Friday, November 30, 2007
Next, I am jumping on a flight to northern California at 6:30am tomorrow and will return Friday evening. IF I can find my camera - I know it's somewhere around here (soo many boxes and piles to organize yet) I'll update the blog from California. My itinerary is packed full, hoping to mix in a little social time with dear friends while visiting. After hanging with my friends in the food and wine biz out there, I'm always left so inspired!
I love Texas, but man I miss California. Check in later - I'll at least update you with some new tasting notes...I'm excited to taste the LIOCO Pinot Noirs that are being released very soon! Cheers - Ali
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Lehrman says that sake's lack of tannin structure and its low acidity compared with wine make it a drink that's hard not to like. "Our role is part evangelist and part educator," he says. He educates restaurants and retailers on sake's finer points, which, he says, can be approached through a lens of wine knowledge. "The kind of wine you like is the kind of sake you like," he says. "It seems to be a direct crossover. If you like white Burgundy, you'll like Niigata-style sake. [The taste is] clean."...
Sake buyer Paul Tanguay says more information in English on the label is key to U.S. sales. And he's one to be heard. Having worked with every distributor in the U.S. while he was the beverage director of Sushi Samba restaurants nationwide, Tanguay is a formidable player in the popularization of the drink and imported sake's upward trajectory. "So much of what goes into developing brands in this business is distribution," says Sidel. "This is true of management of any luxury good or product--who is buying it, who is drinking it--and that is determined by distribution."
Tanguay plans to continue educating sake drinkers as Vine Connections' national sake ambassador. "Paul will add significantly more bandwidth," says Lehrman. "He brings a lot of experience from the buyer's side." Tanguay says growth in sake consumption may not be evident in places like New York City, but it's definitely heading inland from the coasts. Read full article here
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Wine and Sake from outside North America have to take a ride on a ship, that's after the product is picked up from the winery or brewery by a truck, dropped off to the shipper, placed into a container, lifted onto a boat, sailed across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, picked up by another truck then driven and dropped off to a warehouse usually on the west or east coat, THEN picked up by a Texas trucking company headed back to Texas, unloaded in the distributor warehouse, THEN re-loaded to an account THEN FINALLY bought by you and opened either in a restaurant or your dinner table at home. So just one of the reasons why I respect every bottle of wine that crosses my own path... Cheers - ALI
Photo credit: Frederic Larson, a photojournalist at the San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, November 23, 2007
So after averaging about 3500 miles a month traveling around
Cheese pairing: Redhawk Triple Cream with 2003 Fort Ross Char
With the 3
2006 Handley Cellars Gewürztraminer: It was hard not to break this puppy out with dinner, but glad I waited until after. This was a perfect compliment to the sour cream-apple crumb pie. Tiny bit of white flowers on the nose and sweet effervesce combined with lychee fruit and peaches made this bottle lush! The sweetness from the Pie made this dry Anderson Valley Gwerz an amazing pair!
2005 Pellegrini Old Vine Carignan: Last sip of the night, I’ve thought of the Pellegrini Carignan at Thanksgiving all year long. This bottle is so supple! Had half a glass to tie-off the night and it was singing with plums and dark berries, no harsh tannins, just ends with a smile. Oh – great with a bite of Pecan Pie too!
What’s on tap for the UT Game today? King Ranch Casserole with all the fixins’, Susana Balbo's Crios Rose of Malbec and some good cold beer! Cheers - Ali
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Over the years I've made some knock-out wine memories with dear friends and family. Champagne at noon, whites about the time the Cowboy/49ner game starts then into favorite pinot noirs with the Turkey.
The first year I lived in San Francisco, my entire family flew out and we spent the day in Napa - had a beautiful dinner at the Napa Valley Grill. Thanks to dear old Mom's anti-drinking ways, after a nice solid wine dinner we were driven back to my house in Pac Heights safely!
I think the best Thanksgiving Day I've ever had ended in the backyard of a beautiful home in Saratoga, California - we all huddled on a sprawling deck over looking the family vineyard trading stories about life, love and careers while sipping on port to keep us warm. I recall wandering off to sleep in the guest room that night in an old antique "the diamond" bed. Legend was - the bed was passed down a few generations and at one point had secret little compartments hollowed out that stored the family jewels for safe keeping. Never found the diamonds or any family jewels, sure made a sweet memory though. Perhaps my favorite guest room of all time.
