Jorge Ordonez Spanish Wine Tasting

On Monday, January 14 at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Victor Ordonez, son of famed Spanish wine importer Jorge Ordonez to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of a dozen wines from the Jorge Ordonez portfolio covering Spain from the Cava zone in Penedes across to Calatayud, Rioja, Toro, and Rias Baixas. There are a number of outstanding wines in this range of some of my favorite Spanish producers as well as some excellent values. (Please see below for more on Victor Ordonez.)

The line-up includes:
Marques de Gelida Brut Gran Reserva, Cava,  2014
La Caña Albarino, Rias Baixas, 2016
Breca Garnacha de Fuego, Calatayud, 2016
Breca Garnacha de Aragon, Calatayud, 2015
Triton Tinto de Toro, 2016
Rio Madre Graciano, Rioja, 2016
Sierra Cantabria Crianza, Rioja, 2015
Sierra Cantabria Reserva Unica, Rioja, 2014
Muga Reserva, Rioja, 2014
Vatan Tinta de Toro, 2015
Breca Brega, Calatayud, 2015
San Vicente Cosecha, Rijoa, 2014

This Jorge Ordonez Spanish Tasting will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, January 14 at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Françaiseis 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 Victor Ordonez:
Son of legendary Spanish wine importer Jorge Ordóñez, Victor Ordóñez is one of the third generation in his family’s wine business, which started when his grandfather Jose María started selling bottles of gran reserva Rioja out of a milk crate strapped to a bicycle to the hotels of Málaga, Spain. Victor grew up immersed in the wine business and Spanish culture. A bottle of wine was on the family dinner table every night, and Victor was frequently ready to shake the hand of an important customer who was at his father’s home office tasting wine when he came home from school. After studying Viticulture & Enology and Business and competing on the lightweight rowing team at Cornell University, Victor jumped head first into the family business, and is now managing national sales and distribution for Jorge Ordóñez Selections. Although his current focus is on the sales and marketing end of the wine business, his true passion lies in winemaking, and since he was sixteen has worked five harvests in Málaga, Rueda, Toro, and Valdeorras. In the little time when he is not working he enjoys cooking, training, and spending time with his friends & family.

 

 

2016 (Mostly) Cru Classé Bordeaux Tasting

4:30 – 8:30pm   Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at The Crystal Ballroom at the Rice

SPEC’s will host over 30 Bordeaux chateau owners, directors, and/or winemakers presenting 67 mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux wines, all from the superb 2016 vintage in a standup- and-walk-around tasting format. This is our eighth time to host such a delegation from Bordeaux and each of the previous events have been smashing successes. The list of well-known and highly regarded Bordeaux wines includes …

