Monday, November 29, 2010

Fantastic Bubbles from Italy...

BiancaVigna Prosecco - new cases have arrived and are making friends all over the state of Texas.  Find it at your favorite Texas wine shop for $12-14.

A little reminder:  Prosecco DOC Brut NV
100% estate-grown Glera fruit; 27 year-old vines (average). 

Vinified by gently pressing the grapes, still decantation and fermentation at a constant temperature. Aged in stainless steel vats. Foaming: Second fermentation in stainless steel tanks (cuvée close) at controlled temperatures, with selected ferments, for a minimum of 60 days. Tartaric stabilization at a low temperature.
Bottling: Isobaric bottling, after sterile filtration

Tasting Note: Color: Brilliant straw-yellow with green reflections, fine and persistent perlage. 

Flavor: Creamy mouthfeel, yet dry in style; pleasant acidity, lovely fruitiness

Please visit their US Importer for more information:

Distributed By Avante Beverages in Texas.  Cheers  - Ali

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

A little reminder from Mother Nature a few days ago about how beautiful our world can be.  From the heart of the Russian River AVA, in Sonoma County this year, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Gratefully yours, Ali

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tis the Season...

for being buried.  The last 2 months of the year for anyone peddling wine is insane. I am now making appointments with myself to wash my hair, put gas in the car, make coffee earlier in the morning -  Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day are the two days of rest on the horizon.  Man, I needed a pedicure weeks ago, seriously.

Thanksgiving Day is going to be full of fun & love with new and old friends in California this year. My sweet parents are arriving to Sonoma County in a few days to see the beautiful fall vineyards and enjoy some time with me too.

I am so very thankful for my own family and all the family wineries who have trusted and supported me and all that I do to make their world go round...I ask you all to seek out the beautiful wines listed below over this holiday season particularly, they are the REAL DEAL.  No marketing hype, no unjust prices, only  pure and honest wine making for all to enjoy. 

Thanksgiving wines indeed.


Davis Family Vineyards: My new favorite is their Cuvee Luke - white Rhone style blend Guy Davis made from grapes grown in the Sierra Foothills. Guy named this crazy good wine after his first Grandson - Luke.  Also, his "Cote Rose" is my favorite dry Rose to drink while cooking up a Turkey storm in the kitchen.  Call the winery direct for these.

Handley Cellars:  oh their lovely & beautiful Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer (the #1 wine to sip with your roasted Turkey!), Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek. I almost always have Handley Cellars wines chillin' in my fridge.

LIOCO: out of this world "natural wines" made from "Grand Cru" vineyards in California, unoaked Chardonnays, Pinot Noir and a gulpable old-vine Carignan blend "Indica". I have 2 bottles of their first release Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir to open this Thanksgiving. LOVE LIOCO!
Pellegrini Family Vineyards: world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the famed Olivet Lane (Olivet Lane has been a staple on my Turkey Day table for over 8 years now).  Plus many other bottles to chose from like Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet and Merlot from Alexander Valley, Eight Cousins Russian River Zinfandel and a whole slew of unique offerings that are only sold through their tasting room and wine club. (Did you know I'm running their wine club now? Please jump on their website and sign up - loads of fun and amazing small batch offerings).

Medlock Ames: your best bet for sustainable wine making and vineyard growing in Sonoma County. I just tasted their 2001 Merlot, and it was unbelievably beautiful after almost 10 years...their Red blend that is 50/50 Merlot and Cabernet has been one of my favorites with a hearty meal for a very long time.
Storrs Winery When I think of the perfect Zinfandel I think of Storrs. Rusty Ridge Zinfandel has always been my favorite in all of California.  Their Petite Sirah is mindblowing too.  I can't keep up with all the Gold Medals and "Best of Class" awards the Storrs family receives each year, your best bet is to ask your favorite retailer for Storrs if they are currently without.  This family owned winery is such a gem.


Indigenous Selections:  this new importer on the scene has been the biggest blessing of my year.  Their portfolio full of handcrafted and family owned wineries in Italy continues to impress everyone.   A few highlights include: 





CIGLIUTI - all wines from this tiny producer. 

A big day of thanks ahead, send me some photos of your Thanksgiving wines!  Cheers - Ali

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Off subject - My Dog Henley

Many of you were lucky enough to have known Henley over the last 13 years, many of you have read about him here, many of you don't have an idea as to why I'm writing about him.  After a devastatingly hard summer, his health faded fast and I had to make the call to "put him down" last Friday night.  Over a week ago back in Fort Worth, I spent my my last few minutes with Henley, right before I loaded the car and left for a trip to Austin, he rested his handsome head in my hands and slowly closed his eyes while I continued to pet his ears and hug on him.  Henley lived a great long life, at least every year after his first one. 

