Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Game Changers

A profound 2014 it was - the good, the frustrating, the brilliant... blah blah blah. However, the biggest Game Changer in 2014 for this gal was the photograph and 2 Apps that fueled the game. 

I snapped over 15,000 photos in 2014 and posted a few thousand for the world to see.  In many ways photos helped me understand myself a little more, provided insight to others and gave birth to a new non-profit organization under my watch.

Instagram: I've been @texacaliali since the very beginning of Instagram and have used it almost daily since. This year @smithstorywines, @sandwichthedoodle and @socksforsandwich all went live. Instagram is full of interaction with a curious twist, a simple networker perhaps, an impactful storyteller of sorts.  I've made hundreds (well maybe thousands of new friends), observed new babies on earth, happy times, sad times and traveled to remote places I'll most likely never see in person...too many things to type really, just login and notice. 

Look up, look around, look what's right in front of you. Share. 

SIDE BAR: Socks for Sandwich and  @socksforsandwich was born on Instagram and went live during the Thanksgiving Holiday. For every #socksforsandwich photo tagged with a living-thing that is wearing a pair of socks -  we'll donate a NEW pair of socks to anyone in need.  Near 400 pairs of NEW socks were donated (mailed!) to us in less than 6 weeks - thanks to Instagram for providing a platform to show how giving to others can be easy and fun. We are just getting started here...

The Delectable App:  Of all the wine-apps and tools I've clunked around on over the years, by far Delectable is the best of the best.  The App can be used for many reasons, I began this year to catalog wines that I've tasted. But in 12-months time, Delectable has become so much more in terms of helping in business. A week hasn't passed in months that I haven't found myself looking at Delectable with a wine buyer about a wine or two.  

The Delectable App is a powerful tool both for the wine consumer and the wine trade for certain.  Not just for wine geeks who find pleasure in big-word wine descriptions - create an account, post your wines, read, click around...learn something new.

I'm closing 2014 (such an ass-kicker of a year) with big plans ahead -  2015 is already shaping up to be a sweet one. Thanks for coming along...Best wishes to you all for a kind, beautiful, generous and fabulous New Year.  See ya around, TexaCali Ali

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

You probably aren't drinking...

these 4 California white wines because they are made in tiny amounts. However, they can be purchased from your favorite fine wine shop or through the winery website...finding them will be worth your while! 

What a year, I probably tasted 600+ wines over the last 12 months... here's a short list that stood out - a few wineries that I officially help via TexaCali Wine Co., a few I help by drinking every drop I can get my hands on. 
Alder Springs Vineyard

This is a VERY short list! Soooo many great bottles are on my long list, but  for now I must share a few with you since #sharingiscaring at the very least.  
Cheers!  - TexaCali Ali

Alder Springs Apex 39 -  only 156 cases produced from 100% Estate fruit from vineyards that grow near 3000 ft. above sea level. I've always fallen for a well made white Rhone wine, this blend of 54% Roussanne, 29% Marsanne and 17% Viognier never disappoints. Glad to see Alder Springs Vineyard in National distribution in 2015. $45

2013 Mark David "Transitus" Sauvignon Blanc:  I first had a sip of this beauty in the heat of summer, sweating bullets down my face and the "Transitus" saved the day. It continued to save dinner as well, perfect with roasted lemon chicken. A richer style Sauvignon Blanc made from beautiful single vineyard Rutherford fruit in the Napa Valley. Mark and David made about 315 cases...thankfully, I have 2 bottles left in my stash.  $24

2012/13 Farmers Jane Field White - about 19 barrels produced from a combination of old vine Grenache Blanc, Albarino and Verdelho from the Suisun Valley. Perfect on the the Sonoma Coast pictured here.  Man that was a great afternoon with my dear friend Angie too! $24

2012 Liquid Farm White Hill Chardonnay
I drink a fair amount of really good chardonnay, this bottle blows my mind each time I am lucky enough to have a glass full. There's something about the texture that I completely's a good "tweener" for those who like a full-bodied white and those who don't. I'm sure the 2013 is just as brilliant and I can't wait to taste. $40

Friday, October 10, 2014

Alder Springs Vineyards - Knowledge is Power!

