Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Harvest Notes From the Top of Sonoma!

We've waited patiently and anxiously for the last month while other vineyards rushed to pick all of their grapes. Our vineyards just wanted that little bit longer to reach the optimum flavors we were craving - so we decided to take a deep breath and let the fruit hang a little more for full maturity. It was worth the wait and the sleepless nights and we're now in the home straight with only a few more days of picking in our sights. Phew. Read more about how things are going in the vineyard in the latest vineyard diary.

All the very best from everyone at Medlock Ames. - Distributed in Texas by Avante Beverages.

Butterfingers for Dinner!

Happy Halloween! Ah, this day brings back fond memories of past Halloweens - the best I ever had was probably 5th grade when I was a Rubik's Cube! I made it in art class myself then my Dad let me ride on the hood of the car around my Fort Worth neighborhood while trick-or-treating.

Tonight however, I have a strong feeling that a few glasses of CRIOS Rose of Malbec will be joining me while dealing out the candy to all the neighborhood spooks (let's hope the crazies at the end of the block stay home!).

Cheers to a fun and festive evening ahead and how cute is my 4 month old nephew?!

Trick or Treat? - ALI

Monday, October 29, 2007

As seen in Food & Wine Magazine this month...

Argentina & Chile's 17 Best Values

2005 BenMarco Malbec ($20) A small percentage of Bonarda gives this juicy, luscious Malbec a perfumey, floral note. It's made by Pedro Marchevsky, who may be the most respected viticulturist in Argentina. Marchevsky named his wine for his father, Marcos, who first taught him how to plant grapevines. Ray Isle - Food & Wine

Tasting Note of Note!

So the Pellegrini Tasting at The Austin Wine Merchant was so fun! Thanks to everyone for coming out to taste the wonderful wines of Pellegrini Family Vineyards. I tasted the new 2006 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir for the first time - WOW! Love it. Certainly in it's baby-stages since the winery just released, but what a FABULOUS Pinot Noir!

"One of Pelligrini's labels, the Olivet Lane estate is situated on 65-acres of sloping benchland in the Russian River Valley. Most famous for the role it's played in Williams-Selyem's vineyard designated pinot noirs, the Olivet lane Estate Pinot Noir exhibits those same unmistakable characteristics: vibrant color, silky texture, elegant mouthfeel and upfront flavors of raspberry, red cherry and spice. Enjoyable now, this wine will continue to reward with age." $35.99

Pick up a case while you can folks, like past vintages, I'm certain that this beauty will sell-out quickly! Cheers - ALI

Friday, October 26, 2007

Before the big game...

Please join me at The Austin Wine Merchant tomorrow from noon to 3pm in tasting the new releases of Pellegrini Family Vineyards.

Cloverdale Ranch, Olivet Lane and Pellegrini brands will all be uncorked! Cheers - ALI

Cognac Anyone?

Mark your calendars Dallas - November 5 & 6 we have a special guest visiting...Monique Fillioux!

A tradition since 1880...Grande Champagne in the "golden triangle": Verrières, Angeac-Champagne and Juillac-le-Coq. It is well known, this area yields the most delicate and finest Cognacs, and requires long oak barrel ageing to achieve maturity: the aging is the key. The family tradition is dedicated to the quality of their old Cognacs, to which they have always paid special attention, maturing them with love and patience in their cellars. In order to provide the finest ancients Cognacs, it takes the ability to raise young ones and mature them in the finest conditions, and the skill to blend the finest selected old brandies.

Cheers - ALI

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Etienne de Montille October 17-20

Ahh, the trip started off with a bang - literally. Well, more like a crash as I locked my front door last Wednesday morning in Austin with all my travel bags on my shoulders I proceeded to fall down my front porch. A freaky cat on the porch, some heavy fog, a wine bag on wheels, a fancy dress and high heels did not mix well for TexaCali Ali at 6am! I went tumbling down 3 concrete stairs, scraping cactus along the way and landing on my ankles. OUCH. Then I was off to Dallas to meet Veritas Imports and Etienne for our Texas roadshow. Yes it hurt, but all I could do was laugh - the show must go on - oh and so it did (with a very ugly ankle though).

So what was Etienne like in person? Extremely jovial, very intelligent, handsome, specific, wickedly witty, curious, charming, spoke great English (and very helpful to me and my fragmented french), ran a little late every morning (ha!) and most of all - humble. Etienne was a true delight to host in Texas.

Wednesday afternoon we had a tremendous turnout of North Texas sommeliers and wine directors. Over 3
0 pro's attended the tasting of Etienne's 2004 vintage and learn a little something new about Ch. Puligny-Montrachet, Deux Montille and Domaine Montille wines. That evening we dined at the new and glorious Fearings located in the Ritz Carlton in Dallas. Dean himself was on-hand to welcome Etienne and offer his warmest Texas hospitality. A big thanks to Paul and Hunter who assisted us with our wines of the evening. We all can't wait to return!

Thursday morni
ng Etienne had the pleasure of educating over 30 sales folks for Sigel's in Dallas. Then off to Houston for a quaint dinner with members of the Chevalier Chapter of Houston. Etienne flew in a few older vintages - all magnums for the dinner. My notes are still coming together on these - hang on, need to double check vintages (it was a long hot drive before dinner).

On Friday we had a very important tasting at the Austin Wine Merchant for their top Burgundy customers. A wonderful group gathered for a true night to remember - all thanks to Etienne's great winemaking! After the tasting we took a handful of Etienne's best bottles to a delicious BBQ dinner at Ruby's per his request. A great time was had by all!

