Eleven-Eight-Nine-Ten Bordeaux Dinner at Charivari

At 7pm on Thursday, May 14th, please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, at Charivari for a fun and delicious look at wine from Bordeaux paired with the fine cooking of Chef Johann Schuster.  As always, we’ll start with Champagne after which we will go directly to two Sauternes (both from 2011, a great Sauternes vintage) paired with one of the best fish dishes being served in Houston these days and then to the reds. And what reds? First a group of fine 2008s with the grilled beef, then two of those same chateaux in the great 2009 vintage with the cheese, and finally the same two chateaux again in the great 2010 vintage with the dessert. Favorite wines from “Eleven-Eight-Nine-Ten” paired with favorite foods.Grand_Puy_Lacoste1

THE MENU
Walleye Pike Quenelles
Henriot Brut Rosé, Champagne, NV

Spiced Smoked-Miso-Maple-glazed Sable Fish Fillet,
Julienne Vegetables, and Sauternes Foam
Ch. Doisy Vedrines, Sauternes, 2011
Ch. Suduiraut, Sauternes, 2011

Beet Sorbet

Zabuton (Flat Iron) Steak with Beef Marrow Butter and Roasted Potatoes
Ch. la Croix St. Georges, Pomerol, 2008
Ch. Canon la Gaffeliere, St. Emilion, 2008
Ch. Gruaud Larose, St. Julien, 2008
Ch. Rauzan Segla, Margaux, 2008
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac, 2008

A selection of French Cheeses
Ch. la Croix St. Georges, Pomerol, 2009
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac, 2009

Swiss Chocolate-Chipotle Tart
Ch. la Croix St. Georges, Pomerol, 2010
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac, 2010

This unique Bordeaux dinner will cost $180 per person including a 5% discount for cash or check or $189.47 regular. All taxes and tips are included. For reservations, please reply by email coburnsusan2@gmail.com or call Susan at 713-854-7855Charivari is located at 2521 Bagby (77006) in Mid-Town Houston.

Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2010

On Monday, May 11th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2010. Considered by many to be the best of the three great vintages of the 2000s, 2010 in any case belongs in the discussion. Discussion will include details of the vintage and how the wines are developing. We’ll taste through 12 excellent red wines (including the “2nd wines” of two first growths), all from 2010 vintage.

The line up:
Ch. Ampelia, Cotes de Bordeaux  Castillon, 2010
Dom de l’Eglise, Pomerol, 2010
Gravette de Certan, Pomerol, 2010
Ch. Trottevieille, St. Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé,  2010
Le Clarence de Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan, 2010
Ch. Pontoise Cabarrus, Haut Medoc, 2010
Ch. Cantenac Brown, Margaux, 2010
Pavillon Rouge du Ch. Margaux, Margaux, 2010
Ch. Gruaud Larose, St. Julien, 2010
Ch. Batailley, Pauillac, 2010
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac, 2010
Ch. Calon Segur, St. Estephe, 2010

This Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2010 will cost $120.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $126.32 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, May 11, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Française is the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

What I’m Drinking and Why

On Thursday, April 30th at 7pm, please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for What I’m Drinking and Why. While I have never before offered a class such as this, I have long wanted to. (And a number of you have been asking for a class/tasting such as this.) After over 35 years as a wine professional who tastes over 9,000 wines a year, I know a bit about quality and value. These are the wines I personally am drinking right now – as in these are the wines I spend MY MONEY ON. They are delicious and, at their price points, I think they offer the best values available. None of them are cheap and only one sells for less than $20.00 but all of them over-deliver on price. Each of them has a story and each makes a point. I am confident that you will enjoy them as much as I do.

The line up includes:
Jansz Rose, Tasmania, NV
Castelnau Brut Reserve, Champagne, NV
Petit Vedrines, Sauternes, 2010
Schloss Vollrads Riesling QBA, Rheingau, 2012
Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl, Alsace, 2009
Seguinot Bordet, Chablis, 2013
Expression 38 Gaps Crown Pinot Noir, 2012
Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, Volnay Clos de la Bousse d’Or 1er cru, 2011
Ch. La Tour l’Aspic, Pauillac, 2008
Ch. Pontac Lynch, Margaux, 2011
Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 2013
Dry Creek Zinfandel Heritage Clone, Sonoma County, 2012
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2012
Kopke Colheita, Porto, 2004

What I’m Drinking and Why will cost $70.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $73.68 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Française is the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

Tour de Bordeaux 2012 Wine Dinner

ON THURSDAY, APRIL 23rd at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at Charivari for a Bordeaux Dinner featuring eleven great red Bordeaux wines from the recently released 2012 vintage. We’ll pair the baker’s dozen wines (including the obligatory starting Champagne and the finishing Sauternes) with Charivari Chef/Owner Johann Schuster’s menu specifically chosen for affinity with these wines.

