Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Handley Cellars and Teira


Value Brands 2008

Top 9 American Value Brands


What: Cool-climate whites from one of the benchmark names of Anderson Valley.

Standout: The '06 Anderson Valley Pinot Gris is layered and complex, easily among the best pinot gris made in California. Likewise, Handley's '06 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer is an Alsatian rock star hiding out on California's north coast. Both run $18.

Where: Milla Handley owns vineyards in Anderson Valley and Dry Creek Valley, and her winery is located outside of Philo, CA.

When: Open a bottle of the Pinot Gris with grilled weisswurst, while the Gewurztraminer, with its spicy citrus flavors and bright acidity, is the choice for Thai curry.

The Pinot Gris received 94 points and was one of only 2 California wineries selected in this category.

Also noted... Handley 2006 Anderson Valley Hein Vineyard Pinot Blanc (89 points): This bright white has pale apple and grape skin flavors, with a sweet hint of bee pollen in the end. A fine, summery, aperitif. (340 cases)

Critic's Picks 2008 BRIGHT RED: Handley 2006 Pinot Noir Mendocino County...

TEIRA 2006 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc 87 points: Green scents of mint and mexican peppers give this plump wine a clean edge. It finishes on the flavor of grapefruit pith. Serve with raw clams. (1,490 cases)

For a detailed recap of the tasting

Monday, June 23, 2008

Perfect Summer Wines...

from the South of France! Ffind these beautiful wines at the big downtown Whole Foods Store.

Domaine Lafage Côté Est Blanc VdP des Côtes Catalanes 2007

65% Grenache Blanc, 28% Chardonnay, 7% Muscat. Super crisp and tank-fermented, this racy white is bursting with citrus, white flowers and minerals. Juicy on the palate, dry but ripe with good apricot and yellow peach fruit character.

Domaine Lafage Côté Sud Rouge VdP des Côtes Catalanes 2005
60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon A bright, high-toned medium weight red wine. Fruit forward on the palate with dark berry fruits - black berries, blueberries, cherries and a pepper spice note with a touch of tannin on the finish. Cheers - Ali

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Today, before my attempt at Ashtanga Yoga at 4:30

I'm at Whole Foods downtown Austin talking up the beautiful wines of Domaine Lafage! Stop by the wine department to taste and say hello from 12:30 - to 3pm today.

From the La
fage website - gorgeous! "

A mosaic of catalane terroir.
To represent the quintessence of a region which is said to be a world on its own… that is what Lafage Estate aspires to. It is a region of contrast that has been moulded between the crafty hands of the catharian wind and the Spanish mist, nestled between « mar i muntanya », where the Pyrenees Catalane offers diversity that can hardly be equalled elsewhere.

It is thanks to this heaven-sent eclecticism, and its exposition to the favourable rays of the fervid sun, that a vineyard of excellence has sprouted from the soil of the Lafage Estate . From the marble-and-limestone foundations of the towering Canigou, to the time-smoothed pebbles on the Mediterranean’s edge, progressing through the clay-limestone of the planes to the schist of Agly and situated merely a few yards from the viticulture village Maury, the Lafage Estate was established around the precipitous edges of the Roussillon valleys, on rich and alluvial soil, betwixt the tepid heights and the salty fresh spindrift. A sundry of influences, that ever as much adds to the redolence of the Lafage wines, concordant with the fruit, the unique character of the land and its grape-varieties.

As far as our desire for authenticity is concerned, the Lafage Estate is always on the lookout for new land of character. « We are looking for parcels of altitude, North-facing plantations that can fill up on freshness ». A perpetual quest in this multifarious region that has a sole goal: that of obtaining the perfect harmony in each Lafage Estate wine!"

I'll post tasting notes today - though my mouth is wrecked from tasting, swishing and spitting over 60 wines this week along with Eric Solomon in North Carolina. Tough business this is!! Happy Sunday Afternoon to all... Ali

Saturday, June 21, 2008

TexaCali is Hiring!

So I'm great at a lot of sales and marketing things - not so great at keeping my office organized and record keeping these days. It's hard enough right now to keep my voice mail cleared out so when I arrive home after being on the road the amount of US Mail, Fed-Ex and UPS piles just about send me over the edge.

The time has come to ask for help - I am hiring YOU if you honestly have a favorite Champagne and can keep my life organized back in Austin while I'm driving all over the Lone Star State weekly and traveling the world occasionally. Here's the job posting - please contact me or forward it along to anyone who fits the job description. Possibly the coolest part-time gig for anyone who loves wine & being organized. SNAP! Cheers to a great weekend! Ali

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chill with Sake this Summer

Ms. Carrie Bradshaw would be proud of these creative driven sake producers and perhaps a few pair of their tiny little fashionable shoes…

Kanbara Bride of the Fox – Junmai Ginjo

Enjoy intense aromas of grilled nuts, pistachio, and a hint of white chocolate. Flavors of roast nuts and ripe honeydew explode at the front and finishes crisp with a hint of lingering sweetness.

Mantensei Star-Filled Sky - Tokubetsu Junmai

The nose is led by steamed rice, fresh red plums, and suggestions of roasted peanuts. Bright and lean in the mouth, unlike many Nigori, and the impact is chewy with sweet rice flavors intermingling with the nutty and slightly fruity characteristics of the sake.

Fukucho Moon on the Water – Junmai Ginjo

An extremely rare combination: Miho Imada represents one of the unusual instances in Japan when a brewery owner is also a Toji. She is also one of the few female Tojis in Japan. And if this wasn't unique enough, water in this region is very, very soft in comparison to most sake-brewing regions. This is a major contributor to the
rich taste and feel of Miho's sake.

Tozai Snow Maiden – Nigori

This is fairly thick and chewy nigori (cloudy sake), but it is still surprisingly dry. The aromas are bright and fresh and they show a lovely ricey and fruity combination. In the mouth, this sake has solid weight and gives the same flavors of fresh fruit and creamy fresh rice that your nose told you about. You will rarely taste a classier nigori at this price

Mukune Root of Innocence – Junmai Ginjo

This mellow and round sake reveals cacao powder notes and sandalwood bouquet on the nose. Soft on the palate with gentle acidity that puts the accent on the light spice of white pepper and cedar-like flavors, the finish is clean but encompassing.

Rich, Heartbreaking and Delicious – just like Mr.Big.

Rihaku Dreamy Clouds- Nigori

Rihaku is proud to boast the highest average rice milling rate of all Japanese breweries. This sake is a good example why—while it is already unusual to produce high-quality nigori at the Tokubetsu Junmai grade, Rihaku's goes one better by making a Dreamy Clouds that goes beyond the minimum, and could technically qualify as a Junmai Ginjo grade nigori.

Chiyonosono Sacred Power – Junmai Ginjo

This is a rich, full flavored sake with fresh-cut green grass aromas and hints of tropical fruits with cantaloupe leading by a nose. The mouth feel is silky with mango and baked pear flavors and suggestions of creme brulée, though the sweetness is kind to the palate with excellent acidity leading the way to the finish.

This Summer’s Blockbuster Selection of Ginjo Sake!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Pellegrini Family Vineyards

On the road this with the Pellegrini's in Texas! A full report on many of your favorites later this week -

Cheers - Ali