CH. MARIS and MARIS: Delicious Terroir-driven Organic and Biodynamic Wines

Ch. Maris is a 79-acre estate planted to Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan in the Minervois cru La Liviniere. Minervois is one of the villages of the Languedoc with itss own applellation producing some of the best wines of the Languedoc. La Liviniere has long been considered the best part of the appellation of Minervois and has stricter rules for wines labeled “Minervois La Liviniere” than for wines labeled simply as “Minervois”. Ch. Maris is an estate growing grapes using organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard and making wines in and environmental masterpiece of a winery (made from hemp bricks) with a focus on organic practice and a clean but not sterile biome to make wines ranging from fine to stunning. The 79 acres (divided into a non-contiguous patchwork of plots and blocks) is a good-sized estate for the area.

Although founded earlier, the modern history of Ch. Maris began in 1997 when the current ownership group bought the winery and installed Robert Eden (one of the ownership group) as winemaker. Under Eden’s guidance, Ch. Maris moved away from commercial chemical farming toward first organic and then Biodynamic vineyard practices. As they did, life returned to the soil, the vine got heathier, and the quality of the grapes improved. Ch, Maris gained EcoCert status in 2002, Biodyvin since 2004 and Demeter in 2008. Ch. Maris was certified a “BCorps” in 2016. All these certifications remain in effect. Minervois has never tasted so good. La Liviniere has never tasted so good.

British-born Robert Eden is the winemaker and co-owner of Ch. Maris. He has lived in France since 1994 after traveling in Australia, Italy, Burgundy, Spain and California where he worked with renowned winemakers. Since 1997, he has pursued organic and biodynamic viticulture at Chateau Maris. Robert has been actively involved in the protection of the environment going so far as to build the first hemp cellar that passively consumes Co2. He regularly presents on the advantages of biodynamic viticulture and the importance of taking steps to reduce the impact on the environment in the wine industry.

All well and good but how are the wines? In a word: Stunning. I was expecting this tasting in my office to be a courtesy appointment ending sooner rather than later in a “Thanks for coming by.” Instead, it stretched out over two hours as I tasted wine after wine that both surprised and delighted me. I’ve been tasting wines from Minervois (and its Languedoc neighbors) for over 30 years and I have never tasted wines like these. I have never before thought that this area could produce a wine I would score 97 or 98 points. I was both stunned and elated. Please see my notes below. And come taste the wines for yourself on Monday October 14th (7pm) at the Wine School at l’Allaince Française.

MY NOTES (Wines arriving at Spec’s on Thursday October 10th):
MARIS Vermentino, Pays d’Oc , 2018
100% Rolle (Vermentino) from all certified organic vineyards (both estate and under contract) pressed off before fermentation and 4 months aging in concrete tanks.  Straw color with well-formed legs; dry, light-bodied with refreshing acidity and scant phenolics with a long finish.     Fresh with more lemon and lemon peel fruit with a hint of fruit stones with mineral earth. Light, bright, and alive.   BearScore: 90+.
126827   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $13.99

MARIS Rouge Organic, Pays d’Oc , 2018
An Organic Wine from all certified organic vineyards (both estate and under contract). 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache fermented and aged 4 months in concrete tanks.  Deep-red color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-light-bodied with very-freshly-balanced acidity and medium-light phenolics with a long finish.     Supple, fresh, easy drinking red fruit with some spiciness and a subtle mineral earthiness.   BearScore: 91.
126828  Spec’s Cash Bottle: $13.99

MARIS Le Zulu, Vin de France, 2018
An all certified organic vineyards (both estate and under contract) blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache fermented and aged 4 months in concrete tanks. No sulfur added  SO2 at bottling was 2 parts per million. No fining / light filtration.    Magenta color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-light-bodied with very-freshly-balanced acidity and medium-plus phenolics with a long finish.     Supple fresh, lively, chewy red fruit accompanied by garrigue and black pepper spice.   BearScore: 91+.
126830   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $15.99

