Catching Up

While this space has been quiet, I’m actually writing a lot right now. However, most of it is showing up at SpecsFineWine.com rather than here. Why? SpecsFineWine.com is the new fine wine only web-site I built for Spec’s and our fine wine customers. A lot of the content I have been generating for BearOnWine will be moving over there. Posts on Spec’s Fine Wine include regular features (The Big Deal, Daily Drinkers, The List, and The Friday Fizz) along with events and classes, winery profiles, articles, and opinion. And there are whole pages For Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, California, and more with a lot more content coming.

Here are some links you may want to check out:

ChGloriaLabelPATZ & HALL Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

THE BIG DEAL: One incredible deal each week on a great wine of Person and Place.
Ch. GLORIA, St. Julien, 2011

THE LIST: Each week a different list. Sometimes value, sometimes red, sometimes old favorites, sometimes nothing but new.
Five Fine Party Wines For Under $10

Ch. Martinon

Ch. Martinon

DAILY DRINKERS: A great pick on a fine wine (a wine made by a specific someone and from a specific somewhere) priced always under $20, most often under $15, and sometimes even under $10 per bottle. These are fine wines for daily drinking.
Ch. MARTINON Entre Deux Mers 2012

THE FRIDAY FIZZ: Check in every Friday for the week’s pick in bubbles, sparkles, and fizz. From Tasmania to Taittinger, from California to Cava, if it pops, it hops.
JanszLabelJANSZ Brut & Rosé

EVENTS and CLASSES
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINE: A four week class starting on 10/21/14.

So what about BearOnWine? Change is on the way. We have a new look and some new features are coming soon, so stay tuned.

Champagne Friday: ROEDERER ESTATE Brut NV

Champagne Friday is moving and changing. It is moving to the new SpecsFineWine.com site and it is changing from “Champagne Friday” to “The Friday Fizz“. The move puts it where it now belongs. And the name change is reflective of the many sparkling wines – not all Champagne – I want to cover. This week’s entry is Roederer Estate Brut from Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley.

RodererBrutLabelROEDERER ESTATE Brut, Anderson Valley, NV ($18.99)
A 12% alcohol, estate-grown 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir methode champenoise sparkler aged 2 years on yeasts and dosed to a 1.2% residual sugar Brut finish. Medium-gold-straw in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-light-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics. Fresh but with a welcome richness from the presence of up to 15% cask-aged multi-vintage reserve wines. Fine mix of citrus and tree fruit with some spice and good yeasty-nutty notes as well as a clean mineral note. Has enough weight and richness to take on some food. Lovely fizz for the money. BearScore: 91.

CLICK HERE to head on over to SpecsFineWine.com and check out the whole Friday Fizz post.

09/17/14 – The TOUR de MEDOC

WendyNarbyA Class and Tasting featuring the Wines of the Medoc with Wendy Narby

On Wednesday, September 17th at 7pm, please join me (Bear Dalton) at l’Alliance Française in welcoming my friend Wendy Narby of the Conseil Des Vins Du Médoc for The Tour de Medoc: a class and tasting offering a virtual tour through the wine appellations that make up the whole of the Medoc. British/French wine professional Wendy Narby will lead us through ten wines including:

Ch. Tour St Bonnet, Medoc, 2010
Ch. Senejac, Haut Medoc, 2011
Ch. Bibian, Haut Medoc, 2010
Ch. Pontoise Cabarrus, Haut Medoc, 2010
Ch. Poujeaux. Haut Medoc – Moulis. 2011
Ch. Fourcas Borie, Haut Medoc – Listrac, 2008
Ch. Beau Site, St. Estephe, 2010
Ch. Pontac Lynch, Margaux, 2011
Pavillon de Poyferre, St Julien, 2010
Ch. Batailley, Pauillac, 2010

To reserve your spot, please contact Marlo Ammons at 832-660-0250 (after 10am) or MarloAmmons@specsonline.com. The cost of this class is a $20 donation (cash or check please) to the Houston Area Women’s Center. L’Alliance Française is French Cultural Center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., l’Alliance is on the south-east corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

