Thursday, February 18, 2010

Houston Livestock & Rodeo Wine Grand Champion

Journey from classroom to cellar


Food would be Guy Davis' meal ticket through college, where he thought he'd gone to learn how to become a stockbroker. But the most important subject he studied while working in the kitchen for "a couple of crazy French guys" in a Boise, Idaho, restaurant called The Creperie was wine.

"I answered an ad in the newspaper, and I wound up getting an unbelievable education," Davis said. "I got bitten by the bug at the age of 19."

The now-50-year-old Davis learned to appreciate wine's every stylistic nuance because his bosses offered him almost nightly tastings, accompanied by long philosophical discourses on the nuances of the different regions. Soon, their passion became his passion. Go to his Web site and the first thing you read is this:

"At Davis Family Vineyards, we have some pretty strong beliefs about wine. We believe wine is an essential element in a rich and passionate life. It adds an extra layer of flavors to both meals and to friendships. And, like a lover, wine has a sensuality of perfumed aromas and silky, supple textures -- endless charm and character that brings many pleasures to our senses and spirits."

If those words don't make you want to pop the nearest cork, nothing will.

Davis' thoughts on wine are relevant because of his small-production 2005 Davis Family Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, which will be formally introduced at the "Rodeo Uncorked! Best Bites" soiree Sunday as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's seventh Grand Champion. The cab will also be the star attraction at a dinner in Davis' honor tonight at Sullivan's Steakhouse.

He confesses he didn't know much about the Houston competition until one of his Texas contacts told him it had become an important, prestigious event. Among the nearly 1,800 wines that were entered, his triumphed. Now, most of the 700 cases he made wound up at Spec's, priced at $43.33 a bottle.

Because Houston is considered to be the hottest cabernet market in the country, he's delighted to now be more than just another blip on the city's radar screen. But he's hardly a one-trick pony. In fact, he's probably better known for his Russian River offerings such as pinot noir, syrah and chardonnay.

For Davis, though, it's about terroir. He doesn't force square pegs into round holes. In his eyes, all grape varietals are created equal.

"I just love making wine from special areas, to show that true sense of place and the character of the varietal," he said. "I'm about working with the right grapes in the right place."

After graduating from Boise State, Davis started selling wine, and that meant he was tasting lots of it he said. The more he sampled, the more he believed his future was in the cellar and the vineyards. By the late 1980s, he was actively hunting for property in Sonoma, and by 1994 his winery was open on a ridge top in the Russian River Valley.

His timing was perfect. The first cabernet Davis released was a 1997, frequently referred to as Napa's "vintage of the century." And the New York Times selected Davis' initial offering as one of the valley's 20 best.

His champion Houston cab represents a lucky 13th vintage, and there are at least that many more to come, now that his oldest son, Cole, is working at the family business. It's hard work and perhaps only glamorous when you win prestigious awards -- the '05 cab has now claimed several -- but Davis insists days off are overrated.

"I'm lucky the wine business gives you so much in return," Davis admits. "There are many sides to it, and they're all rewarding."


• What: Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition.

• Where: Reliant Center, Halls D and E.

• When: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday

• Info: Many of Houston's finest restaurants and caterers will have serving stations, and the rodeo competition's top wines will be featured, including the Grand Champion cab from Davis Family Vineyards and the George Bush Foundation Top Texas Wine, the Flat Creek Estate "Mistella" dessert wine. Proceeds benefit the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo charity.

• Cost: $100 in advance, $125 at the door. Table of 10, $1,800.

• Reservations: Visit the show's ticket office inside Reliant Center, or go to or call 832-667-1128.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Heart Malbec- La Posta Paulucci

So many Malbecs, so little time! Here's my pick for a perfect Valentine's Day...around $18 a bottle.
89 Points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, 2010
"Bright medium ruby. Ripe, slightly reduced aromas of plum and pepper. Sweet, silky and very ripe, with a distinctly chocolatey character.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Davis Family Vineyards - Texas Update!

After months of planning, it's my great pleasure to announce a week full of events with Guy Davis, owner and winemaker of Davis Family Vineyards located in the heart of the Russian River region in California.

A very special Texas trip for Guy this time of year indeed. His 2005 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon just took top honors and won the "Grand Champion and Best of Show" award form the Houston Livestock and Rodeo International Wine Competition - 1st place over 1500 entries this year!
A few seats are still available for the dinners, and don't miss out on the complimentary tastings for you to enjoy as well.
  • Winemaker Dinner @ Sullivan's Steakhouse in Houston
  • Bottle signing and tasting with Guy @ The Houston WIne Merchant
  • Winemaker Dinner @ Perry's Steakhouse, Houston Champions location
  • Bottle signing and tasting with Guy @ The Austin Wine Merchant
  • Winemaker Dinner @ Mirabelle Austin
  • HLSR "Round Up & Best Bites" Tasting in Houston
All Texas event details posted on the TexaCali Wine Co. website Read all about Davis Family Vineyards current wine releases and accolades on A few perfect Valentine gift ideas for anyone who loves really great wines! Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

If you love Napa Cabernet won't want to miss the Davis Family Vineyards Winemaker Dinner in Houston next week.

The 2005 Davis Family Vineyards Napa Cabernet won "Grand Champion" this year at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Wine Competition (the highest honor received from over 1500 wine entries).

Please join us for a delicious evening with California's Guy Davis, owner and
winemaker of Davis Family Vineyards at Sullivan's Steakhouse. Details below...

Sullivan's Steakhouse, 4608 Westheimer Rd.

When: Wednesday, February 17 @ 7pm.
$90 pp + tax & tip

Sullivan's 713.961.0333

The Menu

Passed Appetizers

Tropical Ceviche

Paired with 2007 Davis Family Reisling, Santa Lucia Highlands

First Course

Phyllo Purse Filled with Apples Blue Cheese and Walnuts served with Bitter Greens

Paired with 2007 Davis Family Chardonnay, Russian River.

Second Course

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Meuniere Sauce over Risotto.

Paired with 2006 Davis Family Pinot Noir, Russian River.

Third Course

Filet au Poivre

Rested on a Bed Wilted Winter Greens and Roasted Potatoes

2005 Davis Family Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (Grand Champion Houston Rodeo)

Fourth Course

Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Port From the Davis Family Winery

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Yo La Tengo

The Granada Theater in Dallas is a treasure - always a kick to see a show there. Yo La Tengo rocked the house last Saturday night.

Rocked it just like a cool Magnum of Nosotros from Argentina does. Cheers - Ali