Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rockpile Vineyard

A lot of chatter about new Zinfandel and old favorites this week due to the 2011 ZAP festival in San Francisco.  I've always enjoyed Russian River Zinfandels, low octane and pretty such as Davis Family Vineyards and Pellegrini. But a few others stand out particularly from Storrs in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ridge, Storybook in Napa & T-Vine Cellars, in my book of taste. Excited to learn more today about other Zins...
A few years ago I had the honor of attending the inaugural release of the and of course atop Rockpile Vineyard. An epic day and I must confess, the most breathtaking zinfandel vineyard I've seen yet.  More after ZAP... Cheers! Ali

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Breaking Down "Wine Social Media"

Twitter = I need a glass of wine. 

Facebook = You gotta see this glass of wine I'm having!

Foursquare = I'm having a glass of wine here. 

Quora = Why am I having a glass of wine? 

Youtube = Check out the dirt this wine comes from &/or watch me drink this wine.

LinkedIn = I drink wine very well.

Simple...are you following, a fan of, joining me, watching me or linkin to me?  

Cheers, "TexaCali Ali" 

PS: "Google" me, I'm mostly socializing online about damn good wine. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

National Cheese Lovers Day

So an entire day to celebrate ME, a Cheese Lover indeed!  I often say that I'm in the wine business to mask my addiction to really good cheese.  Cheese is a staple, and I'm not talking Velveta folks.  A good bite of cheese can trigger memories just like a fine glass of wine. It brings you back. I know a few people that don't like cheese, they are not to be trusted.

Cheese like wine starts begins with farmers.  Cheese starts from the ground up  - it's all about a "sense of place".   I personally geek out when I'm visiting a cheese shop, the same rush happens when I walk into a fine wine store.  You can visit the world by learning the facts from the cheesemonger behind the counter.  All of the sudden you're there, standing on the hills of North Eastern Italy among the sheep.  Is that weird that I do this?  

Whatever, life is too short to eat bad cheese.  

Step up your game this year and make a special effort to support your local family owned Cheese Shops - some of the most passionate foodies you'll ever encounter.  I almost always end up with a bag of other heavenly snacks and bottles of wine to go with the glorious cheese.   Here's an offering from my favorite local shop in Sonoma County: 

"Cheesemaker Showcase"
Once in a while we find a cheesemaker that makes us real proud and Rebecca King is that cheesemaker. She owns Garden Variety Cheese Company in Royal Oaks, California. Her farmstead dairy is comprised of herds of sheep and she produces an array of raw milk cheeses, blankets from their wool, offers a CSA meat program and Adopt a Ewe program which offers all of the above. Our selection includes Moonflower, which is aged up to one year and has a dense nutty buttery flavor reminscent of French Pyrenees cheeses. Paired with Anjou Crostini and Savannah Bee acacia honey.
- The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, California (next to the movie theater and the Flying Goat)

Stop and take a civilized break while running errands back in Dallas and visit Scardello's and in Austin, a stop into Antonelli's is a must. Gourmage is the bomb in New Braunfels too!    Ahh, I have a really cool wedge of Italian Cheese in my fridge now made from buffalo's milk...a perfect way to kick off this day of celebration! 

Epoisses - my favorite with Pinot Noir.  What's your favorite cheese these days? Better yet - let us know about your favorite cheese shop!

Cheers - Ali

Monday, January 17, 2011

California Pinot Noir goes Perez Hilton

Do you love Pinot Noir as much as I do?  The is always a great read with notes, reviews and a few articles that make you even more curious about Pinot Noir from your favorite region.  Here's a fun list...for those who also follow Perez Hilton too! Cheers - Ali 

Heidi Montag Award (Biggest transformation): Carneros (Buena Vista Carneros, Donum Estate, Mahoney Vineyards and others); Foppiano Vineyards; Thomas George Estate (formerly Davis Bynum); J Vineyards & Winery

Paris Hilton Award (Most in news): E.& J. Gallo (Red Bicyclette); William Foley

Lindsay Lohan Award (Highest alcohol levels; not de-alcoholized): Brewer-Clifton, Aubert

Taylor Swift Award (Most hits): Cobb Wines
Rodney Dangerfield Award (Can’t get no respect):
Santa Cruz Mountains, perhaps California’s least celebrated but great region for Pinot Noir (Mount Eden, Rhys Vineyards, Varner, Windy Oaks and more).