Dry White Wines: Blanc de  LYNCH BAGES (2017), Ch. CARBONNIEUX, Ch. SMITH HAUT LAFITTE, Domaine de CHEVALIER
Bordeaux, Cotes de Bordeaux, Satellites: Ch. CROIX MOUTON and Ch. le CONSEILLER, Ch. AMPÉLIA, Ch. d’AIGUILHE, Ch. PUYGUERAUD, Ch. CAP St. GEORGES
Haut-Medoc and Moulis: Ch. CAMENSAC, Ch. CANTEMERLE, Ch. SENEJAC, Ch. CHASSE SPLEEN, Ch. MAUVESIN BARTON, Ch. POUJEAUX
Margaux:Ch. BRANE CANTENAC and BARON de BRANE, Ch. CANTENAC BROWN, Ch. GISCOURS and Ch. Du TERTRE, Ch. FERRIERE, Ch. RAUZAN SEGLA
St. Julien: Ch. BRANAIRE DUCRU, Ch. GLORIA and Ch. SAINT PIERRE, Ch. LANGOA BARTON and Ch. LEOVILLE BARTON, Ch. LEOVILLE POYFERRE, Ch. TALBOT
Pauillac: Ch. d’ARMAILHAC, Ch. CLERC MILON, Ch. HAUT BAGES LIBERAL, Ch. GRAND PUY LACOSTE and LACOSTE BORIE,Ch. LYNCH BAGES and ECHO de LYNCH BAGES,Ch. PICHON – COMTESSE de LALANDE and Reserve de la COMTESSE, Ch. PICHON – BARONde LONGUEVILLE and GRIFFONS de PICHON BARON, Ch. PIBRAN
St. Estephe: Ch. Les ORMES de PEZ, Ch. PHELAN SEGUR
Pessac Leognan Rouge: Ch. CARBONNIEUX,Ch. CARMES HAUT BRION
Ch. HAUT BAILLY, Ch. SMITH HAUT LAFITTE, CLOS MARSALETTE, Domaine de CHEVALIER
Pomerol: Ch. CLINET, Ch. Le CROIX St. GEORGES, Ch. GAZIN, Ch. La POINTE and BALLADE de la POINTE
St. Emilion: Ch. CANON, Ch. CANON La GAFFELIERE and CLOS de l’ORATOIRE, Ch. DAUGAY, Ch. GRAND CORBIN-DESPAGNE, Ch. LA CONFESSION, Ch. LARCIS DUCASSE, Ch. PAVIE MACQUIN, CLOS FOURTET
Sweet Whites: Ch. SUDUIRAUT and LIONS de SUDUIRAUT, Ch. COUTET

We’ll be tasting great wines from every major appellation in Bordeaux. The tasting will open at 4:30pm and run thru to 8:30pm, giving you ample time to taste the wines and visit with our guests from Bordeaux. The tasting will include a spread of artisanal cheeses and breads chosen to help absorb the wines and refresh the palate. We will taste from Riedel Degustazione (tasting) glasses.  The 2016 Mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux Tasting will cost $100.00 per person (including a 5% discount for cash or check, regular price is $105.26). To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

The Crystal Ballroom at the Rice is located in downtown Houston at 909 Texas Avenue between Travis and Main. Valet Parking will be available.

If you buy a ticket and will not be able to attend, please cancel at least 24 hours before the event. No shows and later cancellations will be charged.

A Port Primer with Rui Ribeiro of Symington

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at 7pm on Monday, December 10that the Wine School at l’Alliance Française to welcome Rui Ribeiro of Symington and taste through a range of 15 of Symington’s fine Port wines.

Port wines are numbered among the classic wines of the world and are quite collectable. The most desired are Vintage Ports of which we will taste four. As there are many styles of Port wine, a little information goes a long way toward understanding what you’re drinking. Topics of discussion will include types of Port (and why and how they are different), the origins of Port wine and how it evolved, Serving and Drinking Port, “Pass the Port” (Port Customs), and Decanting Port (including a decanting demonstration). Fifteen Port wines will be tasted and bread and cheese will be served.

We will taste:
Graham’s Six Grapes Porto
Graham’s River Quinta Porto
Dow’s 2012 Late Bottled Vintage Porto
Cockburn’s Special Reserve Porto
Smith Woodhouse 2004 Late Bottled Vintage Porto
Graham’s 10yr Tawny Porto
Dow’s 10yr Tawny Porto
Cockburn’s 10yr Tawny Porto
Graham’s 20yr Tawny Porto
Dow’s 20yr Tawny Porto
Smith Woodhouse 2000 Colheita Porto
Smith Woodhouse 2016 Vintage Porto
Cockburn’s 2016 Vintage Porto
Graham’s 2016 Vintage Porto
Dow’s 2016 Vintage Porto

The Port Primer will cost $70.00 per person cash ($73.68 regular). To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan Coburn at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com. 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.

