Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Whole Foods - Downtown Austin

Congrats to Heather GK. in Houston for guessing the store yesterday that is featuring Handley Cellars "Dry Creek" Sauvignon Blanc - she was quick to comment on Facebook. All the Handley Cellar's wines are lovely and a fantastic value as well. Just a few medals and reviews they've received over the past year...Cheers - Ali

2004 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve, Anderson Valley
San Diego International

2007 Viognier, Dry Creek Valley, Handley Vineyard
- North of the Gate
2006 Pinot Noir, Mendocino County
- West Coast Wine Competition
2007 Pinot Gris, Anderson Valley
- North of the Gate

2006 Riesling, Mendocino County
- Mendocino County Fair
2003 Brut, Anderson Valley, Estate Vineyard
- San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

2004 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve, Anderson Valley – Pacific Rim International
2005 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, Handley Vineyard - San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2007 Viognier, Dry Creek Valley, Handley Vineyard – Orange County Fair
2006 Pinot Noir, Mendocino County - Long Beach Grand Cru, North of the Gate
2006 Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley, Handley Vineyard – North of the Gate
2007 Gew├╝rztraminer, Anderson Valley – Riverside International
2007 Pinot Gris, Anderson Valley – Mendocino Wine Competition
2006 Pinot Blanc, Anderson Valley, Hein Vineyard – Los Angeles International
2006 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley – West Coast Wine Competition
2006 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley - San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2006 Zinfandel, Redwood Valley – Riverside International

Handley Cellars

Recent Praise for Handley Wines

2006 Anderson Valley Estate Vineyard Chardonnay
90 POINTS - Wine & Spirits Magazine (October 2008)
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - California Grapevine (August-September 2008)
EXCEPTIONAL - Dan Berger's Vintage Experience (September 11, 2008)
FOUR STARS - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Michele Anna Jordan (September 10, 2008)
RECOMMENDED - San Jose Mercury News (July 9, 2008)
"GREEN CHARDONNAY AWARD" - Sierra Magazine (May/June 2009)

2007 Gew├╝rztraminer, Anderson Valley
RECOMMENDED - More (December 2008)

2006 Pinot Blanc, Anderson Valley, Hein Vineyard
“Utterly lovely.” Vinography (November 8, 2008)

2006 Riesling, Mendocino County
ONE PUFF - Connoisseur’s Guide (Sept. 2008)

2006 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
RECOMMENDED - Connoisseur’s Guide (Oct. 2008)
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - California Grapevine (Aug.-Sept. 2008)
RECOMMENDED - USA Today (Nov. 20, 2008)

2006 Pinot Noir, Mendocino County
“PINOT PICK” - Sunset (Nov 2008)

2006 Syrah, Redwood Valley, Kazmet Vineyard
91 POINTS - Wine Spectator Insider (Oct. 29, 2008)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Guess the store?

Deal of the Summer! Handley Cellers delicious Sauvignon Blanc from their gorgeous Dry Creek property. This wine is SINGING.......
Oh yeah! Ali


Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Next Food Network Star??

PLEASE WISH ME LUCK TOMORROW! Oh what the heck, I cook and drink with the masses all over the world. I'm all done with the 11 page application, you can click on www.texacaliwine.com "Next Food Network Star" link to view my "headshots". This should be a fun experience - so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I'm running into new wine and sake drinkers all over Texas who ask me how I do what "I do"...well here's a little summary for you all. Cheers - Ali

TexaCali Wine Co. was founded in the spring of 2005 with a mission
of assisting family owned wineries across the world in gaining
access to the Texas wine trade and to all Texas wine lovers.

After many years of learning the wine business in San Francisco, Alison Smith, a Fort Worth native and the owner of TexaCali Wine Co. now lives in Austin and is actively involved each day in the promotion of “wines made by real winemakers” making it onto dinner tables all over the Lone Star State.

In less than five years, TexaCali Wine Co. has grown into representing over 100 prestigious producers such as Domaine de Marcoux from France, LIOCO from California, Susana Balbo from Argentina, Lange Estate from Oregon, Lewelling Vineyards from Napa, and Russian River pioneer Pellegrini Family Vineyards from Sonoma - just to name a few!

TexaCali Wine Co. also represents the most premium Ginjo Sake producers from Japan – and yes Texas is a huge premium sake market.

