Thursday, April 29, 2010

May 1 - New Braunfels, Texas

The 7th Annual Wein & Saengerfest will be held all day in historic downtown New Braunfels on Saturday, May 1, 2010. The big day includes wine and beer tastings, and a host of entertainment and activities that include continuous live music, a grape stomp, art market, food seminars, Chef’s Showdown, activities for the kids, and a farmers market - culminating with a street dance at Main Plaza.

Don't miss out on "Gourmage" The Best Cheese and Wine Shop South of Austin and North of San Antonio. Here's what they are up to for your enjoyment on Satur

1. Grilled Sandwich "Big Sal" an italian sausage, asiago, mozzarella, truffle oil, cremini mushrooms, roasted red pepper, onion on ciabatta
. Paired beautifully with 2008 Handley Sauvignon Blanc from California's Anderson Valley.

2. Sandwich "Francesca
" mozzarella, sun dried tomato, shitake, pepperoni, black olives on foccacia. Paired with 2008 Lange Pinot Gris from Oregon's Willamette Valley.

3. And with 2006 Storrs Christie Vineyard Chardonnay.... Sandwich "Buffalo Bill" Monterrey Jack, Blue Cheese, Buffalo Chicken on bruchetta - Monterrey Jack and chardonnay, a true American combo? The ripeness of the chardonnay should hang in there with the blue cheese as well and offer a comparative/like pairing of creamy textures.

4. 2006 Teira Zinfandel too! Sandwich "The Perry" port poached pears, Gorgonzola, candied pecan, star anise on brioche -the savory, dark and sweet flavors are more hedonistic when paired up with this Zinfandel.

Those staying for the VIP Wine Tasting will have a chance to sip on LIOCO "Durell" Chardonnay, Handley Cellars Pinot Noir and Pellegrini Family Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A trip with Vine Connections...

My dear friend Mulan is blogging about our recent trip to Argentina with Vine Connections. Be sure to watch the incredible video of the Malambo! Enjoy the journey...Cheers - Ali

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Michaud Vineyard

H i s t o r y - The Chalone Appellation was recognized in the early 80’s but its grape growing history stretches back to the turn of the Century. Curtis Tamm, a Frenchman, has been credited with establishing the first vineyard on the Chalone bench, an undulating hilly plateau that extends to the north and west from North Chalone Peak, the highest Mountain in the Gabilan Mountain Range - land described in Steinbeck’s “ East of Eden. ”

Later in the early ‘20’s, a property to the East of the Tamm property, then owned by the Dyer family was sold to a gentleman named William Silvear. Silvear and his wife Agnes lived on their farm in Watsonville but it was Silvear’s passion to plant Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc (Melon de Bourgogne), Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. He succeeded in establishing approximately 15 acres just prior to prohibition and another 15 or so in the mid ‘40’s. The vineyard survived several subsequent owners and became what is now Chalone Vineyard. Prior agricultural activities, which included acorn harvesting and processing, were conducted by the Chalone or Soledad Indians, a tribe of the Costanoan Indians, who ranged from Atascadero to Marin.

G e o g r a p h y - The eastern skyline is dominated by the intriguing and mysterious Pinnacles, remnants of an old volcano born 28 million years ago. Eons prior to that, the land itself was born in the Pacific rift, what is now called Hawaii. Constant volcanic eruption at the rift has sent what is today called the Pacific Plate to the east, grinding away at the massive continental plate. The juncture called the San Andreas Fault circumnavigates the Pinnacles and passes 10 miles to the East. The resulting soil type is a decomposed granite - clay loam. The Pacific plate, submerged by the Pacific Ocean for most of its life, acquired numerous limestone deposits from the decay of marine organisms in this region. It is today one of the few places where granite and limestone are co-located, providing a well drained and mineral rich soil well suited to viticulture.

The region is ecologically described as a Chaparral community, receiving a modest 12-15 inches average rainfall. Additional irrigation water is supplemented by a well.

The Michaud Vineyard is situated at an altitude of 1500’ in the cooler northern end of the Chalone Appellation. Ample sun and daily temperature fluctuations of 40 to 60° F create unique growing conditions which yield a great depth of varietal flavor as well as a regionally defined compliment of mineral and spice characters (terroir). -

Full report complete with "pig roasting pics" coming up next! Cheers to a great Saturday to all - Ali

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We're #1, We're #1!