This year I'm just flat thankful for all you TexaCali Wine Trail followers - especially you folks that buy wines from all the producers of TexaCali Wine Co. Without your loyal support, I certainly wouldn't be livin' the dream - and for that I will never be able to thank you enough! Cheers to a great Thanksgiving Holiday everyone! - Ali
PS - the real reason all wine pros love Thanksgiving - we get the day officially off!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Pellegrini Family of Sonoma
Olivet Lane Estate
Varietal: Pinot Noir Vintage: 2005
Appellation: Russian River Valley Wine region: Sonoma
Review rating: Wine of the week:
Review date: 6/20/07 Source: Press Democrat
Review: An elegant pinot, ripe yet balanced. Aromas and flavors of cherry, mushroom and tea. Integrated tannins. Soft texture. Showy.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Handley Cellars2006 Pinot Gris
This is a real appellation statement from Milla Handley. She sourced the fruit from seven different Pinot Gris vineyards in Anderson Valley – I didn’t know there were seven, and I live there – and blended them into one seamless wine. Most of the lots were fermented in neutral oak, ranging from standard barrels to puncheons and one foudre (870 gallons, or almost 15 barrels), and lees were stirred. The point of all this? To make the creamiest, most luscious wine possible. Now, you might not think of Anderson Valley, with its cool climate, dark forests, and morning fog as a place where creamy wines are grown. That’s why this is an appellation statement wine.
My initial aromatic impression was of mango, then tangerines and nectarines with some lime zest. The wine has all of these as flavors, plus nut and mineral layers that will make fans of Alsatian Pinot Gris nod in approval. The viscosity of the wine doesn’t quit, even in the finish, because the acidity delivers such good palate spread that you’re feeling the wine all over your mouth even as the last of it is volatilizing into aftertaste.
Reviewed by Thom Elkjer.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
2006 Pellegrini Un-oaked Chardonnay-October 2007
Wine Spectator recommended CA Sauvignon Blancs
Friday, November 09, 2007
You can read about the amazing old vine Carignan vineyard LIOCO sources for their Indica red blend here... www.liocowine.com
Cheers - ALI
Two little love birds sitting in a tree...
Last Tuesday night, about 10 minutes after sitting down to dinner at York St. in Dallas' Lakewood district, Ray and his beautiful bride walked in for a celebratory dinner . I just saw Ray the day before while working with Veritas Imports and Monique Fillioux - a Cognac producer from France.
During dinner I chatted with the host of York St. who whispered "you know they just got married today!", how exciting! So we all finished our glorious meal that Sharon (the chef & owner) created for us...then Ray let the cat out of the bag himself! Congrats to you both!
I've known Ray for years now and he has been a great supporter of all things TexaCali Wine Co. Stop in to Kings on Berry Street and give Ray a whopping congratulations while you pick up a few bottles of oh let's say....Crios, Cloverdale Ranch and Handley Cellars!
Cheers and Best Wishes! ALI
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
"Someone" we (wine pros) all know very well and respect even more in the Fort Worth wine world got married today...check back in 24 hours to hear and SEE who! I'm heading home to Austin mid-day tomorrow and will upload and expand the SWEET story about our Fort Worth Love Birds! Cheers! ALI
Sunday, November 04, 2007
And no, I don't have a favorite - I like them all - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and their famous Pinotage from the Sonoma Coast!
Classy Wines. Here's a shot of one of the incredibly STEEP SLOPES in the vineyards of Fort Ross. Linda and Lester Schwartz - the owners of Fort Ross created one of the most stunning vineyards on the west coast...Cheers - ALI
(click pics to enlarge)
Why is cognac special? Like all brandies, cognac is distilled from wine. What makes cognac unique is a combination of three factors: the climate and quality of the land, the distillation method, and the skill of the master blender.
Where is cognac made? Cognac is made in the regions around the town of Cognac in the départements of Charentes and Charentes-Maritimes in the western part of France. The climate--which has an average annual temperature of 56F--and chalky soil are ideally suited to the growth of low-alcohol grapes from which cognac is made. READ MORE
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
anniversary of Pellegrini Family Vineyards. With the first winery bonded in 1933, the company’s
history spans four generations, and traces its evolution from being a grape and wine merchant house to producer of estate-bottled Sonoma County wines.
Milestone was conceived by selecting special lots of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc to form a mosaic that would be defined by its depth of color, richness, complexity, and supple texture. With Merlot as the dominant variety, it is a stylistic nod to the wines we admire from Pomerol and St. Emilion, yet Milestone’s character is clearly the provenance of three vineyards located in the Russian River, Alexander, and Sonoma valleys.
The five components of this blend were produced by traditional artisan winemaking methods that include fermentation in open top stainless steel vats, with frequent hand punch downs. The wines were aged separately in new and one-year-old barrels for a year. Then the final blend was assembled and aged for an additional eight months before being bottled in August 2007. The first samples are flying into Texas today! Cheers - ALI