From Our Friend François Labet in Burgundy

Chateau de la Tour in the Clos Vougeot

Dear All,
That’s it, the long harvest marathon starts again.
An easy growing season despite a light drought plus some frost damage means that we will not get the quantities we expected but great quality will be there.
We will start with the whites from Beaune and Meursault, then the reds of Côte de Beaune and finish with Gevrey and Chateau de la Tour (Clos Vougeot).
Thank you for your confidence, support and enthusiasm.
Sincerely,
François Labet

This photo was simply too beautiful not to share.
Bear

Taste Domaine de la POUSSE d’OR 2014

Taste Domaine de la POUSSE d’OR 2014

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or has long been among my favorites of Burgundy. I first tasted two of the Volnays in the early 1980s and got to know the range of wines better tasting some with Becky Wasserman (who was then their broker) in 1986. I’ve been tasting at the domaine for the last fifteen years. Over all that time, I have watched the domaine grow from a Volnay specialist with some Santenay and Pommard to include vines on the hill of Corton (1999), in Puligny Montrachet (2004), and Chambolle and Morey (2008). At this time Spec’s is able to purchase thirteen wines (one village appellation, nine 1er crus, and three grand crus) from the estate, all of which are consistently excellent. (There are four wines we don’t get – yet.)  On Monday, June 5th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Tasting of Domaine de la Pousse d’Or 2014. We’ll taste through all thirteen available Pousse d’Or crus from the fine 2014 vintage including twelve reds and one white with special attention paid to the specificity of place and process of each wine.

The line up:
Pousse d’Or Santenay 1er Cru Clos Tavannes 2014
Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru en Caillerets 2014
Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la 60 Ouvrees 2014
Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la Bousse d’Or 2014
Pousse d’Or Pommard 1er Cru Jarollieres 2014
Pousse d’Or Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny Villages 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru les Feusselottes 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru les Charmes 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru les Amoureuses 2014
Pousse d’Or Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2014
Pousse d’Or Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2014
Pousse d’Or Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clos le Caillerets 2014

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or 2014 will cost $140.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $147.37 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, June 5, 2017 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.

With almost 40 years experience in the wine business 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.

An Evening with BOUCHARD Pere et Fils

7pm  Thursday March 9, 2017 at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton in welcoming Bouchard Pere et Fils winemaker Philippe Prost who will guide us through a tasting of 10 of Bouchard Pere et Fils fine red and white Burgundy wines. The wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered.

We will taste:
Bouchard Bourgogne Chardonnay
Bouchard Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Bouchard Meursault du Domaine 2011
Bouchard Meursault les Clous 2013
Bouchard Beaune de Chateau Blanc 2013
Bouchard Beaune de Chateau Rouge 2011
Bouchard Clos Landry 2011
Bouchard Beaune Greves Vigne l’Enfant Jesus 2013
Bouchard Volnay Caillerets Cuvee Ancienne Carnot 2011
Bouchard Chambolle Musigny 2011

An Evening with Bouchard will cost $30.00 total cash per person ($31.58 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Thursday March 9 at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

About BOUCHARD Pere et Fils:
Founded in 1731 by Michel Bouchard as a negoçiant and established as a vineyard owner in 1775 and passed through generations of the Bouchard family until this negoçiant-proprietaire was purchased by Champagne maker Joseph Henriot in in 1995, Bouchard Pere et Fils is a top land owner and leading producer of high quality Burduny wines with distribution around the world.

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 the case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

With almost 40 years experience in the wine business 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.

MAKING A LIST . . .

The other day, I bumped into a friend-of-some-years (thereby avoiding referring to her as an “old friend”) who asked if I’d made my list yet. Even though I look more-than-a-bit like Santa Claus, I generally wait until after all the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone to start thinking about Christmas stuff. And I said as much.

She replied “No. Not that list. Your value wine list.”

I told her that it had been a few years since I’d done that. She said I should do it again as she needed a new one … and then she pulled a much-taped-and-folded, very-beat-up piece-of-paper from her purse and showed me one of my old value wine picks lists she’d been carrying around for several years. The vintages were all way out-of-date but a good chunk of the wines that are still available are wines I’d still recommend. After I looked at it (with some wonderment on my part), she carefully refolded it and put it safely back in her purse saying “See. I need a new one … but I’ll hold on to this one until you get around to it.”

Well, OK. Good idea. And since she’s what I refer to as a “church lady” (although not all church ladies go to my church), her “request” is really more of a command anyway.

