Bordeaux Revealed: Vintages and Futures and a bit about the Business of Bordeaux

7pm on Monday, August 19th
If you have heard me speak on Bordeaux, you know that one of my common themes is that there is value in Bordeaux. Another is that the market sets the prices of Bordeaux. And yet another is that Bordeaux still sets the standard of quality for much of the wine world and certainly for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-based wines of the world.
In Bordeaux Revealed, we will taste three vintages each (2014, 2015, and 2016) of five representative wines and discuss those vintages as well as the on-offer-as-futures 2017 and 2018 vintages. We’ll also touch on why fine wine and especially Bordeaux is in something of a golden age right now, the business of Bordeaux, the mechanics of Bordeaux futures, and anything else Bordeaux related you care to ask about. Attendance at this event will be limited to 30 people in order to facilitate question and answer.

The following Bordeaux wines will be served:
Ch La Confession St Emilion 2014
Ch La Confession St Emilion 2015
Ch La Confession St Emilion 2016
Ch La Croix St Georges Pomerol 2014
Ch La Croix St Georges Pomerol 2015
Ch La Croix St Georges Pomerol 2016
Ch Branaire Ducru St Julien 2014
Ch Branaire Ducru St Julien 2015
Ch Branaire Ducru St Julien 2016
Ch Cantenac Brown Margaux 2014
Ch Cantenac Brown Margaux 2015
Ch Cantenac Brown Margaux 2016
Ch Haut Bages Liberal Pauillac 2014
Ch Haut Bages Liberal Pauillac 2015
Ch Haut Bages Liberal Pauillac 2016

Bordeaux Revealed will cost $60.00 per person cash ($63.16 regular).
The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, August 19th at l’Alliance Française.
To purchase your ticket(s), please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.
When you reserve, please give Susan your email address sp we may send you a .pdf file of some notes for the class.

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.

With over 40-years-experience in the wine business and over 30-years-experience teaching about wine, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton is one of the top wine authorities and top authorities on Bordeaux as well as the most experienced wine educator in Texas.

Bordeaux 2018

BORDEAUX 2018 is a GREAT VINTAGE
That’s pretty straight forward – but allow me to clarify. Over my forty-plus year career in the wine business, my tasting experience with Bordeaux with a broad number of top properties goes back as far as 1959 (which was both a great vintage and my birth year so I have had ample opportunities to taste and drink those wines). While I have tasted numerous Bordeaux wines from before 1959, I am most comfortable with 1959 and forward. So I’ll state that 2018 is the “best vintage” of my lifetime – which is a pretty bold statement given 1959, 1961, 1966, 1970, 1982, 1989, 1990,1995, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, and 2016, all of which are great vintages. So how can I single out 2018 as the best of that span, especially given the lack of hype for 2018? Glad you asked. (Read More)

Offer:
Please click here to see Spec’s 2018 Bordeaux Futures offer including tasting notes from Bear Dalton
Orders may be placed with wine sales staff at any of the larger Spec’s stores.

SIERRA CANTABRIA Wine Class and Tasting

Featuring Ambassador / Educator Alejandra Naranjo

On Monday, August 5th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming VIÑEDOS Y BODEGAS SIERRA CANTABRIA Ambassador / Educator AlejandraNaranjo (bio below) to The Wine School at L’Alliance Française for a discussion and tasting of their wines: Protocolo (Castilla y Leon), Sierra Cantabria and San Vicente (Rioja), and Teso La Monja (Toro).

The line-up includes:
Protocolo Blanco, Castilla Y Leon, 2018
Protocolo Rosado, Castilla Y Leon, 2018
Protocolo Tinto, Castilla Y Leon, 2017
Sierra Cantabria Rosado, Rioja, 2018
Sierra Cantabria Seleccion Tinto, Rioja, 2017
Sierra Cantabria Crianza, Rioja, 2015
Sierra Cantabria Rioja Reserva, Unica, 2014
San Vicente, Rioja, 2015
El Puntido Gran Reserva, 2006
Teso La Monja Romanico Toro, 2016
Teso La Monja Almirez Toro, 2016
Teso La Monja Victorino Toro, 2016

This Sierra Cantabria Tasting will cost $40.00per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class meets on Monday August 5th 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  Alejandra Naranjo:
After a 13 year career (that includes education and certifications from WSET, Académie de Bordeaux, the International School of Sommellerie, and the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona) in the wine business and wine education spanning four countries and three continents, Alejandro Naranjo went to Vinedos Y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria in Rioja as an ambassador / educator in 2017 with a portfolio including all of their brands from their three regions of production. I met Alejandra in May of 2019 and was impressed with her knowledge and passion and her ability to communicate those same qualities in talking about the wines she represents.

