Sunday, May 29, 2011

Driving "Under" the Golden Gate Bridge what I do  - so says my 4 year old nephew Brady.  Exactly 2 minutes and 20 seconds around midnight to cruise the most famous bridge in the world (according to Brady and his Aunt Ali). I returned from a quick trip to see the family back in N. Texas last night and was welcomed home to Cali by the beautiful Golden Gate.

What does this have to do with wine?  A memory for many signifying the gateway to Northern California wine country. Cheers to many more drives UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge. Ali

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Does this Chardonnay make me look fat?

 2010 Olivet Lane Chardonnay Grapes at Harvest

Olivet Lane Estate Chardonnay, a favorite in Texas for years now - and most certainly a staple on the East and West Coasts!  Get your chard on today for "International Chardonnay Day".   
Buy it by the case, why not?

And yes, if you down a bottle a night, Chardonnay will make you look fat. 
Cheers - Ali 

Follow along on twitter, & #chardonnay

Friday, May 20, 2011

We could all use a little more GRACE

One of the best things about my new chapter on the West Coast are new friendships, I met Angela Osborne almost a year ago during a visit to Healdsburg.  After chatting a bit she poured me a glass of her wine - this sealed our friendship forever!  No really, what a kick to know a cool woman who's as lovely as the wine she makes.

I was thrilled this past week to hear that Angela's 2008 Grenache was sold out! I can proudly say that I played a small but delicious role in her depletions!  So, I encourage you all to take this post seriously if you want something incredibly special - a few words from darling Angela...

"A Tribute to Grace Grenache may be purchased directly via my mailing list, and can be shipped anywhere across the continental United States. Should you be traveling through Sonoma County, winery visits are welcomed by appointment.

I have just sold out of A Tribute to Grace Grenache 2008, and look forward to releasing the 2009 vintage in August of this year. "


San Francisco Chronicle's Jon Bonné selected the 2008 Grenache as one of the most memorable wines of 2010 - I totally agree!

"It sat over a month before I finally uncorked it. Amazing - a thoroughly different consideration of Grenache than I'd encountered in California. Grenache is usually interpreted with Chateauneuf on the brain, and if most American Grenache uses Chateau Beaucastel as a template, Grace's touchstone was Chateau Rayas, Emmanuel Reynaud's ethereal masterpiece." Jon.

Please visit Angela's website here and join her mailing list, it's a special one...Cheers to a great weekend everyone!  - Ali

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

758 blog posts later...

No time to write a long one this evening, but want to say thank you to everyone following this blog...
The TexaCali Wine Trail is going on 7 years now - May 2005 The TexaCali Wine Trail began!  It's been nothing but pure fun to write and babble about this crazy wine trek I've been on and continue to climb through. I must have read over the words listed above on the header a few thousand times since 2005 "Never let the odds keep you from pursuing what you know in your heart you were meant to do", thank God there have been more fabulous days than rough ones (but man the rough ones were real doozies).

The next chapter is a big one for this gal, helping wineries sell and market their wines is exactly what I love to do. An exciting time to be in this line of work with all the new online resources, communication tools and whopping amount of folks drinking wine in America these days. The Cali in TexaCali Ali is building momentum and I'm well on my way with both feet on the ground and a big determined smile on my face. But about the blog...

A few TexaCali Wine Trail facts May 2005-May 2011
  • As far as I know, this was the first wine-ish blog in Texas!
  • Top keyword wine search: Crios Malbec, Davis Family Vineyards a distant 2nd.
  • America, UK and Germany are the top 3 countries readers come from.  Texas of course being the #1 place people read this blog from, California now on it's tail.
  • Google is the #1 referral site, but Twitter and Facebook have made a HUGE difference in referral traffic.
  • #1 read post over the past year:
  • TOP overall keyword search: TexaCali Ali, Eric Solomon taking the #2 spot since 2009 though.
So - hoping for a cool redesign soon on here, it's hit the big-time now in our world of wine & beyond.  A great big thank you for being here every post of the way. Seriously - just look at all those posts over there on the right side of the page you've read!  You keep me keepin' on and I'm just getting started.  Cheers, Ali

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Spring Chicken in the Russian River

A simple "chicken and dumplings" tonight @ ZAZU. Loved every bite and was perfect alongside a few glasses of Italian Falanghina and world-class friends.  Cheers to a great week ahead everyone!  -Ali


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Honoring Mom

May 8 this year is Mother's Day, a day we all must make certain our Mothers feel very special, well, because they are.  