About WENDY
Wendy Narby has spent the last 25 years in the French Food and Wine Industry. She is a teacher at the Ecole du Vin, has been a wine and food consultant in Paris and Bordeaux for the last 20 years. British born Wendy’s wine experience is not just based upon study but years working as a marketing consultant, journalist, teacher and guide. Leaving Paris to marry a local Château owner and negociant Wendy now shares her passion for the region with friends and clients from all over the world. Wendy now teaches professionals and the general public in Bordeaux, the UK and as far away as Asia and the US, as well as accompanying private wine tours for amateurs and enthusiasts alike. Her aim is to open the doors of the world’s most famous vineyards, explaining and making the wonderful world of French wine more accessible. Not being completely biased she often escapes to Champagne, Burgundy and the Rhone to explore other regions and wines. Wendy blogs on Bordeaux at InsiderTasting.com

CIMAbout the Conseil des Vins du Médoc
Formed in 1969, the Conseil des Vins du Médoc is the official body which represents all of the wine-producers in Médoc from the 8 appellations (Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Margaux, Listrac, Moulis, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe) and from the different families of wines (Crus Bourgeois, Grands Crus Classés, Crus Artisans, brand wines and wines from cooperatives and other independent wines).

Two Classes and Two Events

BearTeachingRANGING THE SOUTHERN RHONE – Last Call
Beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, September 9th
, The Wine School at l’Alliance Française will offer RANGING THE SOUTHERN RHONE in which we will look at Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape and a bit of everything in between. This class will be held at l’Alliance Française located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (Houston, 77006). For all the details and complete list the wines to be served, click here.

ALAIN JUNGUENET – WINES OF FRANCE RHONE TASTING
On Wednesday, September 10th 2014 at 6:00pm
(at Spec’s 2410 Smith Street Warehouse Store, 2nd floor), please join me (Bear Dalton) in welcoming second generation Rhone importer John Junguenet (son of “Wines of France” founder Alain Junguenet) for a tasting of some of the famous Rhone reds from their portfolio. For all the details and complete list the wines to be served, click here.

CAHORS MALBEC DINNER at l’Etoile
On Thursday, September 11th 2014 at 7:00pm
, Please join Bertrand Vigouroux (the “King of Cahors”) and restaurant l’Etoile for an adventurous five-course Cahors Malbec dinner at l’Etoile. Price per person is $105.00. Booking is directly through l’Etoile (click here) or call 832.668.5808

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINE
Tasting, Enjoying, and Appreciating Wine
Beginning at 7pm on Monday, September 15th
(and running four consecutive Mondays), please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINE. This four-week class will focus on tasting, enjoying, and appreciating wine even as you learn more about your favorite drink and maybe even which kinds of wine you like the most. This class will be held at l’Alliance Française located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (Houston, 77006). For all the details and complete list the wines to be served, click here.

A New Fine Wine Site: SpecsFineWine.com

You may have noticed a recent drop off in my blogging activity.
Here’s why: I’ve been working on creating and loading content into a new, dedicated Fine Wine Web Site for Spec’s called “SPEC’s Fine Wine
You might note that Spec’s already has a web site and you’d be right. The only problem is that that sight does a good job on covering most bases for most Spec’s customers but has left the fine wine customer a bit out in the cold. This new sight will bring lots information to the wine lovers among us.
Welcome to SpecsFineWine.com (aka “SPEC’s FINE WINE”)As Spec’s has grown over the year’s, we have gotten better at just about everything we do except communicating with our fine wine customers. It’s not that we don’t have a lot of fine wine and it’s not that we don’t have a lot to say. In fact, Spec’s has more fine wine than anyone else and we, the wine buyers and consultants at Spec’s, have a lot of information to share. We just hadn’t found the right way to go about it – until now. With this new blog-based web site, we now have a way to publish all the information we have for our fine wine customers without inundating our other customers with wine esoterica they don’t care about.
So how does it work? Come to the site whenever you like and browse through all the information (which we will be adding to daily) or, by clicking the “Follow SPEC’s Fine Wine” button and entering your email address, you can subscribe to the site and be notified by email whenever we post something new.
Get your geek on and check us out at SpecsFineWine.com for information, reviews, events, offers, and features all focused on your favorite beverage – Fine Wine.
This is going to be fun.
(Once SpecsFineWine.com is locked and loaded, expect some interesting changes here at BearOnWine.com.)
SPECsFineWine

A Stunning Bordeaux Bargain: Ch. PONTET CANET, Pauillac, 2011

Ch. PONTET CANET, Pauillac, 2011 ($99.49)logo_site
A 13.5% alcohol blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petite Verdot fermented using pump-over in a mix of wooden and concrete tanks and aged in all French oak barrels (60% new). Sensory: Deep purple-purple in color with well formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with balanced acidity; medium-chewy phenolics. Supple, dark and darker red and some black fruit. Tobacco and gravel with hints of graphite, dark floral, and black pepper. Lots of richness but it is alive in the mouth. Quite fresh. Classic Pauillac. One of the great wines of the 2011 vintage. BearScore: 95.