CHATEAU MARIS La Touge, Minervois La Liviniere, 2017
All certified biodynamic, estate-grown, 60% Syrah 40% Grenache. The Syrah was fermented in foudre and pressed in a basket press before 12 months aging  in 500 liter demi-muits. Grenache was fermented in concrete, basket pressed, and aged in concrete eggs for 12 months before blending. The blended wine is then aged 6 months more in concrete eggs before bottling. No fining/filtering. (SO2: 54 ppm).     Red-purple color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with very-freshly-balanced acidity and medium phenolics with a really long finish.     Fresh and lively red fruit with spicy garrigue. Bright fresh and alive. Vivid.   BearScore: 92+.
126831   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $18.99

CHATEAU MARIS Les Planels, Minervois La Liviniere , 2016
All certified biodynamic, estate-grown, 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache. Syrah fermented in Foudre, basket pressed, and aged 12 months in 500 liter demi-muits. The blended wines is then aged 3 months in concrete eggs before bottling.      Red-purple color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with very-freshly-balanced acidity and medium-chewy phenolics with a really long finish.     Supple, fresh, lively but full of red fruit flavor with hints of spice and garrigue. Layered-Textured-Dimensional.   BearScore: 93+.
126832   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $24.99

CHATEAU MARIS Savoir Vieillir, Minervois, 2018
An estate grown, certified biodynamic 100% Syrah Organic Wine that is in fact an earlier-bottled, no-sulfite version of “Les Planels”. Stabilized and bottled in Dec/Jan to avoid oxygen. As it is bottled early, it is classified as Minervois AOP. Since it is labeled “Minervois” and not “Minervois La Liviniere,” it does not need to have the normal 5% Grenache as part of the blend. Sulfites at bottling: 3 ppm.   Red-magenta color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with balanced-plus acidity and medium-plus phenolics with a really quite long finish.     Lovely pure, fresh red and darker red raspberry fruit with black and white pepper spice. Fresh and focused. Thrilling in the mouth.   BearScore: 93+.
126837   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $24.99

CHATEAU MARIS Las Combes, Minervois , 2017
All certified biodynamic, estate-grown, 100% Grenache fermented in 1500-liter wooden egg then aged 4 months in a concrete egg. Bottled early so declassified from Minervois La Liviniere to Minervois AOP. SO2 at bottling: 35 ppm.     Red-magenta color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with very-freshly-balanced acidity and medium phenolics with a really quite long finish.     Lovely pure sweet red fruit with only hints of garrigue and spice. Ethereal feel with a certain weightlessness in the mouth.   BearScore: 94.
126833   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $27.99

CHATEAU MARIS les Anciens, Minervois La Liviniere , 2016
All certified biodynamic, estate-grown, 95% Carignan and 5% Grenache. Basket Press. Fermented and aged in concrete eggs. No fining/filtering.  500 bottles made.  Deep-purple color with very-well-formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with freshly-balanced acidity and medium-chewy phenolics with a really quite long finish.     Vivid, fresh, lively, slightly dusty red and darker red fruit with spice and liquid mineral. Wow and wow. Absolutely stunning. Layered-Textured-Dimensional.   BearScore: 97.
126835   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $31.99

CHATEAU MARIS Dynamic, Minervois La Liviniere , 2016
All certified biodynamic, estate-grown, 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache fermented in foudre, basket pressed, and aged 18 months 224-liter oak barrels. No fining/filtering. Only 500 bottles made.     Red-magenta color with very-well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with very-freshly-balanced acidity and medium phenolics with a really quite long finish.      Fresh, ethereal, alive. Vivid red fruit with an almost crystaline structure. Thrilling in the mouth with lots of lingering flavors. Lasts and lasts. Layered-Textures-Dimensional.   BearScore: 97.
126834   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $75.99

CHATEAU MARIS les Amandieres, Minervois La Liviniere , 2016
All certified biodynamic, estate-grown 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache fermented in foudre, basket pressed, and aged in oak barrels. No fining/filtering. 500 bottles made.  Deep-purple color stains the glass with well-formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with freshly-balanced acidity and medium-chewy phenolics with a really quite long finish.     Has the fruit of Australia, the structure of Cote Rotie, and the ethereal weightlessness of a fantasy.  I have never had a Syrah like this before. Dark and darker red fruit with hints of coffee grounds and black pepper spice with a trill of white pepper. Vivid fruit with a finish that goes on and on. Oh, what a thrill. Layered-Textured-Dimensional. Would love to taste this next to Hill of Grace.  BearScore: 98.
126836   Spec’s Cash Bottle: $75.99

