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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

One Week from Today – 2015 (Mostly) Cru Classé Bordeaux Tasting

If you love Bordeaux, this is a can’t miss event. Taste 60+ high quality Bordeaux Wines from the excellent 2015 vintage. Meet and talk with some of the producers. Wallow in Bordeaux wonderfulness.

Tuesday March 6, 2018 at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice

As most know, this event was originally scheduled for Tuesday January 16, 2018 but we had to cancel due to extreme (for Houston anyway) winter weather conditions. We are sorry for any inconvenience that cancellation may have caused but safety considerations won out. The original plan was to host over 30 Bordeaux chateau owners, directors, and/or winemakers (aka “the Bordelaise”) presenting 62 mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux wines all from the superb 2015 vintage in a standup-and-walk-around tasting format. The wines are here and will be served. Some of the Chateau owners/winemakeers are coming back as well. In any case, there will be someone informed about the wine pouring each wine. In the end, we will have the 2015 tasting and you will get to taste …

Pomerol: Chx. Clinet, Gazin, Croix St. Georges, and La Pointe (along with 2nd vin Ballade de La Pointe)

St. Emilion: Chx. Canon la Gaffeliere, Clos l’Oratoire, Daugay, Grand Corbin Despagne, La Confession, Larcis Ducasse, and Pavie Macquin

St. Georges St. Emilion: Ch. Cap St. George

Castillon and Francs: Chx. d’Aiguilhe and Ampelia, Ch. Puygueraud

Bordeaux: Chx. Croix Mouton and le Conseiller

St. Estephe: Chx. Phelan Segur, Lafon Rochet, and les Ormes de Pez

Pauillac: Chx. Pichon Lalande (with 2nd vin Reserve de la Comtesse), Pichon Baron (with 2nd vin Les Griffons), Pibran, Lynch Bages (with 2nd vin Echo de Lynch Bages), Grand Puy Lacoste (with 2nd vin Lacoste Borie), Clerc Milon, d’Armailhac, and Haut Bages Liberal

St. Julien: Chx. Branaire Ducru, Leoville Barton and Langoa Barton, Leoville Poyferrre, and Talbot

Margaux: Chx. Giscours, Cantenac Brown, Ferriere, du Tertre and Brane Cantenac (along with 2nd vin Baron de Brane)

Haut Medoc, Moulis, Listrac: Chx. Cantemerle, Chasse Spleen, Camensac, Mauvesin Barton, and Senejac

Pessac Leognan Reds: Chx. Carmes Haut Brion, Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, Clos Marsalette, and Haut Bailly with 2nd vin La Parde de Haut Bailly

Dry Whites: Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, and Blanc de Lynch Bages (2014)

Sweet Whites: Chx. Suduiraut (along with 2nd vin Lions de Suduiraut) and Coutet

You can see that we’ll be tasting great wines from every major appellation in Bordeaux. After re-tasting all these wines on January 17 in Dallas, I can tell you that they are showing very well.
The tasting will open at 5pm and run until 9pm, 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 Vintage 2015 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.