The Starting Line
White Asparagus Tart Flambé with
Louis Sacy Grand Soir, Champagne, NV

The Limestone Plateau: All Around the Right Bank
Freekeh-stuffed Texas Quail, Verjus reduction with
Ch. Ampelia, Cotes de Castillon, 2012
Ch. Puygueraud, Cotes de Bordeaux – Francs, 2012
Ch. La Croix St. Georges, Pomerol, 2012
Ch. Pavie Macquin, St. Emilion, 2012

A Brief Respite
Lemon Sorbet

The Gravel Flats and Mounds: Down the Medoc
Piedmontese Beef Short Ribs aux Jus over Bramata alla Romana with
Ch. Senejac, Haut Medoc, 2012
Ch. Cantenac Brown, Margaux, 2012
Ch. Leoville Barton, St. Julien, 2012
Ch. Clerc Milon, Pauillac, 2012
Ch. Calon Segur, St. Estephe, 2012

From Pauillac to Pessac
A selection of French Cheeses with
Ch. Pichon Baron de Longueville, Pauillac, 2012
Le Clarence de Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan, 2012

The Finish Line
Chocolate – Panna Cotta & Strawberry Salad
Lions de Ch. Suduiraut, Sauternes, 2012

After a Champagne starter, we’ll progress to the meat of the matter – a tour of four fine reds from the limestone plateau (right bank) will set the 2012 theme while accompanying the roast quail stuffed with parched wheat. We’ll break with a sorbet and then tour down the Haut Medoc (left bank) with five top reds from five appellations. Finally, we’ll tie it up with a sprint from Pauillac to Pessac and cross the finish line in Sauternes

This 2012 Bordeaux dinner will cost $140 per person including a 5% discount for cash or check or $147.37 regular. All taxes and tips are included. For reservations, please reply by email coburnsusan2@gmail.com or call Susan at 713-854-7855. Charivari is located at 2521 Bagby (77006) in Mid-Town Houston.

04/20/15: Vintage Focus on BORDEAUX 2009

On Monday, April 20th at 7pm, please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2009. Considered buy some to be the best of the three great vintages of the 2000s, 2009 in any belongs in the discussion. Discussion will include details of the vintage and how the wines are developing. We’ll taste through 12 excellent red wines, all from 2009 vintage.

The line up:
Ch. Ampelia, Cotes de Castillon,2009
Vieux Ch. St. Andre, Montagne St. Emilion, 2009
Ch. Pavie Macquin, St. Emilion, 2009
Gravette de Certan, Pomerol, 2009
Vieux Ch. Certan, Pomerol, 2009
Ch. Haut Bailly, Pessac Leognan, 2009
Ch. Bibian, Haut Medoc, 2009
Ch. Langoa Barton, St. Julien, 2009
Ch. Cantenac Brown, Margaux, 2009
Ch. Lacoste Borie, Pauillac, 2009
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac, 2009
Ch. Calon Segur, St. Estephe, 2009

This Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2009 will cost $120.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $126.32 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, April 20, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Française is the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

MARCH CHEF DINNER

At the same time I scheduled a wine dinner at Charivari for 7pm on Thursday March 12th, I discovered that March 12th is Chef Johann Schuster’s birthday  – so I asked him to pick the menu. As he is German and white Asparagus season is upon us, I knew that spargle would be involved. What Chef Johann initially came up with looked great to me but may have been a little challenging for many diners. Per my request, he dialed it back (from challenging to adventurous) to achieve a broader appeal. In choosing the wines to pair with these dishes, I went with some of my favorites (as my birthday is three days earlier). So we will have wines from Perrier Jouet (PJ), Pedro Romero (PR), Pinot Gris (PG), and Pinot Noir (PN).

The MENU
Grilled Halloumi – White Asparagus Skewers
Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque, Champagne, 2006

White Asparagus Veloute with Marrow Dumplings
Pedro Romero Cream Sherry NV

Spiced Smoked-Miso-Maple-glazed Sable Fish fillet and grilled Asparagus with
Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rotenberg 2009
Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl 2009
Trimbach Pinot Gris Gold Label Hommage A Jeane 2000

White Asparagus – Wasabi Root Sorbet

Rack of Lamb herbed & Roasted and a Pinot Noir reduction,
Yukon Gold White Asparagus aux gratin with
Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune Greves Clos de l’Enfant Jesus 1er cru 2009
Roblet Monnot Volnay Taillepieds 1er cru 2009
Michel Gros Morey St Denis Rue de Vergy 2009
Lecheneaut Nuits St. Georges Les Pruliers 1er cru 2009

Quark Donuts & melted Quark Ice Cream
Pedro Romero Pedro Ximenez Sherry NV

As always, we start with Champagne and in this case it is very fine Champagne indeed: Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque 2006, a top luxury cuvee from a top grand marque house. With the white asparagus soup (a signature of chef Schuster), we will enjoy a Cream sherry. With the Sable Fish (a specialty of the northern Pacific also known as Black Cod) fillet we will have three Alsace Pinot Gris wines (all grand cru quality) which will offer a revelation about the quality potential of Pinot Gris. While lamb is (for me at least) more closely associated with Bordeaux, the coming of Spring and the Pinot Noir reduction led me to Burgundy and a selection of four fine terroir from four great domaines.

This Chef Dinner will cost $150.00 per person including a 5% discount for cash or check or $157.89 regular. All taxes and tips are included. For reservations, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or at coburnsusan2@gmail.com.  Charivari is located at 2521 Bagby (77006) in Mid-Town Houston.