Ch. MARIS Wine Class and Tasting Featuring Robert Eden, Maris Winemaker and Co-Owner

On Monday, October 14th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Robert Eden, winemaker and co-owner of Ch. Maris to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a discussion and tasting of his organic and biodynamic wines from the Minervois cru of La Liviniere. I have recently tasted through this range and found them to be some of the most interesting and delicious wines I have tasted over the last five years. These are wines of purity and depth ranging in price from $13.99 to $75.99. These may well be the best wines you’ve never heard of.

The line-up includes:
Maris Vermintino 2018
Maris Rouge Organic 2018
Maris Zulu Organic 2018
Chateau Maris Les Combes 2017
Chateau Maris La Touge 2017
Chateau Maris Savoir Vieillir 2018
Chateau Maris Les Planels 2016
Chateau Maris Les Anciens 2016
Chateau Maris Dynamic 2016
Chateau Maris Les Amandiers 2016

This Ch. Maris Tasting will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.10 regular. The class meets on Monday, October 14th at 7pm at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, 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. (77006), l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the class or you may be charged. Later cancellations will not be charged if we can fill the seat. This is often case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

About Robert Eden:
Robert Eden, winemaker and co-owner of Château Maris has been in France since 1994 after having spent some time in Australia, Italy, Spain and California, where he worked with a number of famous winemakers. Robert is strongly committed to sustainable agriculture. Since 1997, Château Maris has strictly followed organic and biodynamic principles. He is a reference for organic and biodynamic winemaking in the Languedoc and very often gives lectures about how to reduce the negative impact on the environment in the wine industry.

About Ch. Maris:
Approachable, pure fruit, elegant style of wine.
Top-rated bottles from the South of France reaching up to 97 Pts by the Wine Advocate.
One of the pioneers in sustainability, Certified Biodynamic for 20 years.
The first and only European winery to achieve B Corp status.
Ranked as one of the top greenest wineries in the world.
UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
10/14 – Monday … Ch. Maris class and tasting (all organic and biodynamic wines – pure, fresh, and exciting) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/17 – Thursday … Royal Oporto Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/21 – Monday … Bordeaux Value (sponsored by Sopexa) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/25 – Friday … An Evening with Jane Ferrari of Yalumba
12/02 – Monday … Symington (Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Quinta do Vesuvio) Vintage Port Tasting at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
01/16 – Thursday … 2017 Bordeaux Vintage Preview at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice.

In addition, we’ll be scheduling some sparkling wine and Champagne classes and another general Port class as well as at least one dinner.

Exploring White Burgundy Class and Tasting With Burgundy Importer David Smith and Bear Dalton

On Monday, Octoberber 7 at 7pm, please join me in welcoming my good friend and Burgundy expert extraordinaire David Smith to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tag-team (with me) class and tasting exploring the white wines of Burgundy. We’ll taste representative wines from five domaines from the Cote de Beaune (Pernot Belicard, Fontaine Gagnard, and Vincent Latour), Chablis (Dampt), and the Cote Chalonnaise (Baron Thenard). All of the wines are imported by David Smith. The lovely Miss Carol (aka the Missus) doesn’t generally like Chardonnay but she loves white Burgundy. Come find out why.

The line-up includes:
Pernot Belicard Bourgogne Blanc 2016
Pernot Belicard Pulginy Montrachet 2016
Pernot Belicard Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Canet 2016
Dampt Chablis 2017
Dampt Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Lechet
Dampt Chablis 1er Cru Rouchaume
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 2015
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagnie Montrachet 1er Cru Boudriottes 2015
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Clos St Jean 2015
Baron Thenard Givry Cellier des Moines 1er cru 2015
Vincent Latour Bourgogne Chardonnay 2016
Vincent Latour Meursault Pellans 2015
Vincent Latour Meursault 1er Cru Goutte D’Or 2015

This Exploring White Burgundy Class and Tasting will cost $50.00 per person (cash or check) or $52.63 regular. The class meets on Monday October 7th at 7pm at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your tickets, 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. (77006), l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the class or you may be charged. Later cancellations will not be charged if we can fill the seat. This is often case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.


UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
10/03 – Thursday … Women Of Wine Grand Tasting at the Czech Museum   (http://www.wowcharities.org/events-happy-hours/2019-grand-tasting-october-3/)
10/07 – Monday … Mostly White Burgundy Tasting (Fontaine Gagnard, Pernod Bellicard, etc. – David Smith and me) –  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/14 – Monday … Ch. Maris class and tasting (all organic and biodynamic wines – pure, fresh, and exciting) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/17 – Thursday … Royal Oporto Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/21 – Monday … Bordeaux Value (sponsored by Sopexa) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
12/02 – Monday … Symington (Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Quinta do Vesuvio) Vintage Port Tasting at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française

In addition, we’ll be scheduling some sparkling wine and Champagne classes and another general Port class as well as at least one dinner.

Domaine JESSIAUME Class and Tasting With Importer Bertand Leulliette and Bear Dalton

On Monday, September 30 at 7pm, please join me in welcoming my friend Burgundy import specialist Bertand Leulliette to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of the wines of Domaine Jessiame. Domaine Jessiame is a small over-achieving domaine based in Santenay that is on the track to making some of the best wines of the area using farming moving toward certified organic and a thoughtful approach to wine making. So far, the results have been astounding with the already fine wines getting better vintage by vintage. (For more on the Domaine and on Bertand, please see below.)

The line-up includes:
Jessiame Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2016
Jessiame Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2017
Jessiame Santenay Blanc 1er Cru Gravières, 2016
Jessiame Santenay Blanc 1er Cru Gravières, 2017
Jessiame Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2016
Jessiame Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2017
Jessiame Santenay Clos de Clos Genet – Monopole, 2016
Jessiame Santenay Clos de Clos Genet – Monopole, 2017
Jessiame Santenay 1er Cru Gravières, 2016
Jessiame Santenay 1er Cru Gravières, 2017
Jessiame Beaune 1er Cru Cent Vignes, 2016
Jessiame Beaune 1er Cru Cent Vignes, 2017
Jessiame Volnay 1er Cru Brouillards, 2016
Jessiame Volnay 1er Cru Brouillards, 2017

This Domaine Jessiaume Tasting will cost $50.00 per person (cash or check) or $52.63 regular. The class meets on Monday September 30th at 7pm at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, 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. (77006), l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the class or you may be charged. Later cancellations will not be charged if we can fill the seat.

About Domaine JESSIAUME:
The Domaine was created in 1850 by the Jessiaume family. In 2006, after being run by many generations, the domaine was purchased by a Scottish businessman, Sir David Murray. A transition started between the two families. The Jessiaume family stayed until 2013 to manage the vines and the Domaine. The year 2014 marked a big turn for Domaine Jessiaume. A new team has arrived and the Domaine changed its direction. Megan McClune, the then new director (Estate Manager) of Domaine Jessiaume became the motive force behind the renewed domaine with responsibility for the general, commercial and financial management of the domaine as well as being a participant in various crucial stages of the wine making and elevage.
The wines are hand crafted with minimal intervention. In order to do that, new investments in equipment and renovating the winery took place immediately. Harvest and sorting are done by hand. Small elevators are used to fill the tanks. Vinifications are done with natural yeasts and the extractions are gentle and controlled. The goal is to obtain elegant and fine wines which respect the terroir.
In 2016, the domaine started the 3-year process of converting to organic viticulture. The 2019 vintage will yield the first organic wines at Domaine Jessiaume.  To be organic, what does it mean? First, we don’t use chemicals and pesticides in the vines. The wines are made with minimal intervention and less sulfites than in conventional wine. These changes are the philosophy of the team and the new Domaine Jessiaume.

