Thursday, April 30, 2009

Food & Wine Magazine highlights...

Each month at some point I plunk down on my couch or lay in bed at night pouring through all the wine and foodie magazines.  Almost always a smile pops on my face after reading about a pairing suggestion or feature on one of the family owned winery TexaCali represents in Texas. The April 2009 Food and Wine Magazine highlighted many amazing producers from the Solomon Selections portfolio...check it out here 

And yes Chateau Pesquie is back in stock at Pioneer Wine Co. who is the Texas distributor - just ask for it!  Cheers - Ali

Monday, April 27, 2009

The State of Malbec...

There is no better time to add more Malbec in your life! 

·       Argentine wine imports grew 43.2% in value & 34.1% in volume in 2008 vs 2007

·       Malbec was up an even stronger 61% in value and 60.4% in volume

·       Argentine wine imports have significantly outpaced ALL other major wine-producing countries for the past five years (see attached)

·       Argentina continues to lead the other major wine-producing countries in both growth of dollar and case volume sales.  February retail sales showed Argentine sales up 50% and 33%, respectively, over same period 2008, with New Zealand (21%) and Spain (13%) as distant runners-up.

A few Malbec’s of note…

Budini Malbec 2008 “One of Our Favorite Values…”Bon Appetit 2008             

Crios Malbec 2008 88pts, Wine Spectator, 2008; Value Brand of 2009, Wine & Spirits          

La Posta Malbec, Paulucci Vyd. 2007 90pts, Wine Spectator, 2008                             

La Posta Malbec, Pizzella Family Vyd. 2007 91pts, Wine Spectator, 2008                

mapema Malbec 2006 91 pts, Wine & Spirits, June 2009                        

BenMarco Malbec 2007 91 pts, The Wine Advocate, 2008                       

Susana Balbo 2007 91 pts, The Wine Advocate, 2008

Luca Malbec 200792 pts, Wine Advocate, 2008, 93 pts & Top 100 Wine of Year (#82), WS 2008 


Crios: Value Brand of the Year 2009, 2007, 2007, Wine & Spirits Magazine

All details on

Friday, April 24, 2009

Handley Cellars in the News...

Sierra Magazine (The Sierra Club) has bestowed the Most Green Chardonnay Award to Handley Cellars 2006 Estate Chardonnay, Anderson Valley in its May/June 2009 issue. 

Handley Cellars Estate 2006
Anderson Valley, CA PRICE: $20 TASTING NOTES:
 A yellow-gold wine with a muted apple aroma and an oaky fruit taste, Handley has a "perfect" texture and a
 "luscious" finish (Pucilowski). Hernandez noted its great flexibility and called it a "perfect dinner-party wine that will leave your guests wanting more." Pairing suggestions included eggplant and ric
h pastas. GREEN NOTES: Handley is 75 percent solar powered, avoids using chemicals whenever possible to prevent runoff, and makes its wines from organic grapes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A new arrival

112 cases have finally landed in Texas! Please ask your favorite wine shop for a case,this beauty will be gone soon...Cheers - Ali

Friday, April 17, 2009

Today on

A Ripe Argentine Red for $15 or Less

Dominio del Plata Mendoza Malbec Crios de Susana Balbo 2008

Argentina continues to gain recognition for its juicy, steak-friendly Malbecs, the country's flagship red variety. For a good value, look for the Crios de Susana Balbo line from one of the country's most experienced winemakers.

Susana Balbo has been making wine since 1981 and is one of the rare women at the top of the field in Argentina; she also works as a consultant internationally. She makes her signature wines at Dominio del Plata winery, a project with viticulturist Pedro Marchevsky, who has his own BenMarco label. Barrels not selected for the more expensive wine go into the Crios ("offspring") label, meant to be drunk young and priced around $15 (though I picked this bottle up on sale for $12). Along with the 100 percent Malbec, Balbo also makes a Crios Syrah-Bonarda blend, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a rosé from Malbec and a Torrontés, a floral white.