Henley was a big goofy sweetheart black Labrador Retriever.  He "found me" one day while visiting the Dallas SPCA along with my dear friend Liane.  Among the numerous SPCA "big-dog" wire cages with loud rowdy dogs,  Liane and I walked to the very last cage in the room that day and there sat this quiet and depressed looking black dog.  He was not in good shape, scabs on his head, skiddish acting, underweight, all the elements of an abused dog.  Liane looked at me and without saying a word, I knew this little guy needed me, needed a good home.  Done.  Henley's new life had begun. 

Henley was instantly loved by all, often going to work with me in Dallas and San Francisco over the years. I'll always remember him waiting for me in my office in Dallas, I'd leave for a bit and upon my return down the long hallway, there he was - his head sticking out of my door looking for me, laying down, paws regally crossed in front of him.  My first office in San Francisco was a group of outdoor cottages on Union Street with a garden. The "Beware of Loveable Lab" sign still hangs on the gate  this very day.  Henley was witness to the birth of my wine-career, hanging out at K&L Wine Merchants sleeping under desks and soaking up love from the owners and staff.  Henley went everywhere I could take him.

Henley and I spent thousands of hours together taking long walks, Lakeside in Highland Park, Crissy Field under the Golden Gate Bridge, hiking The Presidio,  snowshoeing in Sun Valley, trotting around any golf course we could sneak onto at dusk, summertime hiking Tahoe and playing in creeks in Alpine Meadows (clearly his favorite place on earth) and our last routine walks together were tucked away among the rolling hills above Lake Austin.  In recent weeks, Henley eagerly awaited at the end of the day right by the front door inside my Mom's home for my dear stepfather Ben to take him on a long neighborhood walk.  He loved being outdoors - only if he was accompanied by a friend. 

I could write forever about Henley.  He was my shadow, not a minute would pass at home that Henley wasn't right at my feet.  Henley made a friend out of everyone.  Henley was "the model dog" as my Mom would say.  I want to thank everyone over the years who helped me with Henley, there was a lot of "got to let Henley out" days, keeping Henley company for weeks at a time while I traveled for work and of course the last few years of my life couldn't have happened without Kevin and Daniel of the Austin Dog Walker, and our rocks - Mom and Ben in Fort Worth.

Henley was an heavenly soul, greeted me every day with a crooked smile "are you smiling at me Henley?" and sang like Barry White anytime his ears were rubbed the right way.  Henley knew just how to make the day seem better. My angel indeed.  Thank you Henley for your time on earth, you taught me what compassion means, unconditional love - you touched so many lives.  

Since Friday night after posting Henley's passing on Facebook, over 300 friends and family members have called and sent messages. He loved life with all his might and was so loved backed by all.  I am so grateful for everyone's support and kind words, my heart is broken indeed, this year has been so incredibly tough, no question the year I need my friends the most.

Henley I promise to eat every pizza-crust in your honor for the rest of my life!!  My sweet Henley.  Cheers to the best dog ever,  Ali.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

#1 White Wine to Drink Now

My favorite food-magazine highlights LIOCO, actually the fine folks at Saveur rank it #!.  Just in time for the Thanksgiving Table.  LIOCO is distributed in Texas by Avante Beverages, this will disappear in a hurry.  BRAVO!! 

LIOCO Charles Heintz Chardonnay
2008 ($45)

Winemaker Kevin Kelley apprenticed in Burgundy before returning to make beautiful wines like this clean, precise chardonnay. Made from late-harvest grapes meticulously tended along the chilly, fog-shrouded slopes of the Sonoma Coast, this amber-hued chardonnay looks oaked but was made in stainless steel. It smells of heather and tastes like pineapple, honeyed pear, and apricot, balanced by bracing minerals.

Monday, November 01, 2010

2010 World Champions, a grand arrival!

I drove into my new place for the very first time in Northern California a few minutes ago, AM radio blasting the final minutes of the series, top of the 9th.  ...Giants Win!  Incredibly proud of my Texas Rangers, but damn excited for the San Francisco Giants, church bells ringing, fireworks slinging, car horns honking, neighbors cheering, a big celebration indeed. 

Home Sweet Home.  Cheers - Ali  (PS, thank you Brother Colby for the epic photo from The Ballpark tonight!)