Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wine of the Week @ Block 7

Big Cheers to Block 7 in Houston for their enthusiastic support of Pellegrini Family Vineyards!  They've circled in on a Pellegrini Family Blend. A perfect excuse to go for the Block 7 Burger and Sweet Potato Fries too.  Cheers to a great weekend everyone! - Ali


Rarely does a value bottle whop us over our heads, but at a recent tasting Pellegrini's 2005 Family Blend did just that. Away are the overripe, high alcohol fruit bombs or thin, uninteresting whippets that one normally finds from California at this price. No - this wine is intense, rich and succulent without the rocket fuel alcohol that usually comes with this price-tag. Amazing texture with black fruit notes and impressive extraction.The wine just coats your tongue - which is what you'd expect from a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and jaw-dropping 100+ year old Carignan vines. 

The wine drinks like it came from an old vine parcel within la Liviniere, Minervois - definitely not Sonoma County. Unlike a great, old vine Carignan from an esteemed producer such as Gauby or l'Oustal Blanc, this one is accessible for every pocketbook.
We'll be pouring this wine, along with several other amazing values during this weekend's Saturday Tasting from 12-2pm. See you then!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Juice Box.

It's been a wild and wacky season thanks to Mother Nature in California.  Pinot Noir grapes came in today for a custom crush client @ Pellegrini Family Vineyards.  The Olivet Lane Pinot Noir is still hanging out for a few more days of sunshine.  A great day at the winery for all! 
Cheers! Ali

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Off Subject - Breakast Food Porn

There are many reasons to go to Perla's in Austin, great people, excellent food, the best cocktails in Austin, killer patio, and of course to see their beautiful oyster-shucker Jen!  

So, after hanging out there a gazillion times  - Ben the Bar Manager suggested I come in for Sunday Brunch, so here is what I'll forever be thankful for at Perla's: 

PS: There's a hidden mound of bananas smack-dab in the middle of this morning masterpiece.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Windsor to SFO to DFW to Fort Worth to Houston to Austin to Dallas to Fort Worth to DFW to SFO to Windsor.

Well worth the trip.  Avante Beverages hosted their Texas Portfolio Tour and knocked it out of the park this week.

I wonder, maybe 100, possibly 200 trade tastings I've now attended and/or organized over the past 10 years.  Portfolio Tastings = massive number of wine producers, marketing agents and sales folks who stand behind tables in a huge room together pouring their wines for wine buyers and media folks to try.   It's a time for folks like me to taste all the accounts who attend, crack some deals, hang out with the distributor sales reps and do a heck of a lot of networking with all the traveling vendors (I'll post a recap of some interesting wines I tasted from others at some point soon).

Yesterday I was a vendor wrapping up Avante's 3 day, 3 city Portofolio Tasting.  TexaCali Wine Co. as you know by now (or you are a clueless moron) represents some of the best family owned wineries from all over the world.  I brought out bottles from all corners of Italy and California this week - and "not a sucker in bunch" said everyone that stopped by my table for a taste through.
Many of us "in the trade" contemplate the need for these sorta tastings.  From a planning standpoint - pulling off a tasting is a HUGE pain in the tush.  It's a ton of work, hard-labor for the warehouse pulling mounds of wine to be delivered in advance to each venue, meticulous organization of each box (always a mixed case of wines) for individual tables, securing enough trays to load with ice for the white bottles, water pitchers and dump buckets for each table and of course all the price booklets and polished stemware all need uber planning in advance before it's "go-time".  There's usually a bus that bounces everyone around the state, most likely a bus that has a flat or a funky smell at some point between here and there too.  It takes everyone in our supply-chain working together to pull-off an excellent tasting.  This week- it was an excellent tasting!
Well attended - hundreds of wine buyers and pros attended the Texas Tour - rain or shine literally.  It was a "white-knuckle" drive on Tuesday through the hurricane, but I can only count on 1.5  hands the number of buyers who missed out, which is/was truly a shame.  This week was an excellent opportunity to not only taste wine, but to see the tremendous amount of comradeship between Avante Beverages and all of their Texas supporters who sell their beautiful wine offerings in their fine-wine establishments.

Avante - these group of fellas started a company driven by passion 4 years ago and live it everyday no matter what.  Wine distribution is a tough, bumpy and steep road &  peddling wine through distribution is filled with more hard & curvy roads.  However,  a week of seeing smiles the minute a wine sommelier or retail buyer's nose hits a glass for their first sip of wine makes it all worth it.  Thanks to all who stopped by my tables, tasted the wines of TexaCali Wine Co. and continue to support and promote the good folks of Avante Beverages in Texas.  

2010 has been an incredibly hard year for TexaCali Wine Co.  As most of you know, last April I undeservedly and ruthlessly lost my dearest client  -  a collection of wine and sake producers I've been fiercely dedicated to over the last 5 years.  Avante Beverages has stood strong by my side since the day they opened their doors.  So to those of you who stayed an especially long time talking with me at the tables this week offering your Texas-Size hugs and kind words of support -  you just blew a whopping amount of fresh air into my weathered sails.   I can't thank you enough.  The next chapter of TexaCali Wine Co. is well on it's way, so stay tuned!! 

Cheers to a great weekend ahead (hopefully you'll be sipping on a few wines from LIOCO, Handley Cellars, Pellegrini Family Vineyards, Teira and the gorgeous Italian wines of Indigenous Selections) Just ask your favorite Texas wine shop!

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Texas Portfolio Tour

TRADE AND MEDIA ONLY:  Avante Beverages is hosting their statewide portfolio tour...stop by and taste the incredible wines of LIOCO, Handley Cellars, Indigenous Selections, Teira and Pellegrini Family Vineyards along with me!  Please click on invitation to enlarge below...Cheers! Ali