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.

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 – 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

Idiosyncratic Champagne

You may know that I sometimes (ok, regularly) put on classes that indulge my passion for a particular sort of wine. This is one of those times. I am getting-my-geek-on so please join me at 7pm on Tuesday, January 23rd at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for an indulgence in unapologetically Idiosyncratic Champagne. We will taste and discuss a range of unique Champagne wines arranged in five flights (see below) as we look at how (and from what) they are made and how that formed their flavors and styles. Each of these wines offers a particular and sometimes peculiar look at place and style. This is about as Burgundian as a Champagne tasting can get. All wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered.

The lineup includes:
Blanc de Noirs – Pinot Meunier
Serveaux Fils Brut Cuvee Pinot Meunier Champagne NV
Egly Ouriet 1er Cru Brut les Vignes de Vringy Pinot Meunier Champagne NV
Godme Brut Blanc de Noir 1er Cru Les Romaines Pinot Meunier Champagne 2006

Blanc de Noirs – Pinot Noir
Godme Brut Grand Cru Champs Saint Martin Pinot Noir Champagne 2006
Egly Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru Vv Champagne NV

Rosé
Jean Vesselle Oeil de Perdrix Champagne NV
Egly Ouriet Brut Rose Champagne NV

Brut
Egly Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru Champagne NV
Jean Vesselle Le Petite Clos Champagne 2003
Egly Ouriet Grand Cru Les Champagne NV

Blanc de Blancs
Lancelot Royer Cuvee de Chevaliers Champagne NV
GH Mumm Cramant Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV
Godme Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Alouettes St. Bets Champagne 2006
Henriot Cuve 38 Brut Champagne NV

Idiosyncratic Champagne will cost $160 per person (cash or check) or $168.42 (regular). To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan Coburn 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).

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.

BEAR on BUBBLES: The Current State of Champagne

The older I get, the more Champagne I drink. Well, Champagne and other sparkling wines. Those others include other French Fizz, Cava, British Bubbles, California sparklers and even sparkling wines from Australia. It all has a place at the table but the undisputed king of sparkling wine is Champagne. To really understand all the others, you have to understand Champagne.

And Champagne has gotten more complicated than it once was. If you were a US consumer 30-40 years ago (which is when I was getting started in and learning the wine business) and you knew 12-to-15 brands (all grand marques), understood the difference between vintage and non-vintage, were aware that there was pink Champagne (which no one then much drank),  and knew the names of a few luxury  Cuvées (Dom Perignon, La Grande Dame, Comtes de Champagne, Cristal, Grand Siecle …), you were on top of your Champagne game. Much has changed.

Today’s informed Champagne buyer needs to know some things: How Champagne is made (Methode Champenoise), How dry is Extra Dry? Does Size Matter? Do Glasses Matter? Just who’s Brut is it? Other hot topics in Champagne include Grower Champagnes vs. Grand Marques, Sur Lattes (Champagne’s dirty little secret), the new wave of sweet Champagnse, Rosé Champagne, and Champagne with food.

For all of this and more in a 33 page .pdf,  please click on The Current State Of Champagne

 

The State of Rosé – Fizz, That Is!

7pm   Monday  December 11th  at
The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

In The State of Rosé – Fizz, That Is!, 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 15 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 Rose NV
Villamont Cremant de Bourgogne Rose NV
Jean Baptiste Adam Cremant d’Alsace Rose NV
Roederer Estate Rose Anderson Valley – Sparkling NV
Andre Clouet Brut Rose Grand Reserve NV
Michel Mailliard Rose Cuvee Alexia Champagne NV
Jacques Picard Berru Brut Rose NV
Jose Dhondt Saignee Rose Brut Champagne NV
Jean Vesselle Oeil De Perdrix Champagne NV
Camille Saves Rose Brut Grand Cru Champagne NV
Besserat De Bellefon Cuvee Des Moines Brut Rose NV
Billecart Salmon Brut Rose NV
Bollinger Special Cuvee Rose 6/cs NV
Rothschild Rose Champagne 6/cs NV
Egly Ouriet Brut Rose Champagne NV

The State of Rosé – Fizz, That Is! will cost $80 per person (cash or check) or $84.21 (regular). To purchase your ticket, please email reply to Bear Dalton at BearDalton@mac,com. Please include a daytime phone number in your response. Please do not respond to Susan Coburn as she is on vacation.


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 over 35 years 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.

Of Interest

LUXURY CHAMPAGNE Tasting Benefiting Sonoma Fires Relief – 
There are still a few seats left for this coming Monday’s (12/4/17) extraordinary and (at least in my experience unprecedented) look at most of the very top Luxury Cuvee Champagnes in a comparative format. For more information, please see https://bearonwine.com/2017/11/27/luxury-cuvee-champagne-benefit-tasting-for-sonoma-fires/

BORDEAUX 2017
For a good, informed, even first look at the 2017 vintage in Bordeaux from one of the best Bordeaux writers working today, please see Jane Anson’s Decanter article at
http://www.decanter.com/learn/vintage-guides/en-primeur/bordeaux-en-primeur/bordeaux-2017-how-it-is-shaping-up-380695/

MAYBE THE BEST NAPA VALLEY CHARDONNAY I’ve tasted in over two years!
I don’t often drink California Chardonnay but when I do, this 2016 from Trefethen is the kind that gets me going. Delicious, balanced, elegant. The integrated oak and subtle richness are components here but fruit and freshness are what this is all about. This is not “Cougar Juice.” Rather, it is Chardonnay that a Burgundian winemaker would recognize and drink.

TREFETHEN Estate Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley CA, 2016  ($29.99)
100% sustainably grown Chardonnay, half of which is given an indigenous yeast fermentation and half of which is innoculated. 69% is barrel fermented witht he balance fermented in tank. 8% gets malo-lactic fermentation. the assemblage is aged 9 months in all French oak barrels (19% new).      Straw color with well formed legs; dry, medium light-bodied with fresh acidity. Best Trefethen Chardonnay I have ever tasted and maybe the best Napa Chardonnay I’ve tasted in two or three years. Citrus and a bit of mixed apple fruit with mineral and freshness. Integrated and pure. California answer to 1er cru Chablis. Delicious.  BearScore: 93+.