Symington family member Rui Ribeiro has always had a love for wine but his interests become more serious when he received his degree in Agronomics at Vila Real University in the Douro. Once filled with knowledge Rui was ready to put his skills to work and started as a winemaker and harvest trainee in 2000.  With a passion for nature and viticulture Rui quickly fell in love with the Douro Valley.  He was captivated by the impressive beauty of the terraces and the surrounding atmosphere of the Douro.  This solidified his career goals to educate the world about the wines of the Douro Valley. Working under Rupert Symington’s leadership, Rui is the US Market Manager at Symington Family Estates.

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).

PINK FIZZ! or The State of Sparkling Rosé

7pm  Monday  November 26th at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

In Pink Fizz, we will focus in on, taste, and discuss only Rosé Sparkling wines from around the world but with the major emphasis on Champagne. We’ll look at how they’re made (all methode champenoise), how they get their color (a variety of ways), their styles and nuances, where and from what grapes they’re made, as well as pink fizz with food. We will taste through the diversity of dry pink bubbles as we look at a total of 14 wines. The wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware and a selection of cheeses and bread will be served.

The lineup includes:
Mercat Brut Rosé NV
Jean Baptiste Adam Cremant d’Alsace Rosé NV
Roederer Estate Rosé Anderson Valley – Sparkling NV
Andre Clouet Brut Rosé Grand Reserve NV
Michel Mailliard Rosé Cuvee Alexia Champagne NV
Chateau De Bligny Brut Rosé Champagne NV
Jose Dhondt Saignee Rosé Brut Champagne NV
Jean Vesselle Oeil De Perdrix Rosé Champagne NV
Camille Saves Rosé Brut Grand Cru Champagne NV
Henriot Rosé Champagne NV
Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne NV
Bollinger Special Cuvee Rosé Champagne NV
Barons de Rothschild Brut Rosé Champagne NV
Egly Ouriet Brut Rosé Champagne NV

Pink Fizz! will cost $80 per person (cash or check) or $84.21 (regular). To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan Coburn at 713-854-7855or 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).

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 40 years in the wine business and over 35 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.

SOLD OUT – A November Bordeaux Dinner to Remember

At 7pm on Thursday, November 29th, please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, at Lucio’s for a fun and delicious look at 2012 Bordeaux and more paired with a wine friendly menu.  We’ll start with a lovely Champagne and a bit of tartare after which we will go directly to three left-bank, Cabernet Sauvignon dominant reds paired with the roast quail. After that, we’ll have three right-bank, Merlot-dominant wines with the braised beef followed by a mini vertical (2012, 2011, and 2008) of Ch. Pontet Canet with the cheese. We’ll finish up with a fresh 2015 Ch. Coutet Barsac. There are some real WOW wines on the list.

THE MENU
Salmon Tartare with
Camille Saves Carte Blanche Brut Champagne NV

Roast Quail with
Ch. Branaire Ducru, St. Julien, 2012
Ch. Haut Bages Liberal, Pauillac, 2012
Ch. Brane Cantenac, Margaux, 2012

Red Wine Press Short Ribs with
Ch. la Croix St. Georges, Pomerol, 2012
Ch. L’Evangile, Pomerol, 2012
Vieux Ch. Certan, Pomerol, 2012

A selection of Cheeses with
Ch. Pontet Canet, Pauillac, 2012
Ch. Pontet Canet, Pauillac, 2011
Ch. Pontet Canet,Pauillac, 2008

Brioche Bread Pudding
Ch Coutet, Barsac, 2015

This November Bordeaux Dinner to Remember 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 to BearDalton@mac.com.
Please include a call back number in your email reply.
This dinner is limited to 20 guests and should sell out quickly. 

Lucio’s is located at 905 Taft Street between West Dallas and Allen Parkway.

Hope to see you there.

SOLD OUT – CHAMPAGNE!

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at 7pm on Monday, November 19that The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Champagne! In Champagne, we will taste and discuss the range of sparkling wines from Champagne as we look at how they are made, their styles and stylistic differences, where and from what grapes they are made, the different types of Champagne producers, serving, glassware, and Champagne and food. The tasting will start with a grand marque brut NV to use as a baseline and will build from there. All wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered.