Texas is the #1 state for the beautiful wines of LIOCO. If you haven't taken time to learn about LIOCO step it up! LIOCO unoaked chardonnay, single vineyard designate pinot noirs and INDICA - their old vine carignan blend are incredibly special wines. I'm honored to assist LIOCO along with Avante Beverages in singing the praises of LIOCO throughout this great big state.

Signing off for the weekend, the Michaud Vineyard is where I'll be dancing alongside a campfire with other LIOCO ambassadors through the USA. Cheers to a much needed weekend of goodness...Ali

What to drink on Earth Day 2010

Medlock Ames is a
sustainable and organic grape grower inspired by biodynamic methodologies. We believe that a more natural approach to farming produces wines of superior quality. Our attention to detail and commitment to ‘green’ practices continues in the cellar. We employ gravity-flow techniques to reduce energy consumption at the same time as preserving the often delicate characteristics of our grapes. We also often choose to use native or ‘wild’ yeasts to ferment our wines in an effort to promote the uniqueness of our site and the way we farm fine wine. A variety of forward thinking practices are exercised at Medlock Ames. They help illustrate our dedication to doing the best we can for the land, for the future and for fine wine.

Read more about Medlock Ames here, wines are available everywhere in Texas - but look for them now at: Whole Foods, The Austin Wine Merchant, The Lake Travis Wine Trader, The Royal Blue, and Houston Spec's stores. Cheers - Ali

Friday, April 16, 2010

...New American Value Reds

10 New American Value Reds

Faced with a surplus of grapes and wine, more top U.S. vineyards and wineries are selling to négociants, who release wines under their own labels at value prices.

    By Ray Isle

2007 Teira Sonoma County Merlot ($18)

Besides connections to top vineyards, Teira has a great asset in Bill Knuttel, founding winemaker of Saintsbury and current head winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard. His expertise shows in wines like this spicy, elegant red.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quality Wine on Tap!

Free Flow Wines:
WOW! Everyone's talking about (and buying) Free Flow Wine these days... "Wine on Tap". Well, now you have a choice in Texas. Free Flow Wines was founded by Dan Donahoe of Teira Wines and is the mastermind of delicious & high-quality wine offerings in a KEG.


- Provides superior product consistency by eliminating spoilage. Free Flow Wines
- Reduce cost to consumer by as much as 46%.
- Improve service efficiency and reduce storage space
- Increase quality-to-value ratio by reducing packaging and shipping costs
- A greener way to serve wine:
- Reusable packaging
- Eliminate waste
- Reduce shipping weights

Approx. 21 bottles per keg, an easy set-up, easier BTG price! Ask Avante for pricing and reach out to me for more information. Kegs currently available: Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot. to learn more. Cheers - Ali

Monday, April 05, 2010

A Napa Valley Treasure

My favorite sip of last week! The 2007 Lewelling Wight Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Oh just wait tell I have the time to write about what I learned while visiting the Lewelling Vineyards...tasted through 2004-2007, both Napa and Wight releases. AMAZING!

2007 Lewelling Wight Vineyard Cabernet on Twitpic

Wines from Argentina...

If you know me you know I love Argentine wine and have been working hard over the past 5 years to promote the hell out of it in Texas - well the producers of Vine Connections of course! Laura Catena is finally publishing a book about her beloved country. Here's a sneak peak straight from Laura:

Guide to VinItaly

This just in from Indigenous travels if you are heading over! - Ali

Dear distributor partners:

As many of you and/or your customers have requested our producers’ VinItaly pavilion and stand numbers, I’ve updated the below list. I’ve also attached the 2010 Map of VinItaly herewith, for your purposes.

If you are indeed interested in securing appointments I will happily do so on your behalf. Just let me know sooner than later please, as Friday & Saturday appointments are already going fast!


-***BIANCAVIGNA*** Veneto Section, Hall 7, Stand B5- This is our new Prosecco producer, whose brand we will be launching in Q2. Pls make time to meet them and sample their tasty and competitively priced Prosecco!

-Bruno Rocca: “Langa In” Stand, Piedmont Pavilion (9) Position A2

-Cigliuti: “Langa In” Stand, Piedmont Pavilion (9) Position A2

-E. Pira/Chiara Boschis: “Langa In” Stand, Piemonte Pavilion (9) Position A2

-Ciacci Piccolomini: Tuscany Pavilion (8), Consorzio del Brunello section, Stand B8, Substand 76.

-Rocca del Principe: Campania Pavilion (B), Stand 25

-Giacomo Borgogno: Pavilion 7, Stand E9

-La Spinetta: Giorgio Rivetti will be attending the fair unofficially. For possible meeting requests, please contact for availability.

Also from Indigenous....