BORDEAUX REFRESH: A Look at the Lighter Side of Bordeaux Wines

Here it is the dog days of summer – so how about some cool refreshing Bordeaux? At first blush, maybe not. But if you look at this lineup featuring a rosé, 5 dry whites, 5 reds (but more elegant, prettier reds), and one very fresh-style sweet white (all from Bordeaux), you’ll see that Bordeaux can refresh. So please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at 7pm on Monday, July 29th at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for BORDEAUX REFRESH: A Look at the Lighter Side of Bordeaux Wines. In this seminar tasting, we’ll look at lighter and more refreshing wines from around Bordeaux that offer quality and value. Topics of discussion will include vintages, the styles of Bordeaux, and the grape varieties and techniques used to make the wines. Bread and cheese will be served. The ticket price will be donated to the ECHOS (Epiphany Community Health Outreach).

The following twelve Bordeaux wines will be served:
Pins des Dunes Rose Bordeaux 2018
Ch. Martinon Entre Deux Mers 2015
Ch. d’Archambeau Graves Blanc 2016
Clos des Lunes Bordeaux Blanc 2015
Les Charmes Godard Blanc Francs Cotes De Bordeaux 2016
R De Rieussec Bordeaux Blanc 2017
Ch. Camino Salva Haut Medoc 2015
Ch. Ampelia Cotes De Castillon 2016
Ch. Haut Vigneau Graves Rouge 2016
Ch. Laplagnotte Bellvue St. Emilion 2015
Ch. Pontac Lynch Margaux 2015
Lions De Suduiraut Sauternes 2015

To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com. The cost of this class is a $25 donation (cash or check only please) to payable to ECHOS.

About ECHOS:
ECHOS – Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services – was formed in 1999 in response to the health and social service needs of the rapidly increasing population of newly arrived immigrants and refugees who were re-settled in the community surrounding the Church of the Epiphany in southwest Houston. The original purpose was and continues to be to help families meet their basic needs on their path to self-sufficiency. Echos provides Benefits Application Assistance, Healthcare Mobile Clinics, Healthcare Screenings and Services, Support Groups (including working with the Houston Area Women’s Center), English as a Second Language (ESL), Computer Literacy, and Food Pantry and Food Fairs.

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).

With over 40 years experience in the wine business (including 23 years at Spec’s) and 30-plus years experience teaching about wine, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton is one of the top wine authorities as well as the most experienced wine educator in Texas. Over the last 23 years, he has spent well over a year in Bordeaux.

Adelsheim Tasting

On Monday July 8th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Willamette Valley pioneer David Adelsheim (please “about David Adelsheim” below) to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of ten of his wines. David will present his wines as he delves into the history of both Adelsheim and the Willamette Valley. He has seen and done it all in the Willamette Valley and is here to tell the tale.

The Wines:
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Rose 2018
Adelsheim Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2016
Adelsheim Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2017
Adelsheim Stacking Claim Chardonnay 2015
Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Chardonnay 2016
Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017
Adelsheim Breaking Ground Pinot Noir 2015
Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2014
Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Vineyard  Pinot Noir 2016
Adelsheim Boulder Bluff Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

This Adelsheim Tasting will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday July 8th 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 David Adelsheim:
David Adelsheim is the director of Adelsheim Vineyard, which he founded with Ginny Adelsheim in 1971. In the course of his company’s 48-year history, he has been the vineyard manager, winemaker, and the person in charge of sales, marketing, accounting, and fixing broken plumbing. His early winemaking experience included work at the experimental winery of the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, France, and at The Eyrie Vineyards in Oregon.
“In the beginning, in the 1970s, we needed to focus on learning to make consistently decent wine. As the Willamette Valley was able to draw on more training and expertise in the 80s and 90s, producing world-class Pinots became the goal. Now, our conversations are all about the distinctions of place – what should a great Pinot from this particular vineyard taste like?”

Revealing Rosé – 18 for ’18

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton on Monday, June 24th at 7pm for Revealing Rosé. We’ll beat the heat as we dig into dry Rosé with look at eighteen (I know, I have a hard time editing myself) refreshing 2018 vintage Rosé wines from all over France from Bordeaux to the Languedoc to Provence to the Rhone representing the range of styles from “Beach” to “Food Friendly.” We’ll talk about the grapes, the places they’re grown, how they’re made, and the foods we eat with them. Due to factors including currency rates and production, French Rosé represents an even better value this year. Bread and a selection of fine cheeses will accompany the tasting.

