coming in October - Etienne Montille is leading Ch. Puligny Montrachet and De Montille dinners in Houston, Dallas and Austin. Susana Balbo is flying through Dallas for a couple of days - which a standing room only wine dinner is also in the works...did I mention that I'm moving into the house next door to me sometime in the middle of all this?
Oh - and there's this whole thing called "2007 Harvest" happening this month in full swing - you'll get a full report in a few weeks from me and everyone I help out.
Check out the Lange Estate Pinot Noir grapes going through veraison way COOL. And away we go...Cheers - ALI
Saturday, September 08, 2007
David Wight catches himself. "You won't tell people how to get here, will you?"
The location of Lewelling Vineyards, owned by David and brother Doug , along with their brother Alan, isn't exactly a Screaming Eagle-level secret. But it's not for visitors, either. Tucked out past a St. Helena Ford dealership west of Highway 29, its informal tasting room and office is the 1920s bungalow where David and Doug's mother, Janice, grew up.
Napans love to brag about their ties to the land, but good luck finding a family with better bragging rights than the Wights. Their 30-acre plot, part of nearly 300 acres just south of St. Helena owned by the extended family, has been in their control since the end of the Civil War, first planted (partly in fruit trees) when St. Helena was just a tiny farm town. John Lewelling, the brothers' great-great-grandfather, was a Welsh Quaker who moved from North Carolina to California in the 1850s, and settled this plot in 1864.
"I think we may be the oldest family farming the same ground," David says.
The brothers went to St. Helena High with Tim Mondavi, and in 1992, they decided to take some of the grapes they were selling and make 500 cases of wine. David went to Davis to learn winemaking, while Doug handles the fields. (He also runs a vineyard-management business.) Now there are 1,200 cases a year, still a tiny fraction of what they grow. Most is sold to wineries like Beaulieu Vineyard and Caymus, but only their longtime friends, the Trincheros, can mention the Lewelling vineyard on the label. The brothers don't want their name associated with fruit they can't control.
The family may have long Napa ties, but the wine is amply modern - heady, opulent, high-octane stuff. Fame is creeping up in the form of Robert Parker, who gave their 2004 Wight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon a mind blowing 96+ points. No surprise, then, that calls are starting to filter in from Wall Street big shots, demanding bottles. They sell their Cabernet in pairs - one regular bottle and one reserve for $98, a regular bargain in these parts. Not bad for guys trying to avoid becoming the next big thing.
"With some bottles at $150, $200, a lot of people have been priced out of trying them." says David Wight. "That seems to be a shame to me."
With 80 acres of prime bench vineyard on coveted alluvial soils, the Wights couldn't help but succeed - as the BMW in the driveway attests. But it's newfound success. Doug and David are the first generation to make a living off the family land without keeping an outside job. "Our grandparents and great-grandparents would roll over in their graves if they knew what we were getting an acre around here," Doug says.
With some 200 acres of open land, and agricultural restrictions barring them from building new houses, the brothers instead enjoy having their own chunk of Napa wildland. They hunt in the wooded hills, and fondly recall when the St. Helena Star would put photos of hunting season's first deer on the front page. It's a long way from their well-heeled neighbors' views of Napa Valley.
"We shoot skeet once in a while," Doug says, "so they get used to the idea of a gun going off."
Friday, September 07, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Funny, when I played the video my dog's (and also Doralice's old roommie) big old ears perked up and he ran to the door after hearing Doralice's voice...now he's walking circles around the couch looking for her...or is he really just after her incredible cheese?! YUM! Ali
BODEGA MENDEL Unus Mendoza 2005: 90 pts, $50
| || |
Polished and forward, with dark blueberry and blackberry fruit flavors spread over ripe, round tannins and followed by a long finish tinged with chocolate and loam. Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2008.
Last year - in fact it was Texas OU weekend, Mendel's Vineyard Manager visited Houston with me to introduce Mendel for the first time in Texas. What a pleasure - both tasting the beautiful wine and showing Santiago what a true "game day" is like in Texas!
Also, Roberto de le Mota, the head winemaker was here visiting this summer, I learned so much from him, a passionate winemaker and true gentleman. When I think of Mendoza - Roberto always comes to mind first - he is first class and of course making first class wine for Mendel!
Mendel Winery embodies the union of Roberto de la Mota - one of Argentina's most respected and experienced winemakers - with a nearly century-old Argentine family, whose sole objective is to produce wine of unquestionable, superior quality that express the character of their very old Malbec and Cabernet vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina.
Mendel is the first name of the owner's father, a man who came to Argentina with nothing and ended up a successful businessman in different industries. He was also a man that loved the finest things that life had to offer, particularly wine. His daughter, Anabelle, honors her father by seeking perfection in her and Roberto's wines with his name on the label.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Well TexaCali Wine Co. has wrapped up the first 90 days of official business. And business ROCKS! I can honestly say that none of the wines and sake I represent are "stinkers". I'm so proud to show them each day - whether it's a customer shopping at Central Market that loves Malbec or a buyer in a rural town that has never tasted Torrontes to seeing a set of eyes light-up over their first sip of premium sake.
Emotionally, I know I've made a great decision starting this venture - my heart and brain are soo connected when it comes to the promotion of great wine in the state of Texas. Thanks to all of you that have supported my dream "start-up" within this the low-tech, old-school wine industry. Good people hang together.
Cheers to the many great wines of TexaCali Wine Co.! - Ali
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Now, I'm just flat thankful that I love my job. I wish I could sleep in, any crack of sun through my bedroom window in the morning is my signal to get up and start making things happen. It's truly a feeling of "career bliss", knowing that I'm doing exactly what I love to do everyday is soo nice. It certainly doesn't come without daily challenges and extremely hard work - but I'll take it.
I wish you all a very happy holiday - you better be sippin' the wines of TexaCali Wine Co. - may I suggest a little Crios Malbec with your BBQ or Olivet Lane Chardonnay with some crispy fried-chicken...Cheers - Ali