Monday, November 30, 2009

Davis Family Vineyards Winemaker Dinner

This Friday night in Austin...please click on photo to read the details! A dinner that is not to be missed if you are into drinking extremely well made wine and eating great food together. See you there - Ali

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chefs Under Fire

Take a break from your turkey leftovers and join us for an exciting competition - CHEFS UNDER FIRE, Monday, November 30th at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin.

Enjoy wine & small bites while watching our finalists pull out all stops for our three IRON CHEF judges.

How could it get any better? Each ticket purchase comes with a one year subscription to the PLATE & VINE online interactive cookbook featuring recipes from the Iron Chefs as well as other Celebrity Chefs throughout Texas.

Iron Chef America judges include Chef David Bull (of Bolla at the Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa), Chef Tyson Cole (of UCHI), and Chef Kent Rathbun (of Jasper's & Abacus).

Each chef has personally selected one of his Plate & Vine Interactive Cookbook recipes for finalists to cook and be judged by the celebrity chefs.

Experience the thrill of meeting Iron Chef Challengers and witness the ruthless competition. A few seats are still available, come join the Monday night fun in Austin. Please click the pic above for more event details or visit See you there - Ali

Best of the Year 2009 Editors Choice!

(Click image to enlarge)

Friday, November 27, 2009

More to be thankful for...

More Great Press for TexaCali Wine Co. Fans! December's Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave the following high scores to Pellegrini Family Vineyards of Sonoma! Cheers - Ali

91 Pellegrini 2007 Olivet Lane Vineyard Estate Bottled Chardonnay (Russian River Valley); $24. The vintage was great, the vineyard is in a great part of the valley, and the wine is wonderful. It's ultrarich in tropical fruit, buttered toast, buttercream and spice flavors, but perfectly balanced with acidity and minerals.

91 Pellegrini 2007 Olivet Lane Vineyard Estate Bottled Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley); $35. A gorgeous, lush Pinot Noir, simply irresistible for drinking now, but ageable. Shows rich, ripe cherry, raspberry, currant, chocolate and anise flavors, accented with spicy sandalwood. A bit primary and fresh in its youth, and should develop bottle nuances through 2013.

90 Pellegrini 2006 Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley); $28. Where the winery's Merlot is lovely now, this '06 Cab needs a few years in the cellar. It's tannic, giving an astringent tug to the blackberries, cherries, red currants, cocoa and herbs. Should soften by 2011, but if you drink it now, give it a good airing.

90 Pellegrini 2006 Cloverdale Ranch Merlot (Alexander Valley); $24. Great job in a soft, fruity, dry Merlot from this veteran producer. Shows an elegance in the finely ground tannins and deft integration of oak. With complex flavors of herbs, blackberries, violets, spices and wood char, it's just lovely now.

90 Pellegrini 2006 Milestone (Sonoma County); $45. A Bordeaux blend, it's quite shut down in tannins now, and not showing its best despite impressively ripe, rich blackberries, black cherries, currants and touches of chocolate, dried herbs and tobacco. Needs time. Give it through 2010, and it could blossom impressively beyond that.

90 Pellegrini 2007 Eight Cousins Vineyard Zinfandel (Russian River Valley); $26. A lovely Zinfandel, mainly for its beautiful texture. Shows classic flavors of peppery spices, wild berries, currants, tobacco, bacon and tobacco, but it's those fine tannins, lively acids and deft touch of oak that make it so balanced. Now-2013.

(Picture 1. Olivet Lane Display at Whole Foods Plano in 2007, Picture 2. While driving South on Olivet Lane 2 weeks ago, Pinot Noir Vineyard on the right, Olive trees and 8 Cousins Vineyard on the far left.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful for these Wines

...and you will be thankful too after pulling corks on the following American wineries we LOVE to drink over the Thanksgiving Holidays with our family and friends. Cheers to safe travels and good times this Thanksgiving season, these wines are hanging out waiting for you in wine shops all over Texas.