About Bertrand Leulliette:
Bertrand was born in a small town near Dunkirk with a passion basketball. He played for the reserve team of the local pro team and had dreams of playing college in the United States. When that did not come about, he focused on his studies in International Trade and Logistics that brought him to the United States where his first job as an intern was in a wine department. After a week as an intern, the Beverage Manager that was supposed to oversea him quit and a gutsy offer was made to the then intern “do you think you’d have what it takes to be the manager”. The answer was swift… “Yes.” This is how at 23, discovered the world of wine
The connection with Burgundy and Beaujolais happened a year later when he started as a Regional Sales Manager for an Importer that represented Mommessin and the Clos de Tart.
In 2009, Bertrand left the United States to take an Export Director position in Beaune. In 2011 the company he worked for was bought out by a large group and they sent him and his family back to the USA the following year. The idea of working with Estate Burgundies was still very much there, growing stronger and stronger, and in early 2014 he parted ways with his employer and travelled back to Burgundy to offer his friends the possibility to represent their wines. In January 2015, Bertrand’s Wines was born with a handful of producers… that same year several well-known US based Burgundy Importers saw major changes and a few producers from Robert Kacher entrusted Bertrand with their wines, in 2016 it was producers from Esprit du Vin and in 2017 it was producers from Chateaux and Estates that joined the stable.
The portfolio focuses exclusively on family-owned Burgundy, Beaujolais and a bit of Minervois from the joint Estate of Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot, Bertrand’s Wines is also the exclusive importer of Varichon & Clerc a small Methode Traditionnelle wine from Savoie. “We have decided to incorporate the shields of Bourgogne and Beaujolais to reflect our commitment to stay within these areas only. I believe that being a specialist is better and from a geographical standpoint, it makes it easy to be with our producers and to take our partners from the different tiers of the business to the house that we purchased in Beaune in 2017. You have to see Burgundy and Beaujolais to truly understand what is so special about them.”
“We’ll have the ability to accommodate customers either with our producers or very close to them so that customers can experience what we experience as importer and guardians of these jewels for the United States” is proud to announce Bertrand. “The Vignerons come first, without them we would not have a job… it is our duty to share their wines and to hopefully make many lifelong friends along the way.”

UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
09/26 – Thursday …  ECHOS Chef’s Dinner at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice  (http://echos-houston.org/events/chefs-dinner/)
09/30 – Monday … Domaine Jessiaume Burgundy Tasting (importer Bertrand Leulliette and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/03 – Thursday … Women Of Wine Grand Tasting at the Czech Museum   (http://www.wowcharities.org/events-happy-hours/2019-grand-tasting-october-3/)
10/07 – Monday … Mostly White Burgundy Tasting (Fontaine Gagnard, Pernod Bellicard, etc. – David Smith and me) –  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/14 – Monday … Ch. Maris class and tasting (all organic and biodynamic wines – pure, fresh, and exciting) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/17 – Thursday … Royal Oporto Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/21 – Monday … Bordeaux Value (sponsored by Sopexa) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
12/02 – Monday … Symington (Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Quinta do Vesuvio) Vintage Port Tasting at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française

In addition, we’ll be scheduling some sparkling wine and Champagne classes and another general Port class as well as at least one dinner.

La CHABLISIENNE Chablis Class and Tasting (9/16/19)


On Monday, September 16 at 7pm, please join me in welcoming my friend and Burgundy expert extraordinaire David Smith to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tag-team class (with me) and tasting of the wines of La Chablisienne. La Chablisienne is that not-as-rare-as-may-seem co-op that is making top quality wines that compete with those from the best domaines. This however is that most rare class where all white wines will be served.

The line-up includes:
Chablisienne Petit Chablis Pas Si Petit 2017
Chablisienne La Pierrelee Chablis 2015
Chablisienne La Sereine Chablis 2015
Chablisienne Les Venerables Chablis 2015
Chablisienne Cote De Lechet Chablis 1er Cru 2015
Chablisienne Vaillons Chablis 1er Cru 2015
Chablisienne Fourchaume Chablis 1er Cru 2017
Chablisienne Vaulorent 1er Cru Chablis  2015
Chablisienne Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru 6/cs 2015
Chablisienne Les Preuses Chablis Grand Cru 6/cs 2016
Chablisienne Valmur Chablis Grand Cru 6/cs 2013
Chablisienne Grenouilles (6/cs) Chablis Grand Cru 2014

