Pulling The Cork . . . and other things you need to know about wine

On Monday, July 13th at 7pm, please join Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Pulling The Cork . . . and other things you need to know about wine, a one-night next-step into Tasting, Drinking, and Enjoying wine. Tasting because that’s how you figure out what you like. Drinking because drinking good wine is the object of all that tasting (however much fun all the tasting may be). And Enjoying because there are things you can do to enjoy wine more without spending more money on wine.

Bear Dalton has over 35 years of experience tasting (over 9,000 a year), drinking and enjoying, and working professionally (He’s the fine wine buyer for Spec’s) with wine including over 30 years experience teaching and writing about wine. In this two-hour class, he’ll lead you through a tasting of 12 wines including red, white, sparkling and dessert wines. Discussion will include tasting vs. drinking, what to look for when tasting, wine and food pairing, wine serving and storage temperatures (and why they matter), proper wine glasses (and why they are important – and when they are not), pulling the cork (there is both more and less to it than you think), and more.

Pulling the Cork . . . will cost $50.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $52.63 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, July 13th, 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).

Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2010

NOTE: This is the class I had to cancel due to illness back in May.
St. Emilion

St. Emilion

On Tuesday, July 7th 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 (and the most recent “Great Vintage”), 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 Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux

The Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux


The line up:
Ch. Ampelia, Cotes de Bordeaux  Castillon, 2010
Domaine 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 Tuesday July 7, 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).
Also in the queue . . .
Thursday, July 2nd: Revealing Rosé
Monday, July 13th: Pulling the Cork – and other things you need to know about wine 

REVEALING ROSÉ: A Seminar and Tasting from the Wine School at l’Alliance Française

REVEALING ROSÉ: A Seminar and Tasting from the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
7pm on Thursday, July 2nd, $30 Cash

Please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, at the  Wine School at l’Alliance Française for “Revealing Rosé” at 7pm on Monday, July 2nd at l’Alliance Française. Why Rosé? And why now? Because there is no better and more refreshing wine to drink this time of year. And our Texas Rosé drinking season is up and running. Topics of discussion will include vintages, types of Rosé, Rosé and food, and the grape varieties and techniques used to make the wines. Sixteen pink wines (all French) will be tasted and bread and a selection of fine cheeses will be served. Roses

The following Rosé wines will be served:
Pins Du Pyla Rose Bordeaux 2014
Villa Des Anges Old Vine Rose 2014
Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rose 2014
Pigmentum Rose Malbec 2014
Dom Le Pive Gris Rose 2014
Listel Gris Cuvee Centenaire Rose 2014
Ch du Donjon Minervois Rose 2014
Balandran Castieres de Nimes Rose 2014
Dom Cabasse Le Rose de Marie 2014
Commanderie Bargemone Rose de Provence  2014
Domaine  de Triennes Provence Rose  2014
Ch de Lancyre Rose Pic Saint Loup 2014
Hecht & Bannier Rose Cotes de Provence 2014
Mourchon Cotes du Rhone Villages Loubie Rose 2014
Pink Pegau Cotes du Rhone Rose 2014
Ch d’Esclans Whispering Angel Provence Rose 2014

Dress cool and join us for delicious and refreshing Rosé. Revealing Rosé will cost $30.00 per person cash ($31.58 regular). To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Française is French Cultural Center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., it is on the Southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

DRINK PINK!

Also coming soon:
Tuesday, July 7:   2010 Bordeaux – A vintage overview
Monday, July 13:   Pulling the Cork – and other things you need to know about wine

Bear on 2014 Bordeaux

My coverage of the 2014 vintage of Bordeaux is now online.

Please click here to go to BearOnWine’s 2014 BORDEAUX Web Page.

Links to my Tasting Notes and Scores (including many that are not on the Spec’s 2014 Offer) are at the bottom of that page.

Below is a sample of what you’ll find …

BORDEAUX 2014

St. Emilion

St. Emilion

Every year, I go taste in Bordeaux the last week of March and first week of April. That trip is built around UGC (Union des Grandes Crus) Week or “Premieres Week” which offers a chance to taste the most recent vintage (this year that is 2014) of Bordeaux prior to the wines being released for sale to the trade as futures. And a lot of other wines. My schedule is a mix of tasting visits to chateaux and to negociants’ offices with the odd tasting elsewhere thrown in. We will make as many as 14 stops a day., all of which are tasting visits with little to no time to ogle barrels and tanks. There are some lunches and dinners and even a couple of parties but the focus is on tasting and evaluating as much wine possible in a two week period. In that time, I will taste (or in some cases drink) over 1,200 individual wines and make notes on maybe 800-900 of them. Some wines are not good enough to take any moretime on and so don’t even get a note. Some are older vintages and some are the sort of wines not sold as futures. Of the 500 or so notes I took on 2014 wines about to be offered as futures, many are duplicates where I tasted the same wine a second, third, or even fourth time during the week either because I had an iffy sample or to confirm just how good something was. In all, I found up with 200 or so 2014 wines I liked. Once the prices were released – which happened over about a five week period – I bought the wines that made sense from the combined angles of price, quality, sales history, cooperation, and local preferences. This year, I have so far bought 104 wines for Spec’s and will add a handful more. These wines are now on offer to Spec’s customers.

Why should you care? Because 2014 is a very good to excellent, quite pretty vintage that, for many people, will give more drinking pleasure than the “best” vintages such as 2010, 2009, and 2005. And because it is – due to a combination of market factors and the dollar-euro exchange rate – a very affordable vintage that will never be cheaper than it is now. Having said all that, I’m talking only about a particular subset of the fewer than 300 fairly well-known chateaux (out of more than 6,800 total wine chateaux) in Bordeaux . . . (read more)