Fred Rodgers Award (Most admired): Richard Sanford

Bling Award (Most expensive):
Domaine Serene Monogram ($225)
Justin Bieber Award (Relatively young, making a splash):
Alexana Winery, Alysian, Big Table Farm, Bjornstad Cellars, C. Donatiello, Carabella Vineyard, Ceritas, Cherry Pie, Cornerstone Cellars, de Coelo, Evening Land Vineyards, Foursight Wines, Furthermore, Harrington Wines, Heart O’ The Mountain, Kelley Fox Wines, Kokoma, Lucienne, Signaterra (Benziger) SPELL Winery, Three Sticks Wines.

Lada Gaga Award (Personality): Lane Tanner

Angelina Jolie Award (Best Package): Belle Glos

Chip Off the Old Block Award (William Selyem spin offs carry on the tradition): Anthill Farms, Brogan Cellars, George Wines, Olson Ogden Wines, Papapietro Perry, WesMar, Woodenhead

Jimmy Wales Award (Great, obscure producers): Castalia, Clos Saron, Saxon Brown

John Steinbeck Award (Best winery blog): Anne Amie, Bruliam Wines, Pinotblogger (Capozzi Winery)

Jack LaLanne Award (Legends that are still in top shape): Calera, Dehlinger, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery, Hanzell, J. Rochioli, Joseph Swan Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards, The Eyrie Vineyards, Williams Selyem

Black Friday Award (Best deals): Balletto Vineyards, La Crema Winery, Sean Minor Wines, Westrey Wine Co.

Steve Jobs Award (Most Innovative): LIOCO

Mark Zuckerberg Award (Best winery website): Big Table Farm, Clos Pepe Vineyards, Thomas George Estates (live web cams).

Vincent Van Gogh Award (Best labels): Big Table Farm, Cherry Pie, Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Red Car, Windy Oaks

Anna Paquin Award (Winery goes gracefully both ways - great Pinot and Chardonnay):
Benovia Winery, Calera, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, duMOL, Freestone Vineyards, Hanzell, Littorai, Mount Eden, Walter Hansel

Robert Parker, Jr. Award (Highest scoring Pinot Noir): 2007 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (100 pts by Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast, $100).

Oscar Wilde Award (Best winery newsletter):
Navarro Vineyards, Pisoni Vineyards, Red Car
Orson Welles Award (No wine before its time):
Kalin Cellars

Play Hard to Get Award (Most allocated): Aubert, J. Rochioli, Kistler Vineyards, Kosta-Browne, Marcassin, Privé Vineyard, Rhys Vineyards, Rivers-Marie, Sea Smoke Vineyards

Tiger Woods Award (Surprise!): Briceland Vineyards (Humboldt County), Heart & Hands Wine Company (Finger Lakes), Heron Lake Winery (Wild Horse Valley)      

Friday, January 07, 2011

Outstanding California Chardonnay

Looking for a unique white wine that will blow your socks off?  Well, this amazing 2004 Demuth has been sitting inside a wine cave for a few years now and is one of the most interesting California chardonnays I've ever tasted in my life.  Long notes of baked lemons, caramel and almonds & walnuts, I think all my friends who are into "orange wine" from the Jura would flip over this one!  

The 2004 Demuth Chardonnay is not in retail distribution right hardly at all, but I know how to find about 38 cases...shoot me an email and I'll put you directly in touch with the keeper of this magical bottle of Chardonnay from Anderson Valley.  Cheers - Ali

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 Facebook Status Summary

so, Facebook is where most of the comments are left these's been a great tool and resource for sharing the good news about all things TexaCali Wine Co.  

Cheers - Ali (Mom you can click on the image to enlarge to read up!).

Sunday, January 02, 2011

TexaCali Wine Co. Wine of the Year

Pellegrini Family Vineyards "Cloverdale Ranch" Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, California. 

This beautiful Cabernet from the Pellegrini Family has been a faithful friend for many years now, and keeps on giving back as the clock turns.  2006 sold through quicker than any vintage before, 2010 ended with the new 2007 release that's impressing Cabernet Sauvignon drinkers all over the planet. (mindblowing QPR).

Texas in particular is in love with this bold, lush and beautiful Cabernet made from the famed Cloverdale Ranch about an hour North of the Pellegrini Family Winery in Santa Rosa, Ca.   It's not often that I receive "Thank You" notes from buyers for a wine they've selected, but 2007 vintage has provoked grateful emotion.

Winemaker's notes:
The 2007 vintage of our Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is classically structured with the unmistakable aromas of currents, black cherries, tobacco, and violets. That classic structure supports all this complexity and promises elegance over the next 10 years.

Small Batch Coming Soon...

The cellar team is gearing up to bottle the first Reserve-Level "Block 9" Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon ever in the legendary history of the winery.  I've tasted the Block 9 juice for months now and promise you'll want to purchase as much as you can afford as soon as it's released, it's THAT GOOD.   
Cheers to another tremendous year ahead for the wines of Pellegrini Family Vineyards!  - Ali