You may well ask “What makes a ‘Value Wine?’” (You also may ask “What makes a Church Lady?” but that‘s a topic for another time and place.) In the general parlance, “value wine” is a good or recommended wine below a certain price point. That well-worn list my friend had saved was all under $15.00 per bottle. And that’s fair as far as it goes but to make my list, the wines have to consistently over-deliver. That being the case, not many heavily-marketed, national brands make my list as, while many of them offer a fair value, seldom do they over-deliver (and almost never do they over deliver over a series of vintages).

bearonwinelogoWhat you’ll find on this list are my picks (wines I actually buy and drink at home) with First-of-December-2016 prices under $20 (Spec’s cash bottle price – if you’re buying six-mixed at a time or by-the-case, the prices will be lower). The prices listed will likely change (some up, some down) over time. The vintages on the list are those that are current as I compile it but don’t worry too much if you bump into a vintage that’s younger. These wines tend to be pretty consistent from vintage-to-vintage. These are wines with enough production that they are available most of the time; I’m not including anything where we don’t get at least a couple of pallets a year. Finally, these are wines that I recommend. Which means they are wines I like to drink. Which means they offer plenty of fruit but are not over-ripe or over-manipulated. Which is to say that they taste of the grapes from which they were made and (generally) of the specific place they were grown.

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PRINT THE LIST

Red Burgundies of the Cote de Nuits

Red Burgundies of the Cote de Nuits

7pm  Monday September 19, 2016 at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

alnsgPlease join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for this in-depth look at the Red Burgundies of the COTE DE NUITS. Fifteen top quality wines (ranging from $27 to $170 per bottle with seven over $100 per bottle) will be tasted covering all the major Cote de Nuits appellations and the hierarchy from regional (1) to village (5), premier cru (5), and grand cru (4).   We will discuss appellation, hierarchy, terroir, tradition, style, technique, and personality. The wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered during each class.

We will taste:
taupenotmermecharmeschambertinArnoux Lachaux Bourgogne Pinot Fin 2013
Arnoux Lachaux Nuits Saint Georges 2013
Arnoux Lachaux Nuits Saint Georges Les Proces 1er cru 2013
Domaine Berthaut Fixin les Crais 2014
Albert Bichot Gevrey Chambertin Les Murots 2013
Taupenot Merme Gevrey Chambertin 2013
Taupenot Merme Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 2013
Taupenot Merme Morey St. Denis la Riotte 1er cru 2013
Pousse d’Or Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2011
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny  2011
Groffier Chambolle Musigny les Sentiers 1er Cru 2010
Michel Gros Clos Vougeot Grand Maupertuis Grand Cru 2010
Domaine Berthaut Vosne Romanee les Petitis Monts 1er Cru 2014
Domaine d’Eugenie Vosne Romanee les Brulees 1er cru 2009
Domaine Thenard Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru 2011
 
This Cote de Nuits Class will cost $135.00 total per person cash ($141.11 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, September 19 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).

Please Note: 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.

Red Wines of the Cote de Beaune

7pm  Monday  September 12, 2016 at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for this in-depth look at the red wines of BURGUNDY’s Cote de Beaune (plus one Cote Chalonnaise). We will examine the intricacies and differences to be found in Pinot Noir based reds in a region with hundreds of legally delimited vineyards split into tiny plots farmed by myriad producers large and small.   We will discuss appellation, heirarchy, terroir, tradition, style, technique, and personality. The wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered during each class.

We will taste:
Champy Bourgogne Rouge 2014
Thenard Givry Les Bois Chevaux Rouge 1er cru 2010
Champy Savigny Les Beaune 2014
Champy Volnay 2011
Domaine Thenard Pernand Vergelesses Ile des Vergelessess 1er cru 2011
Jessiaume Auxey Duresses Les Ecusseaux 1er cru 2013
Jessiaume Santenay Clos de Clos Genet  2013
Chateau de Santenay Santenay Gravieres 1er cru 2013
Bernard Moreau Chassagne Montrachet Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2014
Albert Bichot Pommard Clos les Ursulines 2013
Bouchard Beaune Greves Vigne l’Enfant Jesus 1er cru 2011
Roblet Monnot Volnay St Jean 1er Cru 2013
Albert Bichot Aloxe Corton Clos Des Marechaudes 1er cru 2013
Domaine Thenard Corton Clos Du Roi Grand Cru 2011
Albert Bichot Corton Clos Des Marechaudes Grand Cru  2013

This Red Burgundy Class will cost $100 total per person cash ($105.26 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, September 12 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.