Oh heavenly day... I thought of this awesome Patty Griffin song while visiting Alder Springs Vineyards a few weeks ago.   Each time I'm standing on their sacred ground among the vines I pinch myself.  No wonder why they've been one of the most sought-after vineyards to source fruit from from over the past few decades now. Truly - such an amazing place to see.

So I'm having a blast helping Alder Springs Vineyards establish their National Distribution Network this year, here's an interesting list of facts below that have simply been wonderful to talk to people about when showing Alder Springs Vineyards to new customers and media alike. Cheers - TexaCali Ali

12 Cool Facts About Alder Springs Vineyard
1) The vineyard totals 140 acres of vines and is surrounded by an undeveloped and pristine 6,000 acre ranch.  There’s no exhaust or pollution affecting our vines.

2) Alder Springs Vineyard is split into 3 vineyard blocks, which sit several miles apart from each other. Each block has its own microclimate.  The lower block starts at 1,700 feet and the upper block reaches 2,700 feet. 

3) Warm day temperatures are moderated by our proximity to the coast, high elevations, and cool nights (not fog). 

4) The vineyard is 13 miles from the coast.  The coastal stretch just north of the vineyard is often referred to as the Lost Coast because of its desolate and undeveloped location. 

5) Alder Springs Vineyard is an hour drive from any other vineyard or winery area.  Because of our unique location, the vineyard produces a specific flavor profile unlike any other in California.

6) Alder Springs is 3 hours north of San Francisco and 2.5 north of Napa.

7) Alder Springs sells 90% of their fruit to a group of über talented California winemakers who specialize in non-classic California wine styles (list of winemakers available via email).

8) Alder Springs grapes are some of the most sought after fruit in Mendocino and when deciding to make wine, had to put themselves on their own wait list.  As a matter of fact, had to wait years to obtain some of the fruit they wanted.  

9) Stuart Bewley, the owner of Alder Springs Vineyard, has been described as "one of the most meticulous viticuluralists in the business".  

10) Winemaker Byron Kosuge, specializes in cool climate wines and worked for Saintsbury Winery for 17 years before moving to boutique productions. 

11) Tom Piper the Master Viticulturalist, had 16 years of organic and sustainable viticultural experience before joining the ASV team.
12) The Black & White Labeled wines represent the very best fruit among the vineyard. Row 5 Wines represent a bit more volume vines & blends – both labels are wines made from Alder Springs estate fruit! 

Friday, September 05, 2014

On the Road Again

Ahh a familiar route is taking place next week SFO - DFW - HOU - AUS & - SFO for the Favorite Brands Texas Road Show.  I've been road-showing with Texas distributors since 2005, going on 10 years now and have survived each time.  This time is very special however, an entire new group of beautiful wines at the TexaCali Wine Co. table all week long:

Alder Springs Vineyards: Stop by to taste brand new inventory that just landed in Texas, Marsella from the Alder Springs Ranch will be along for the ride too.  Bring your inner geek!  Both Alder Springs Estate and Row 5 wines will be open for tasting.

Cobb Wines: 2012 Mags. Need I say more? Allocations for his 2012 releases have arrived in Texas, this is your chance to taste and reserve a case or two.

The GRADE CELLARS:  Looking for a Thomas Rivers Brown Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley?  This lovely & rare 2010 will be opened for all to taste. Only 300 cases produced.

Teira Wines: BTG PARTY PEOPLE!!  Anyone who's known me for years, knows I've been a big fan of the Teira wines for their high-quality to price point ratio. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot & Zinfandel from a very special place in Dry Creek Valley!

Inizi: ONE WORD: CHARBONO.  From the Napa Valley. Limited production so get this new-kid-on-the-block while you can.

Winemonger Imports: The darling of the Austrian wine world.  I'll have a few iconic wines from Moric open, as well as my very favorite Rosé from Umathum.  There's so much more to this portfolio, look out Texas because we're just getting started!

See you on the road!

 - TexaCali Ali

PS: I'll also have a ZALTO Universal Glass at the table along with direct to account pricing!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celebrating Cabernet Day

Today marks the 5th Annual Cabernet Day!  A day of celebrating the beautiful Cabernert Sauvignon Grape.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate than telling the world about my two favorite Cabernet bottles produced by wineries who are also clients of TexaCali Wine Co. and friends!