The List:
Ch La Sable Rose, Luberon, 2018
Pierre Rougon Rose, Cote Du Rhone, 2018
Chemin De Provence Rose, Provence, 2018
Cuvee Des 3 Messes Basses Rose, Ventoux, 2018
Pierre Rougon Rose, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2018
Pins Des Dunes Rose, Bordeaux, 2018
Versant Rose, Pays d’Oc, 2018
Brumont Rose, Gascogne, 2018
Mourgues Du Gres Rose Les Galets, Costieres de Nimes, 2018
Domaine de Cabasse Rose de Marie, Cotes du Rhone, 2018
The Palm Rose By Whispering Angel, Provence, 2018
Pink Pegau Rose, Vin de France, 2018
Fleurs de Prairie Rose, Provence, 2018
Ch d’Esclans Whispering Angel, Provence Rose,   2018
Canto Perdrix, Tavel Rose, 2018
Domaine De Mourchon Loubie, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rose, 2018
Hecht & Bannier Rose, Cotes De Provence, 2018
Montmirail Rossignol Rose, Gigondas, 2018

Revealing Roséwill cost $50.00 per person cash ($52.63 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, June 24th at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket(s), please contact Susan at 713-854-7855or 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.

With over 40 years experience in the wine business and 30-plus years experience teaching and writing about wine, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton is one of the top wine authorities as well as the most experienced wine educator in Texas.

A Champagne and Bordeaux Pop Up Dinner

A Champagne and Bordeaux Pop Up Dinner

Anyone who knows me knows that I love food as much as I love wine. While I’ve never even dreamed of being a winemaker, I often think about cooking in my own restaurant. That’s not going to happen – but I have gotten to live the chef/restaurateur dream occasionally with wine dinners I’ve donated and cooked for with the money generated going to various organizations such as WOW and the Houston Area Women’s Center, ECHOS, and the Rancher’s Ride. The last of these dinners was how I celebrated my 60thbirthday back on March 9th. All well and good but I am craving another chef fix.
So, on Saturday June 22 at 7pm, I will host (and cook along with Joan Sokol, Denise Ehrlich, and several others) a wine dinner benefitting the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. This dinner-for-32 will be held in the Parish Hall at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (which conveniently has a full commercial kitchen). We’ll start with a Champagne reception with appropriate nibbles and then sit down to a five-course dinner of some of my personal favorite dishes, each prepared to complement the wines served with them, served with extraordinary wines. Extraordinairy wines? Take a look at the menu below. You just may have to loosen your belt.

The CHAMPAGNE RECEPTION
Assorted Nibbles
Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, NV
Andre Clouet Cuvee 1911 Blanc de Noirs, Champagne, NV
Billecart Salmon Rosé, Champagne, NV

The DINNER
Leek-and-Cauliflower Soup
Lustau East India Sherry

Duck Debris
served over dressed mesclun with toasted pine nuts
Ch. Pavie Macquin, St. Emilion, 2014
Ch. Les Carmes Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan,2014
Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac, 2014

Grilled Whole Beef Tenderloin
sliced over truffled tagliatelli and topped with caramelized leeks and shitakes
Ch. Pavie Macquin, St. Emilion, 2015
Ch. Clinet, Pomerol, 2015
Ch. Les Carmes Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan, 2015
Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac, 2015

Cheeses
Ch. Pavie Macquin, St. Emilion, 2016
Ch. Les Carmes Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan, 2016
Ch. Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac, 2016

Home-Made Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream
with peach topping and shortbread crumble

Ch. Coutet Barsac, 2015

So come eat and drink knowing that every dime will go to a great cause; have fun and feel good about it. This Champagne and Bordeaux Pop-Up Wine Dinner will cost $300.00 per person (check payable to Church of the Epiphany or a credit card charge which will be processed by Epiphany). The reception will start at 7pm on Saturday June 22. To reserve your spot for this unique wine and food experience, please reply by email to me at BearDalton@mac.com.
I suggest coming by Uber, Lyft, or other car service as there will be a lot of wine served. The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany is located at 9600 South Gessner Road (the southwest corner of Gessner and Bissonnet).

The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany is my church and I love it. It’s where I go to church and where I raised my kids. While I no longer live in the area, I went to Sharpstown High School and used to pass Epiphany on the way to and from school. Since joining Epiphany 23 years ago, I have served as a lay reader, occasional cook,  on the vestry (currently in my third term), and as senior warden. The area has changed since I lived nearby and Epiphany has changed along with it. Epiphany now boasts one of the most diverse and welcoming (to all people) congregations in Houston along with great preaching, adherence to the liturgical structures found in the Book of Common Prayer, and exceptional music. Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS) is The Church of the Epiphany’s outreach to the surrounding community.