2008 Teira Sauvignon Blanc: A great start to the holiday weekend...from the Wine Spectator "Light bodied with pretty lemon-lime floral, key lime and passion fruit flavors that are bright, ripe and extremely refreshing. Candied pear drop and orange blossom notes give this a kick on the finish." $15

2007 Handley Cellars Anderson Valley Estate Chardonnay: an organic vineyard on the Handley property that produces chardonnay fruit with a distinct baked apple pie flavor. Need I say more? Well, you should pick up more than a bottle. $20

2006 Storrs Christie Vineyard Chardonnay:
Forget big name Chardonnay you can find in any gas station and
discount store these days that rhymes with "fake". Here's your truly rich and complex hand-harvest and family made wine from the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I always say this is a "cabernet lovers chardonnay" and am right on. Big layers of baking spice, sassy asian pears and full-bodied to please anyone. $29

2008 LIOCO Rose of Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Ahh, uncork this one while you are standing in the kitchen all day. A very full-bodied rose that will wake-up your taste buds and even make your turkey leftovers a special meal. We love this wine all of the time! $15

2006 Pellegrini Olivet Lane Pinot Noir: Elegant, refined and sexy. Good
reason to hog the bottle. Tuck this one out of reach of relatives who don't get what good wine is all about and pour an extra glass or two for yourself. $38

2007 Lange Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir:
The party-pinot for sure. Whole Foods has it on sale for $20 this week! The Lange family has been making wine in the Dundee Hills of Oregon for over 30 years now, beautiful wines and beautiful people both inside and out! Buy a case and share the fun.

2004 Medlock Ames RED:
50/50 Cabernet-Merlot Organic blend from the very top of Alexander Valley. This is one to open for all the cowboys in your life this weekend that love full-bodied red wines. $25

2007 Davis Family Vineyards Riesling:
The Riesling just landed in Texas for us.
Made from the oldest Riesling Vineyard in California, Guy Davis has hit another home-run with this one. Only 21 cases available in the entire state - ask your favorite wine shop for this special bottle. "I have wanted to make a Riesling for a very long time…but I only wanted to do so if it could be made in a delicious, crisp “old world” style…completely dry, without any sweetness…but still deliver the richness that we all love in our wines. " Guy Davis. $20 (read all about it here)

Turkey time - uh yeah.

Tis' the Season. This is the time of year that wine suppliers and distributor management show up in accounts acting like they do this all year. Creepy really. Back in 2004 as a buyer in Texas, I actually had to ask them all to please get out of the customers way - clogging up the aisles with there shiny shoes and cheery holiday sweaters. Blah. I'm in accounts all year (along with a handful of the cool suppliers and good distributors). You know when it's 110 degrees out and nobody wants to drink anything in Texas but water with LOTS OF ICE and cold beer in a pool??? Exactly when retail accounts need us the most. If wine brands need Texas, Texas accounts need help with tastings, staff trainings and deals all year long too. Sales are up this year in Texas for TexaCali brands - somehow I found a few extra hours a week to be there to help the sell-through. Nice. But now I can't leave early to spend time with my family & new in-laws b/c of all the shiny-shoe types standing around. Bunch of turkeys. Gobble Gobble. Ali

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Houston Livestock & Rodeo Wine Competition Winner!

Ten Gallon Hats Off to Guy Davis and his 2005 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon for winning the Grand Champion award at the Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition! I've been preaching the Davis Family Vineyards gospel for years now folks, glad to see the fever catching on in Texas for the beautiful wines of Davis Family Vineyards.

Please check out the Who, When and Where page on to RSVP seats for Davis Family Winemaker dinners with Guy around Texas. Dec. 3, 4 & 5. Seriously Good Wine. You can read more about the wine competition here on the Houston Chronicle website. Cheers - Ali

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Off to the Russian River

SOOOOOO much to tell you all, where do I begin? Well, as I'm playing a little catch up tonight, I'll at least fill you on where I'm headed tomorrow. Pellegrini Family Vineyards, bringing in lunch (oh yeah TexaCali King Ranch!) and tasting all the new vintages with the Pellegrini team. I'm so excited - check out all the awards from one of the most serious wine competitions in the USA. Cheers - Ali


Pellegrini Family Vineyards, an award-winning producer of handcrafted Sonoma County estate wines, took home a total of ten awards—including a Double Gold Honors —at the 2009 Sonoma County Fair Professional Wine Competition, one of the wine industry’s most prestigious contests and the premier competition in Sonoma.

In a review of more than 1,214 Sonoma County wines, 20 wine experts – comprised of wine writers, critics, sommeliers, restaurateurs, merchants and educators from across the U.S. – tasted and scored thousands glasses of wine over the three-day competition.