Denier Handal Vineyards

Their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley (hello all you Silver Oak fans, here's a bottle for 1/2 the price from the same neighborhood) is exactly what I like in Cabernet Sauvignon, smooth and silky sipping! I've been showing this around America for new distribution with wholesalers this summer, so get ready to find it in DC, VA, MD, NC and Texas!  Denier Handal is also available in Sonoma County at The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg and now available in New Mexico at your favorite wine shop and restaurants around the state. $35 a bottle.  Oh and If ever visiting the Healdsburg area, please reach out to them (or me) directly for a chance to taste together too.

From their website: Our Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example of the wonderful wines produced in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County. The aromas are lush and complex with hints of cassis, French oak, black pepper, anise, black olives and dark red stone fruits - plums and black cherries.

On the palate, its a powerful yet easy drinking wine with soft tannins giving it a soft velvety feel. Flavors of blackberries, black cherries and plums. It is a balanced wine with the soft tannins and acidity in perfect harmony. The finish is long and lingering with flavors of the fruit along with the presence of the soft tannins.

The 2010 won a few prestigious medals too:
Silver medal winner in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver medal winner in the 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Silver medal winner in the 2013 Los Angeles International Wine Competition

Click here to see my favorite view from a Wine Country Porch and to read more about my dear friends & their Denier-Handal wines:

Here's a real gem for any Cabernet Sauvignon drinker  - especially the Napa Valley lovers!  I've chosen their 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon for a few reasons today. 1) it's perfectly aged 2) silly good 3) their first release 4) my dear friends Loren & Annie are getting hitched in a private ceremony at the Winfield Vineyard - where this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon is grown.  I first had the 2004 over dinner with the owners and Loren a few years back - and just fell in love with this STUNNING WINE!

The 2004 was made by the fabulous Rudy Zuidema in Calistoga, 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - Block #1 – Clone 337, Rootstock 110-R & Block #2  - Clone 7, Clone 337, Rootstock 101-4. It was aged in 60% new French Oak & 30% Neutral French Oak. First released in 2008 with 240 cases available.  

Best way to purchase this special 2004 is directly by calling the winery:  707.963.9838, $120 a bottle. Also call to reserve a special tasting with them at their Library location in downtown Calistoga or if you're lucky, a sip above the vineyard.

From their website: 2004 Tasting Notes...This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is brimming with the essence of Calistoga. Its dark purple and blue pigments seem to stain the glass, while the aromas of slightly dusty raspberry, cherry, white chocolate and brown sugar jump out. On the palate, its very complex flavor profile is driven by ripe strawberry, chocolate and crisp black cherry pulling along more subtle flavors including leather, spice and fresh earth. Oak only plays a supporting role here, allowing the focused Cabernet fruit to take center stage. The texture is solid and rich – true to the 2004 growing season. 

THE GRADE is also distributed direct in California and available in Texas, NC at this time. 

Happy Cabernet Day Everyone!  - TexaCali Ali


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The State of the Hustle

No truer words written in regards to creating a life in the wine business.  So many folks have asked me over the years "so how'd you get into the wine industry?",  I've always replied "I just did it, wine was a big hobby for me and I made the jump one day guessing the wine business needed passionate marketing and sales people".  And the rest has been history in the making...with one helluva hustle attached.

Last weekend I volunteered in Dallas for the 10th Anniversary of Texsom and am still floating from all the awesome people surrounding me.  I thought a lot about leadership in this industry while working Texsom behind the scenes this year.  The leadership qualities I noticed were abundant not only by the executive teams and captains, but also by the entire Texsom community.  I saw many leaders who are also great teachers, many leaders who listened and gracefully solved issues, but the leaders who stood out the most had the hustle!

The younger set of leaders among the Texsom community are smarter than ever before and more grounded than I ever imagined. These Young Guns are incredibly passionate not only about their own personal well-being in the community but deliberately passionate about giving and sharing their knowledge of wine to anyone that crosses their paths. They work hard, the study hard and they have the hustle it takes to turn them into real leaders among our spectacular wine community. Refreshing and welcomed.

As I've now entered into a "veteran" slot within the wine buiness, I'm thankful for so many people and places that have inspired me over the last decade.  But I'm most grateful for the gift of the hustle.  Thank you Texsom 2014 for putting another gust of wind in the TexaCali Sail!

See ya around - TexaCali Ali