The lineup includes:
Perrier Jouet Grand Brut Champagne 6/cs NV
Abel Charlot
JP Marniquet Brut Tradition NV
Castelnau Brut Reserve (6/cs) Champagne NV
Jacques Picard Berru Brut NV
Camille Saves Carte Blanche Brut Premier Cru NV
Roederer Brut Vintage Champagne 2009
Marcel Moineaux Chouilly Brut Blanc De Blanc Grand Cru NV
Lancelot Royer Cuvee Chevaliers Champagne NV
Barons Rothschild Blanc de Blancs NV
Andre Clouet “Cuvee 1911” Brut NV
Egly Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru Champagne NV
Castelnau Collection Oenotheque (6/cs) Champagne 2000
JP Marniquet Brut Prestige Champagne 2002

Champagne! will cost $75 per person (cash or check) or $78.95 (regular). To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan Coburn at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Françaiseis 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).

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

More Classes and Events Coming Soon:
11.26.18          Monday           Sparkling Rosé (mostly Champagne)
11.29.18          Thursday         “Drinking Bordeaux” Dinner at Lucio’s
12.10.18          Monday           Port (with Symington)
12.13.18          Thursday         Holiday Dinner
12.17.18          Monday            Wine School Christmas Party and Toy Gather
01.16.19          Wednesday     Big 2016 Bordeaux Tasting at Crystal Ballroom

ECHOS Chef’s Dinner honoring Bear Dalton

Dear Friends,

It seems a bit strange and is certainly humbling for me to invite you to a dinner where I am the community honoree. And doubly so as this is the second such dinner this year (the other being the Houston Area Women Center’s “Rock the HAWC” Gala back in April. This dinner benefits Epiphany Community Heath Outreach Services (ECHOS) located on the campus of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (9600 South Gessner at Bissonnet) in southwest Houston providing health services and food pantry and distribution and other basic services to a largely immigrant, very low income population mostly in that area.

From ECHOS’ Web-Site (http://echos-houston.org/):
ECHOS – Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services – was formed in 1999, in response to the health and social service needs to the rapidly increasing population of newly arrived immigrants and refugees who were being resettled in the community surrounding the Church of the Epiphany. 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. 

In the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, ECHOS provided invaluable recovery assistance to their clients. In fact, they were so busy with clients, ECHOS had to cancel last year’s gala which makes this year’s event all the more important. Over the past year, ECHOS’ food pantry, health care services and screenings, and educational programs have grown. The food pantry is now a client choice pantry serving 156% more individuals in 2018 (already more than 8,000 individuals this year alone!) ECHOS’ need’s your help to keep pace with this growing number of people in need.

As many of you know, ECHOS and HAWC have long been my two causes of choice. Many of you have attended our Wine School Christmas Party and Toy Gather benefitting ECHOS and many other wine tastings and events raising money and awareness for both ECHOS and HAWC. Please join me on September 20th at 6:15pm at The Crystal Ballroom at the Rice (909 Texas Avenue  Houston, Texas  77002) for ECHOS’ 10th ANNUAL Chef’s Dinner. To purchase a table or tickets, please go to http://echos-houston.org/events/chefs-dinner/.

The event will begin with a Champagne Reception at 6:15pm followed by the seated Dinner.

The Menu for This Year’s Chef’s Dinner
Starter: A Trio of a Spinach Soufflé Stuffed Mushroom with Prosciutto Brie Crostini with fig Jam and Goat cheese and a Stuffed Artichoke on bed of arugula
Main Plate: Bone in Braised Short Rib with celery root puree, sauteed baby vegetables and a Syrah demi-glace
Dessert: A Trio of a Decadent Chocolate Torte with a Tiramisu Shooter and a Lemon Tartlet

I’m working on the wines now and will update the menu to include those soon.

Best,

Bear