This La Chablisienne event will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class meets on Monday, September 16 at 7pm at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, 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. (77006), l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

ABOUT LA CHABLISIENNE
The story began in 1923. Under the leadership of Abbé Balitrand, a number of winegrowers joined forces to better withstand the economic difficulties of the period. Together, in the middle of the Chablis vineyards, they created a cooperative winery to market their wines. Until the mid-1950s, the members of the cooperative delivered their production to La Chablisienne, who was then responsible for creating the blends and for selling them, mainly to wholesalers. However, La Chablisienne wanted to go much further and create a style of its own. So it was decided that the harvest would be delivered in the form of musts (unfermented juice), a particularity that has become the trademark of the house and giving it total control over the winemaking processes. There is constant information sharing between the winegrowers and the technicians, linking the quality of the musts to the parcels that produced the grapes thus ensuring the best possible technical guidance. La Chablisienne, in true pioneer spirit, has never ceased to meet a wide range of challenges in areas as diverse as winegrowing and winemaking, human resources and marketing. It is the meticulous work of all those involved that gives wines which constantly improve with the passage of time.



If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the class or you may be charged. Later cancellations will not be charged if we can fill the seat. This is often case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
09/12 – Thursday … Greek Wines with Ted Diamantis  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/16 – Monday … La Chablisiene Chablis Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/23 – Monday … Save the Date
09/26 – Thursday …  ECHOS Chef’s Dinner at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice  (http://echos-houston.org/events/chefs-dinner/)
09/30 – Monday … Domaine Jessiaume Burgundy Tasting (importer Bertrand Leulliette and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/03 – Thursday … Women Of Wine Grand Tasting at the Czech Museum   (http://www.wowcharities.org/events-happy-hours/2019-grand-tasting-october-3/)
10/07 – Monday … Mostly White Burgundy Tasting (Fontaine Gagnard, Pernod Bellicard, etc. – David Smith and me) –  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/14 – Monday … Ch. Maris class and tasting (all organic and biodynamic wines – pure, fresh, and exciting) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/17 – Thursday … Royal Oporto Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/21 – Monday … Bordeaux Value (sponsored by Sopexa) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
12/02 – Monday … Symington (Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Quinta do Vesuvio) Vintage Port Tasting at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française

In addition, we’ll be scheduling some sparkling wine and Champagne classes and another general Port class as well as at least one dinner.

GREEK WINE Wine Class and Tasting

Featuring Ted Diamantis, founder / owner of Diamond Wine Importers

On Thursday, September 12th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Ted Diamantis, founder/owner of Greek wine specialist Diamond Wine Imports to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a discussion and tasting of his not-your-grandfather’s Greek wines. With the renewed popularity of Greek food and the advent of new Greek restaurants, there has been a rise in interest in Greek wines. Ted’s company supplies many of the wines used by restaurants such as Helen, Ouzo Bay, and Loch Bar. These site-specific, idiosyncratic, passionately-made, artisanal wines are a far cry from the Achaia Claus Restina or even the Boutari wines that have dominated the Greek wine scene up to now.

The line-up includes:
Santo Santorini Assyrtiko
Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko
Alexakis Assyrtiko
Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Domain Skouras St George Nemea
Douloufakis Liatiko
Alpha Estate Axia
Alpha Estate SMX Red Blend
Alpha Estate Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro
Kir-Yianni Ramnista
Domain Skouras Grand Cuvee Aghioghiriko
Kir Yianni Sparkling Xinomavro Rose

This Ted Diamantis Greek Wine Tasting will cost $30.00 per person (cash or check) or $31.58 regular. The class meets on Thursday September 12th at 7pm at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, 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. (77006), l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the class or you may be charged. Later cancellations will not be charged if we can fill the seat. This is often case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