My Mom in particular has put up with me for over 3 decades now and continues to be my biggest fan on earth (and the most loyal follower of this blog for 6 years!).  Don't know how she did it, but she showed me how fun it was to write before I could even ride a bike.   Thanks Mom, my favorite place to write is still at the table...

Cheers to all the Moms out there following the TexaCali Wine Trail for all these years too.   Please hunt down and try something new this weekend  - just maybe a few oldies but goodies too that are listed below: 

Bollinger "Special Cuvee" Brut Champagne - this beauty was a welcomed palate-cleanser during my jam-packed week in Bordeaux.  I'll drink it anytime offered a glass (or bottle).  I love the layers of bold flavors and hints of fresh baked apple pie.  A perfect way to toast with MOM and to her!

2009 GRUNER by Etz Kamptal  - Gruner Veltliner - this comes in a big 1 liter bottle for a reason  - open it early and wake up your taste buds out on the patio with others! Always bright, crisp, and very refreshing, with surprising bold fruit and mineral layers on the backside. I've taken this to many family gatherings and is always a big hit - and never lasts too long. 

2009 Davis Family Vineyards "Cuvee Luke" - a newer blend by Guy - Rhone style white-varietals that screams for a 2nd pour. We sipped this last Sunday night before digging into a night of Riesling, perfect. Aromas of nectarine, apricot, white peach, with floral notes and mineral character. Medium-bodied and elegant with a clean, dry finish - what's not to love?! I've stocked my fridge already.

2008 Olivet Lane Estate Chardonnay - always a well balanced Chardonnay from the famous Olivet Lane vineyard planted about the time my Mom gave birth to me.   This wine is consistently great each vintage & always creates a smile.


2010 Tramonto Rose of Pinot Noir - buy 3 at once- your Mother's Day will be complete with this vibrant PINK wine.  Also on Tap at Whole Foods downtown Austin.

2010 Domaine Begude Pinot Noir Vin de Pays d'Oc Rose - just loved meeting these incredibly passionate guys while in Limoux!  Such a cool place, I almost threw my passport down the water-well and stayed forever.  "This elegant and crisp Pinot Rosé hails from Domaine Begude, a small family owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc". Magical place and magical wines.  Found at in the US.


2009 Bench "Sonoma Coast" AND "Russian River: Pinot Noir:  whichever one you find - grab it quick. These beautiful pinot's are on Tap all over Texas now and NorCal too.   The bottles can be found at your favorite fine wine shop too, though Whole Foods Austin has the motherload.  A spectacular Pinot Noir!

2009 Pierre et Catherine Breton "La Dilettante" Cab Franc: Had this recently and went down so fast I had to ask what the name was the next day,  DELICIOUS! "A husband-and-wife operation in the Loire Vallrey, the Breton's built their reputation on making pure Cabernet Francs from Bourgueil and Chinon using Biodynamic viticulture and vinification."

2008 Chateau de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Cotes de Rhone- one of my favorite visits while in the Rhone last month. I love their Blancs but this one has always stood out to me as a great value.   The 2008 is a blend of 40% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and 10% each of Carignan, Mourvèdre and Counoise.

2007 Demuth Kemos Bei Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon: I tasted this a few weeks ago, "mindblowing" is what hit me after the first crazy good sip.  This vineyard is barely on land - 3.9 miles from the Pacific Ocean which is crazy to think for Cabernet to ripen...can't wait to go check it out in person!

Please copy, paste, print this list of course.   Happy Mother's Day Mom!  - Ali

Monday, May 02, 2011

20 Days In May for June

Dearest TexaCali Wine Trail Fans,  an urgent request from my heart tonight.

A few months ago my dear friend June suffered through a heart attack without health insurance to cover her medical expenses.   I am dedicating the first 20 days of May to lovable June in an effort to raise $22,000. 

Will you please donate $20 to help my dear friend June Lanoil today? 

Our group of friends in California have committed to asking 50 folks each, we hope to reach a goal of $22,000 by May 20 - $20 at a time.  June is a shining star in my life and in the lives of so many others and we are so very thankful to see her recovery going well.  

A very safe and easy way to donate your $20 bucks is here along with June's story:

Thank you so much for your donation and of course you are welcome to copy to your Facebook page, Tweet it and/or email this post along, every $20 WILL make a difference.

Cheers to 20 days in May for June - the Queen of Hearts!!