Friday, November 21, 2008

Copy and Print...

Quick Thanksgiving Holiday Wine Shopping list

Under $20 – Save a few bucks on each bottle, but load up on a case or two for your parties.

  • Lange Estate Pinot Gris Oregon
  • Las Rocas GrenacheSpain
  • La Posta Malbec Mendoza, Argentina
  • Pellegrini Family Blend (Zin, Merlot and Carignan) Sonoma California
  • Teira Zinfandel – Dry Creek, Sonoma California
  • Chateau Pesquie Les Terrasses – Southern Rhone, France
  • Handley Cellars Gewürztraminer Anderson Valley,California
  • Lioco Un-oaked Chardonnay Sonoma County, California

Between $20 & $30 – these bottles offer a little more complexity and are smaller production wines.

  • Handley Cellars Pinot NoirAnderson Valley,California
  • Luca ChardonnayMendoza, Argentina
  • Fort Ross SymposiumSonoma Coast, California
  • Storrs Christie Vineyard ChardonnaySanta Cruz, California
  • Gramona Gran Cuvee – Sparkling Cava from Spain
  • Lange Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - Oregon
  • Olivet Lane Russian River ChardonnaySonoma, California
  • Medlock Ames Red BlendAlexander Valley, California
  • Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, California

Over $30 wines for Collectors and "I'm Drinkin’ the Good Stuff Now" folks!

  • Davis Family Vineyards Syrah – Blockbuster syrah from Guy’s vineyards in the Russian River.
  • Lewelling Napa Cabernet – the new vintage is now on shelves, well on a few...
  • Domaine De Montille – (any bottle you can get your hands on) Burgundy France
  • Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon – blind any of your “old-world” wine friends and they will be pleasantly surprised at this high quality Cabernet from Argentina.
  • Pellegrini Milestone – Cab, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Cab Franc 75th Anniversary Blend.
  • Fort Ross Reserve Chardonnay – the most complex and rich Chardonnay among all TexaCali Wines.
  • Lange Freedom Hill Pinot Noir – a phenomenal Pinot for all the tough guys out there.
  • LIOCO – Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir – a top California vineyard, known for its elegant fruit.
  • Jo Pithon AnjouLoire, France – a cult winemaker’s groovy little white wine to bring out for your most discerning guests.
Gobble Gobble - Ali

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Special Greetings from Luca and Laura Catena today in San Francisco to their Texas distributor "Pioneer Wine Company". Pioneer's sales force set a new Luca sales record in the state of Texas in 2008!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wine Spectator Top 100

93 points $35 retail price
Ask for Luca at your favorite fine wine shop in Texas!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Save the Date...

and save some room after stuffing yourself with Turkey. This night of food and wine will be a dazzler!

Click picture to enlarge for details.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rewind: Last July in Sonoma and Dry Creek

Sitting in sunny San Francisco this morning talking shop with my dear friend Mulan Chan about the future of marketing wine...So here's the quickest and "best of" FLIP Videos from our adventures in Sonoma last summer. Skeet Shooting with founder of Teira over the Dry Creek Zinfandel and Merlot Vineyards

A dip in the Pacific about 10 miles South of Fort Ross Vineyards...

More next week, I'm about to sit in a conference room with fellow Vine Connections sales and marketing folks for a few days...ah, the highlight will be hearing from Laura Catena and tasting her lastest offerings from LUCA! Cheers - Ali

Friday, November 14, 2008


I spent an entire week with Etienne de Montille in Texas and his new 2006 release. I adored our time together, learning about Etienne’s philosophy in the vineyards and winery. He has a profound sense of “greatness’ – I couldn’t soak it up quick enough.

The Montille labels are fairly new to the shelves and wine lists in Texas – even the Chateau Puligny Montrachet label. Time to elevate the education a bit and make sure if you are buying burgundy pinot noir and chardonnays that you are seeking out Etienne’s bottles. The wines are hand-crafted, made by a family and are limited in production.

Here’s a little background I dug up that sums up our conversations with Etienne last week…

Etienne is one of Burgundy's great purest, his long-lived wines may need time but they are some of the most honest and terroir-driven wines in Burgundy. The wines are fermented using partial whole vinification, élévage is long in slow in their cold cellars and percentages of new oak are low.

Now modern day filmstars, Etienne de Montille and his family need little introduction! Having starred in the remarkably entertaining docu-drama ‘Mondovino’ that came out three years ago (championing the small, terroir loving producer) Etienne, his sister, Alex, and their legendary father, Hubert, confirmed their position in Burgundy as one of the most important family domaines. Based in Volnay, Etienne, has recently overseen some ambitious developments at the domaine.

Having bought some vineyards in Corton Charlemagne in 2005, he then joined forces with the Seysses family at Domaine Dujac and acquired several hectares of vines both in the Cote de Beaune and, more interestingly for Etienne, in the Cote de Nuits, including a wonderful plot of Vosne Romanee Malconsorts.

Virtually doubling the size of the domaine overnight has ensured that the already busy Etienne (he is regisseur at the resurgent Chateau de Puligny Montrachet) has even less time on his hands now. However, his sister, Alex, works ever closer alongside him (they also have a negotiant label together called Deux Montille) and together they are really upping the ante at the domaine.

Prior to 1997 the wines of de Montille were known for their austerity, an austerity that in great years and given enough time, would blossom into beautifully graceful Burgundies of great class and poise. Etienne was keen to maintain their purity and typicity but he was also anxious to get the wines to express a little more fruit in their youth. This he appears to have done over the past ten years and in the great years of 1999, 2002 and 2005 the wines have been stunning. 2000 and 2001 were much more difficult in the Cote de Beaune than the Cote de Nuits because of pre harvest storms but the 2003s could turn out to be crackers (the elegance of the house combined with the richness of the vintage might just be a winning combination) and the 2004s will make lovely mid-tern drinking.

So all in all Etienne agrees that the future looks very rosy for the domaine and is delighted to be able to offer a few of the 2005s Texas has left and suggest you look out for the 2006s landing in your favorite retail shop and wine list by December 1! Cheers - Ali

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Recently Reviewed...

A quick post from Vine Connections this morning... September press seemed to be all about the Wine Spectator and October proved to be no different. And as they did in September, VC wines continued to shine! Check it out.

Wine Spectator.JPG


93 pts, 2006 Mendel Unus
91 pts, 2006 Mendel Malbec

91 pts, 2006 Luca Laborde Double Select Syrah

90 pts, 2007 Susana Balbo Malbec

90 pts, 2006 mapema Malbec

90 pts,
2007 La Posta Malbec, Paulucci Vineyard
89 pts, 2007 La Posta Cocina Blend


91 pts, 2007 BenMarco Malbec -Est. Release: Spring 2009
90 pts, 2006 Susana Balbo Brioso - Est. Release: Spring 2009
91 pts, 2007 La Posta Malbec, Pizzella Vineyard - Est. Release: Jan 2009
89 pts, 2007 La Posta Bonarda, Armando Vineyard - Est. Release:
Jan 2009

(Some of the scores were available online prior to the November 15 issue date.)

Click on any wine above for additional review and product information or visit If you are in the Texas wine trade - shelftalkers for the wines are also available and in a new easier-to-cut format.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I know, I know, I've fallen behind on posting over the past week. I'll catch up with you all over the weekend. Typing this from a rest-stop on I-35 just North of Austin this afternoon! Hope you are drinking American wine tonight in celebration of this exciting election! I've got plenty to chose from - Cheers - Ali