About Pontet Canet:pontet_canet2011
In the early 18th century,Jean-François de Pontet, royal governor of the Médoc, combined several vineyard plots in Pauillac. Years later, his descendants added neighbouring vines in a place named Canet. This was the beginning of one of the largest estates in the Médoc, which quite naturally added the name of its founder to that of the land registry reference.

A century later, Pontet-Canet was included in the famous 1855 classification, thereby confirming its membership among the elite of the Médoc. This privileged position did not go unnoticed by one of the most important Bordeaux shippers of the time, Herman Cruse, who bought the estate in 1865. He built new cellars, modernised the winemaking facilities, and established the wine’s reputation around the world. The Cruse family owned Pontet-Canet for 110 years, until Guy Tesseron of Cognac, acquired it in 1975.

6Over the centuries Pontet-Canet has been owned by only three different families. Today it is run by Alfred Tesseron with his niece Melanie (daughter of his brother Gerard Tesseron) who is the descendant of Guy Tesseron. Since he took over the management of the family estate in 1994, Alfred Tesseron has steadily improved the quality even as he has converted the land to biodynamic farming, reverted to using horse for much of the work in the vineyards, installed a new vat room with concrete tanks, and (beginning with he 2012 vintage) begun using concrete amphoras for the aging of a part of each vintage (with the majority still going into oak barrels.chevaux03

Technical Information:
Appellation: Pauillac
Surface area: 120 Hectares of which 81 are in vines
Soil:
quaternary gravel
Planted to: 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot
Vines average age : 40-45 years
Method of Viticulture : Certified Organic and Biodynamic
Plantation density : 9500 vines per hectare
Pruning : Double Guyot pruning – médocain style
Harvest : By hand in small boxes

BUSY, BUSY, BUSY or Back to School

It’s been a busy last few weeks what with my trip with 22 customers to Napa and Sonoma, and the preceding 4 day business trip through the central coast of California (including visits to Calcareous and Ridge), along with the inevitable log-jam on returning to the office. I’d like to say I am catching up or at least catching my breath but things haven’t slowed down a bit and a busy events schedule is now kicking off.

On Tuesday September 2nd, 2014 at 7pm, The Wine School at l’Alliance Française will offer our high-end BURGUNDY CRU CLASS & TASTING featuring some of the top wines from the Cote d’Or. This filled up quickly but we were able to add a some more space so we have 4 or five seats still open (as of 6pm on 8-29-14). This class will be held at l’Alliance Française located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (Houston, 77006). For all the details and complete list the wines to be served, click here.

On Wednesday and Thursday, September 3rd and 4th, 2014, Spec’s welcomes Eric Perrin of Ch. Carbonnieux and Noel Richard of Bordeaux negoçiant Borie Manoux who together will host two events.
The first, A TOUR of BORDEAUX featuring seven top wines from the acclaimed 2010 vintage is at 6:30pm on Wednesday September 3rd. For more information and list of the wines, please click here.
The second, a FOCUS on Chx. CARBONNIEUX & BATAILLEY featuring four wines from each property (for a total of eight wines), will follow at 6:30pm on Thursday September 4th. For more information and list of the wines, click here.
Both of these events featuring Messrs. Perrin and Richard will be held on the second floor at Spec’s Warehouse Store located at 2410 Smith Street in Houston. Admission to each event is a $20 donation to the Houston Area Women’s Center.

Beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, September 9th, The Wine School at l’Alliance Française will offer RANGING THE SOUTHERN RHONE in which we will look at Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape and a bit of everything in between. This class will be held at l’Alliance Française located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (Houston, 77006). For all the details and complete list the wines to be served, click here.

Beginning at 7pm on Monday, September 15th (and running four consecutive Mondays), please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINE. This four-week class will focus on tasting, enjoying, and appreciating wine even as you learn more about your favorite drink and maybe even which kinds of wine you like the most. This class will be held at l’Alliance Française located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (Houston, 77006). For all the details and complete list the wines to be served, click here.

See what I mean? Busy, Busy, Busy … and there is more to come.

Back to school indeed.