Tangy and minerally, the 2008 Crios Malbec showed bright aromas and flavors of sweet blueberry and blackberry; modest notes of vanilla and spice illustrate her judicious use of oak. It's straightforward, with a juicy finish and fairly plush tannins. I gave it 88 points, non-blind. It's great with a steak, but also enjoyable on its own and would make a great party wine. As a plus, the wine comes in a screw-capped bottle, and its distinctive label—a big hand (hers) encompassing two smaller hands (her two children's)—stands out on store shelves. With 40,000 cases made, the Malbec should also be fairly easy to find. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This Saturday from 2-5pm you have a fantastic chance to sip and taste beautiful wines from Teira along with Scardello's amazing cheese selections. The new Teira Sauvignon Blanc is so good you'll need to grab at least two for some "patio time".  If you don't live in the neighborhood, this afternoon with Teira will be worth the drive - I promise...
A few days ago I  stopped into Scardello Cheese to fill an Easter Basket...many goodies that will exceed your senses in the store like beautiful salts, olive oils, chocolates, honey, nuts  as well - a food and wine lover's dream store...beautiful picnic baskets as well! Cheers - Ali

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

LIOCO "Heavenly Flight"

Quick picture of the first half of last night's tasting at the Lake Travis Wine Trader with Kevin O'Connor. A fantastic treat to sip on the 2007 Sonoma County "unoaked" Chardonnay, 2006 Michaud Vineyard Chardonnay and the 2006 Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay.  What a terrific example of  Grand Cru "terroir" in California. Read more about LIOCO. 

Off to another full day in Austin...if you live close, please stop by and meet us at Cissi's Wine Market on S. Congress to experience the beautiful wines of LIOCO. Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kevin O'Connor is coming to town...

In a last-minute decision for dinner yesterday I opted for the Alamo Draft House on S. Lamar in Austin. A Genius concept.  Dinner, drinks and a movie - no cleaning the kitchen. Love the Alamo. I'm pretty sure it's one of the few places on earth that you can eat fried pickle spears with ranch dressing, a goat cheese salad with candied walnuts and dried cherries and have a nice glass of french chardonnay (Novellum) or one of Spain's best Castano red wines. You order at your seat and just sit back and disappear from life for a few hours. Always a much needed break for this girl.  And Yes - 'I Love You Man" is silly and funny.

Of course when the movie was over, reality of running TexaCali Wine Co.
 hit like Texas spring storm. 23 emails sitting in my inbox that needed answers before this morning. It never the supply chain rolls on. Thank goodness for all the TexaCali Wine Co. producers that keep things real. 'Relax, it's only wine".   

Off to meet Kevin O'Connor of LIOCO in a few hours. Hope he's wearing his running shoes, we've got 12 meetings and 2 consumer events to conquer in less than 36 hours in Austin. Ready. Set. Go. Cheers - Ali

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Weekend

Oh yeah! Easter weekend has arrived. This holiday has always been one of my favorites for a handful of reasons...

1) Friday - no school and sometimes no work 
2) the arrival of Easter candy in the house 
3) a new dress 
4) great food on Easter Sunday 
5) even greater wines that pair with all the Easter Brunch fixings

So what are you opening this year? Send in your ideas...

A few quick TexaCali Wine suggestions: Handley Cellars Gewurztraminer, Olivet Lane Russian River Chardonnay, Lange Estate Williamette Pinot Noir, Teira Sauv Blanc, Crios Torrontes and Crios Rose of Malbec. Find them at your favorite wine shop anywhere in Texas! Cheers  - Ali

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Night Live

I'm stopping for a few minutes with an update, it's been a quick few days playing catch up and planning ahead for the days, weeks and months in front of me... I'm on the road with Dan Donahoe of Teira Wines this week, look-out, don't know who may have higher energy than Dan, he's an amazing ambassador of independently owned, boutique wines from California.  One night when living in the Presidio, I remember sipping on his Zinfandel with about 20 friends  for the first time...was around 2004, loved it then and love his wines even more now! Bravo Dan!

If you recall, last summer Dan hosted a group of TexaCali Wine Co. fans to some skeet shooting over the Woods Estate Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley. We are soo excited to have him visiting us in Texas this week...Sauv Blanc, Merlot and Zinfandel all under $15! Nice!  Seriously, just Google "texacali skeet shooting" and watch some fun! 

So, please stay tuned for a HUGE update within the next few days, TexaCali Wine Co. is celebrating another Anniversary soon.  In the meantime, check out and keep up your great support when buying wines out there...Cheers - Ali