Pellegrini Family Vineyards took a Double Gold Medal honors for its 2006 Cloverdale Ranch Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($28), a newly bottled vintage that is now released. The winery also took home a Gold Medal for its 2006 Olivet Lane Russian River Valley Chardonnay Reserve ($40), which was released in January 2009. These wines are available in the tasting room at the Pellegrini’s Olivet Lane Estate winery, 4055 West Olivet Road, Santa Rosa, CA and online at

In addition, Pellegrini Family Vineyards was honored with medals for the following vintages:

Silver – 2008 Pellegrini Chardonnay – Russian River Valley

Silver – 2007 Pellegrini Chardonnay (Unoaked) – Russian River Valley

Silver Р2008 Pellegrini Dry Ros̩ - Russian River Valley

Silver – 2007 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley

Silver – 2006 Pinot Noir Reserve – Russian River Valley

Silver - 2007 Pellegrini Zinfandel – Russian River Valley

“We are thrilled that our wines have once again received top honors at this premier Sonoma County wine competition,” said Pellegrini Family Vineyards CEO Gary Hawke. “The Pellegrini family has been growing grapes and making wine in Sonoma County for four generations, and we are honored to be recognized by the industry for our sustained efforts in quality winemaking.”

This is the second year in a row that Pellegrini has taken home Double Gold honors.

About Pellegrini Family Vineyards
Pellegrini Family Vineyards produces eight Sonoma County varietals from grapes grown on the family’s 65-acre Olivet Lane Estate in the Russian River Valley and the 55-acre Cloverdale Ranch vineyard in the Alexander Valley. The winery is located 10 minutes off Highway 101 in the Russian River Valley and is open daily for tours and tastings between 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. For more information please call (800) 891-0244 or (707) 545-8680

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Quote of the Day

"The older we get, the more we must follow our passions for work, or just become bored out of our skulls", fellow wine blogger Jo Diaz. Well said. LOVE IT AND LIVE IT!

, Alexander Valley in November...enjoy the view.
- Ali

Monday, November 02, 2009


Here are the results of the Blind Hallowine Tasting in Austin. In order from favorite to least...Cheers - Ali

White - Only White wine of the night, everyone LOVED.

2006 Pellegrini Family “Olivet Lane” Chardonnay: Winemaker’s Notes: The 2006 Olivet Lane Estate Chardonnay has classic Burgundian notes of mineral, flint and wet stones evolving into hints of toasted bread crust. The mouth is rich and full-bodied with firm acidity, and the lingering finish is long and seamless. Retail $24

Blind Reds

1. 2004 Pellegrini Family Cloverdale Ranch Merlot. Nobody guessed this was primarily Merlot - the nose seduced everyone. This is a blend of (76% Merlot and 24% Cabernet) 2 grape varietals. This bottle delivers notes of toasty oak and cedar from the oak barrel aging, along with concentrated fruit flavors of strawberry, red cherry, and raspberry. This traditional blend and style shines from Bordueax, California, Chile, and Washington State. Retail $25

2. 2006 Pellegrini Family Olivet Lane Pinot Noir, Russian River region, Sonoma, California. The Pinot Lovers sounded loudly that this was a phenonminal bottle. The Merlot lovers didn't care for this grape, but the Pinot Noir lovers went back for 2nd and 3rd glasses of this throughout the night. This grape is known for its elegance. This wine exhibits unmistakable characteristics typified by brilliant color, silky texture, delicate mouthfeel, and upfront flavors of framboise, cherries and spice. Burgundy, Oregon, California, New Zealand are leading the way in production of this fine wine. Retail $38

3. 2005 Bodegas Mustiguillo “Mestizaje”: This was the surprise hit of the night, nobody heard of the Bobal grape, the price was the most pleasing to all. Composed of 70% Bobal with the balance equal parts Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit comes from vines planted on chalk and limestone at high altitude. Purple in color, the wine offers aromas of pain grille, damp earth, vanilla, black cherry, and black currant. Thick and chewy on the palate, the wine has excellent depth and concentration leading to a tannic finish. You will only find this main varietal in the heart of Spain. Retail $15

4. 2005 Davis Family Vineyards “Barn D’Or”. Made by Guy Davis, a rising star in the wine world, this is a blend of Sonoma Cabernet and his Russian River estate Syrah. These varietals are traditionally found in Bordeaux, France, Australia, California and Washington State. This blend shows the nice structure and aromas of “first varietal” up front, and then the more you drink it, the plump, fruit-packed “ second varietal” flavors come welling up from underneath. The firm grip and structure makes it a perfect match to hearty foods and juicy red meats. Retail $25

5. 2007 Mendel Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. A wine with “Altitude”. The grape was sourced from a 45-acre parcel of 80-year-old vines at an average elevation of 3300 ft. above sea level and aged for 12 months in French oak. Purple-colored, it displays an alluring bouquet of cedar, spice box, violets, and black cherry. Medium-bodied and elegant on the palate, it has plenty of savory fruit, cinnamon and allspice notes, excellent depth and concentration, and a fruit-filled finish. Retail $27