Saturday we headed back up to Dallas, a quick stop in Waco for a cold Dr. Pepper (Etienne's first!) and to gas up the car (again). Well over 50 Dallas collectors attended the Sigel's Elite tasting honoring Etienne de Montille. A perfect way to end a busy week of selling, a store full of fantastic burgundy fans! Dinner was with one of our favorite Wine Pro's in Texas - Aaron at N9NE Steakhouse. Delicious.
I'll finish up my tasting notes from the entire trip shortly, until then Cheers to the 2005 Burgundy Vintage on it's way to Texas! - Ali (click on to see more pictures!)

Hang ON!

A complete recap of Etienne de Montilles' visit coming up soon...I had a lot of catching up to do yesterday so stay tuned for the update later today! Cheers - ALI

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Welcome to Texas!

Ok folks, this is my last blog post for a few days. The great Etienne Montille of Burgundy's Ch. Puligny-Montrachet and De Montille is visiting Texas! Please take a minute to read about Etienne and his wines here. Also, check the Who,When and Where page on

The 2004's are on shelves and wine lists now throughout Texas and the incredible 2005 wines will be available by the end of the month. Please contact me if you'd like to know where to buy ASAP, Texas has a decent allocation - though not a 'Texas Size" allocation so act fast before they are gobbled up before the holiday season. Cheers - ALI

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A look inside the wine world of MYSPACE

So all you followers of the TexaCali Wine Trail, there's a whole other universe of online wine loyalists especially for TexaCali Wine Co. Myspace theses days is a great marketing tool for wineries, retailers and restaurants - really a super place to learn about these things on a much more personal level.
you haven't checked out the TexaCali Wine Co. myspace page - go for it. I upload music and pictures all the time. Really much more of a "popculture page" for all things TexaCali Ali. (Unfortunately - you won't find anything too saucy - my overly curious mother checks it out about a thousand times a day. I'm not kidding, it's a habit she started years ago by reading all my "notes" in Jr. High tucked in the back of my bedroom nightstand) Yes Mom - I was on to you back then! Imagine me shaking my head here!
Anyhoo - it's a little edgier to boot. Have some fun and click around today...I just posted some new facts regarding the past few weeks on the internal blog...Cheers - ALI

Kenichi - Dallas and Austin

Next time you have dinner or drinks at Kenichi - make sure you ask for "LIOCO" Chardonnay! Their SONOMA COUNTY CHARD is now offered by-the-glass. It's a beautiful chard that sees NO OAK, much like an extremely well made Chablis from France. I've kicked off LIOCO to both Austin and Dallas teams at Kenichi now, so enjoy!

Also, the hottest Junmai Sake's on their massive list are from - TOP Favorites include Bride of the Fox, Silent Stream and Divine Droplets. Just ask your server for the best they have...Sake imported from Vine Connections! CHEERS - ALI

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Coolest Wine Shop North of Houston & a Hill Country Gem

So real quick (I need to get ready to go see PORTERDAVIS tonight), but wanted to post some important wine facts for Texas. Last week I had the please of hosting an Argentine Wine Tasting at Vino 100 in The Woodlands. Kelly who owns the place always makes everyone feel like they are tucked inside a comfortable home - full of great wine! The BenMarco Malbec and Tikal Patriota were the run-away favorites of the night. Totally stop in and ask Kelly for her favorites - she is spot-on when it comes to understanding well made wine!

"Grape Juice". Next time you are driving through the Hill Country - head south past Fredricksburg to Ingram! The coolest wine shop and tasting room just opened up. I had the great pleasure of meeting Patrick and his family last Saturday. I picked up the 2006 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc, which is completely fabulous! I bought a bottle of Joel Gott Chardonnay one foggy night walking up a steep hill to my house in San Francisco and have been a fan every since.

Patrick knows his stuff - hope he expands sometime soon! Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Cool Break in Austin this Week

Well, here they are folks - Austin's hometown band PORTERDAVIS is playing this Thursday night - 8:30pm at the Cactus Cafe. A nice chance to drink some cold beer and tap your feet to their unique (and quite magical) blues music.

Watching these guys perform will certain
ly take your mind away from the hustle and bustle of the week! I'M SOO IN!

Also, catch them on KGSR 107.1 at 9am tomorrow morning to hear PORTERDAVIS live in the studio. C
heers - ALI

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Big Hair in Texas?

It's 82 degrees this morning, but it already feels like 93! Break out the CRIOS ROSE of MALBEC ($10) this know you live in Texas when the newspaper's weather section publishes a very reliable "big hair or not" tip! COME ON FALL WEATHER - WE ARE READY! Today in the Austin American Statesman...

Frizz Factor

Humidity is at 71%

Frizz Warning : BIG

Frizz Advisory

Saturday, October 06, 2007

For all the stylin' guys out there...


Some guys in my office are teaming up on a birthday gift for our boss. Problem is, he has basically everything and can afford anything. Any advice on getting something for the man?

A: It’s not about money; it’s about taste. Buy him something unusual, using your own expertise or that of a connoisseur, say a top wine merchant. How about a case of Crios, a wonderful line of wines crafted in Argentina by master winemaker Susana Balbo? Or a great book, like The Unexpurgated Code by J. P. Donleavy (1975)? It’s the funniest advice book ever written and covers many situations other etiquette books don’t, with chapters on Ass-kissing, Duels, Farting, and the Drunken Lout Loose in the Aircraft. If your boss is intelligent, he will realize that you are, too. Just don’t let the other toadies and trucklers get credit. Business is every man for himself.

September 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Insight - Let's Make a Deal

Attn: ALL Wine Distributors and Restaurant Wine Buyers

A few weeks ago I was sent a bit of great advice written by the head-honcho of Henry Wine's a quick read and incredibly relevant to the Texas wine industry. Here's the link. Cheers - ALI