About Ted Diamantis (in his words):
In 1992, I created Diamond Wine Importers out of the belief that Greece, with its natural terroir of mountain vineyards, maritime influenced climate, volcanic and alluvial soils, and over 200 ancient indigenous varieties, can once again become a source of some of the greatest wines in the world.
Over the last 30 years of tasting and traveling throughout Greece, we have compiled a portfolio of the best artisan, vineyard-driven producers who are working with the best native varietals from the best appellations. We only focus on producers and growers who are fully committed to quality and sustainability from vine to bottle. These producers are people that have passion, are self-made men, work with the land, and embody true winemaking spirit.
Our goal is to now educate and enlighten the American wine market about these indigenous varietals, ancient appellations and, most importantly, the spirit of these outstanding producers.
Oinos Efreni Kardian (Wine Pleases the Heart),
Ted Diamantis

 

UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
09/09 – Monday … Bordeaux Revealed (session two) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/11 – Wednesday … The Domaine Baron Rothschild Bordeaux Tasting with winemaker Diane Flamond at SPEC’s on Smith Street
                                              (This is a FREE Bordeaux class, please email your reservation to RSVP_Houston@Specsonline.com)
09/12 – Thursday … Greek Wines with Ted Diamantis  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/16 – Monday … La Chablisiene Chablis Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/23 – Monday … Save the Date
09/26 – Thursday …  ECHOS Chef’s Dinner at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice  (http://echos-houston.org/events/chefs-dinner/)
09/30 – Monday … Domaine Jessiaume Burgundy Tasting (importer Bertrand Leulliette and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/03 – Thursday … Women Of Wine Grand Tasting at the Czech Museum   (http://www.wowcharities.org/events-happy-hours/2019-grand-tasting-october-3/)
10/07 – Monday … Mostly White Burgundy Tasting (Fontaine Gagnard, Pernod Bellicard, etc. – David Smith and me) –  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/14 – Monday … Ch. Maris class and tasting (all organic and biodynamic wines – pure, fresh, and exciting) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/17 – Thursday … Royal Oporto Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/21 – Monday … Bordeaux Value (sponsored by Sopexa) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
12/02 – Monday … Symington (Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Quinta do Vesuvio) Vintage Port Tasting at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
In addition, we’ll be scheduling some sparkling wine and Champagne classes and another general Port class as well as at least one dinner.

Ch. de Mercues & Ch. de Haut Serre Cahors Class and Tasting

On Monday August 26th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Cahors (the original home of Malbec) estate owner and vigneron Bertrand Vigoroux (please “about Bertrand Vigoroux” below) of Ch. de Mercues and Ch. de Haut Serre (two of the most important properties in Cahors) to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of ten of his wines. Bertrand will present his wines as he delves into the history of both Cahors and his estates. He has been-there-done-that with Malbec in Cahors. If you like Malbec, you need to get to know Cahors and there is not better way that a tasting with this owner-vigneron-winemaker of two significant chateaux.

The line-up includes:
Bellefleur de Haute-Serre Sparkling rosé traditional méthode NV
Chenin de Mercuès 2016
Pigmentum Malbec, Cahors 2017
Vassal de Mercuès 2017
Chateau de Mercuès Grand vin 2016
Chateau de Haute-Serre Grand vin 2015
Géron Dadine du Chateau de Haute-Serre 2016
Cuvée 6666 du Chateau de Mercuès 2015
Icone WOW du Chateau de Mercuès 2015
Icone WOw du Chateau de Haute-Serre 2015. 

This Chx. de Mercues & de Haut Serre Cahors Tasting will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday August 26th at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, 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).

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the class or you may be charged. Later cancellations will not be charged if we can fill the seat. This is often case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

About Bertrand Vigoroux:
Bertrand-Gabriel Vigouroux is the son of Georges Vigouroux and works in the company for 30 years and he combines traditions and the modern techniques of winemaking to respect the Malbec in its original terror. He is constantly trying to optimize the potential of the Malbec that he often named “the Diva grape, it can produce incredible wines, but you have to give her your best first! ”
Now Bertrand Vigouroux manages the estates with the same passion as his father, maintaining tradition while introducing innovative methods. A major winemaker and oenologist in France himself, he took his passion for the Malbec grape to the Mendoza region in Argentina, hiring Paul Hobbs, a famous oenologist and Malbec wine-producer in Argentina, as a consultant. The cooperation brought an exceptional 2009 vintage and the new Icône cuvées.