“TexaCali Ali” has built a reputation of “the hardest-working person in the wine business” among the Texas wine trade from assisting in all areas of selling wine. From distributor inventory management, staff training and education, promotion on the TexaCali website and wine blog, to in-store customer tastings, all passages from the winery to the Texas table are covered by TexaCali Wine Co. efforts.

TexaCali Wine Co. thrives on Texas Wine Lovers spreading the word to others about the wines and Sake of TexaCali Wine Co. The “TexaCali Inner Circle” is vastly reaching those who care about and love fine wines…to learn more about The Inner Circle and TexaCali producers, please visit www.texacaliwine.com

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sipping through Summer

Whew - what a summer we are having in Texas. The heat is especially extreme in Austin - weeks of 100+ degree days. I really wish I had a pool in the yard. Some day. Thank GOD for having a plethora of summer wines and ginjo sake to keep things cool around here. I'm so thankful many of you are making a choice to purchase from family and independent producers of TexaCali!

Honestly, there's a lot of CHEAP SWILL flooding the market, most of the giant wine companies are losing their shirts and slashing prices on all the crappy wine that usually sells in the most remote places. The economic shake-out has been tough on overpriced win
es and wines that really never delivered the goods when the economy was rockin'! I ask each of you to continue making an effort of supporting "the little guy"...you are the only people that can make a difference!

I am asked all the time "what are your favorite wines", well that changes each day. This weekend I'm really excited about sipping on Han
dley Cellers Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc ($15) and Medlock Ames Organic Sauvignon Blanc ($25) - such elegant and pure wines. Also, as for reds, I recently sipped on a 2004 Pellegrini Cloverdale Ranch Merlot ($24) - WOW!!!! The fruit in this bottle is just singing, it's going to be perfect with a grilled Bison tenderloin - oh and the Davis Family Vineyards Barn D'Or Syrah/Cab blend would also be divine with the Bison. Endless choices really, I can't leave out Crios Rose of Malbec ($11), a summer (oh I admit, Spring, Fall and Winter too) staple at my house. The Crios wines must be bought handfuls at a time - trust me! Enjoy your weekend, I know I am looking forward to CHILLING OUT! Cheers - Ali

Monday, July 06, 2009

Premium Sake Tasting...

Chill Out with Sake in Dallas this Week! Sigel's Fine Wine & Spirits sent out this promo all over the metroplex...hope to see a few of you there, the classes are limited to call to confirm your seats!

Sigel’s-Elite Seminar
featuring Ali Smith, Vine Connections Sake (yep that's me!)
Thursday, July 9th
Sigel’s-Elite (3209 N Fitzhugh)

Alison Smith of Vine Connections Sake, Texas' leading Japanese Sake Educator, will be conducting a fascinating introductory tasting of this iconic Japanese beverage. The seminar will feature an overview of the world of Sake, including the differing levels in the Sake quality hierarchy, Sake Terroir, Sake production methods and Sake & Food pairings, while showcasing some of the finest Japanese Sake producers available in this country.

Sakes to be Tasted:

Tozai Living Jewel

Junmai Ginjo
Nanbu Bijin Southern Beauty
Chiyonosono Sacred Power
Kanbara Bride of the Fox

Tokubetsu Junmai
Rihaku Dreamy Clouds (Nigori)

Junmai Daiginjo
Ginja Shizuku Divine Droplets

Join us for our latest Sigel’s-Elite Wine Seminar, showcasing superior winemaking in an enjoyable and educational setting. Elite Seminars are held in the education center of our newest location, Sigel’s Elite (3209 N Fitzhugh). Each seminar will analyze and discuss a variety of wines in a seated, university style classroom with guest speakers, multimedia presentations and plenty of opportunity for Q&A style learning. Each Elite Seminar will be strictly limited to 20 seats per session, lasting approximately one hour each. Special pricing will be available after the tasting.
Session 1 will run from 6:00-7:15pm, Session 2 will run from 7:30-9pm. The seminar will be held at Sigel’s Elite, 3209 N Fitzhugh on Thursday, July 9. Cost for the event is $25 per person. To reserve a seat at this event please contact Scott Turner or Jim Fleming with credit card information at store04wine@sigels.com or 214/635-3162.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Solomon Scores Again...

No surprises here, the Spanish and French producers represented by Eric Solomon are FANTASTIC!

Robert Parker's reviews on the greatest and latest are now available to read all about... please click on

Happy 4th of July! Cheers - Ali