Domaine du Pegau and Chateau Pegau Wine Tasting

Please reply to Susan is NOT handling the reservations for this.

On Friday May 31 at 7pm, please join me in welcoming my friend Laurence Feraud, proprietor of and winemaker for Domaine du Pegau in Chateauneuf du Pape and Chateau Pegau in the Cotes du Rhone, to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a class and tasting of 11 of her wines. Laurence, a five-foot tall force-of-nature, is arguably the best winemaker working in the southern Rhone where she makes some of the very best Grenache-based wines in the world.

The line-up includes:
Pegau Pink Rosé 2018
Ch. Pegau Lone Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2018
Domaine du Pegau Reserve Blanc Chateauneuf du Pape 2018
Ch. Pegau Maclura Cotes du Rhone 2016
Ch. Pegau Setier Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2016
Ch. Pegau Setier Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2015
Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reserve Chateauneuf du Pape 2016
Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reserve Chateauneuf du Pape 2015
Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reserve Chateauneuf du Pape 2012
Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Laurence Chateauneuf du Pape 2013
Domaine du Pegau Cuvee du Capo Chateauneuf du Pape 2015

This Laurence Feraud – Pegau Class and Tasting costs $70.00 per person (cash or check) or $73.68 regular. The class meets at 7pm on Friday May 31 at 7pm at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, please contact BearDalton at 713-854-7855 or

L’Alliance Française is the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (77006), 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.

06/03/19 – Domaine de la Pousse d’Or 2015 Class and Tasting with Bear Dalton and David Smith at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
06/17/19 – Albert Bichot Burgundy Class and Tasting with Bichot’s assistant technical director Matthieu Mangenot at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
06/22/19 – Bear Dalton’s Pop-Up Champagne and Bordeaux Wine Dinner in the Parish Hall at the Church of the Epiphany (Corner of Gessner and Bissonet)
06/24/19 – Annual Rosé Class and Tasting at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française

SOLD OUT! – An Evening with Jane Ferrari of Yalumba

SOLD OUT! – An Evening with Jane Ferrari of Yalumba



On Friday, September 22 at 7pm, please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, in welcoming our always-entertaining-and-ever-informative friend Jane Ferrari, traveling winemaker of Yalumba, to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of Yalumba’s excellent Australian wines. The net proceeds of this event will benefit ECHOS (see below).

The ever-popular Ms. Ferrari will talk about where the wines come from and how they are made as well as the history and traditions of both Yalumba and the Barossa Valley. A native of Australia’s acclaimed Barossa Valley, Jane Ferrari is a trained winemaker – a graduate of Australia’s Roseworthy College (one of the top three winemaking schools in the world) – who gets her hands dirty both in the vineyards and the wineries in Barossa but also travels the world telling the Yalumba story. She is down-to-earth and very entertaining in a way that must be experienced. Jane first visited Houston in October of 2003 and utterly charmed a group of over 60 wine fans. She has been back almost every year since and has wowed us all each time. In addition to information about wine, you may hear about Australian and American culture (or lack thereof), Baseball, Elvis, and other tangentially related topics.

We will taste:
Jansz Brut, Tasmania, NV
Jansz Rosé, Tasmania, NV
Yalumba Y-Series Riesling, 2016
Yalumba Viognier, Eden Valley, 2015
Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache), Barossa, 2014
Yalumba The Triangle (Shiraz – Viognier), Barossa, 2013
Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz, Barossa, 2014
Yalumba The Strapper (Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre), Barossa, 2014
Yalumba The Scribbler (Cabernet-Shiraz), Barossa, 2013
Yalumba The Signature, Barossa, 2013
Yalumba The Cigar Menzies, 2012
Yalumba Museum Antique Tawny NV

An Evening With Jane Ferrari will cost $30.00 (Cash or Check made out to the ECHOS only please). The class will meet at 7pm on Friday September 22, 2017. To reserve your spot for this event, please contact Susan Coburn at 713-854-7855 or

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).

Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS) is a non-profit organization connecting people in need with the health, social and educational resources that can improve their lives. ECHOS’ mission is to connect people in need with health, social and educational resources that can improve their lives.
ECHOS  provides on-site help to families who are unable to access affordable health care and who do not have medical insurance coverage in completing and submitting applications for healthcare and social services.
ECHOS offers on-site health care services and screenings promoting healthier and more productive lives including Children’s Immunizations, Blood Pressure and Glucose Screenings, Vision Screenings, Well and sick child check ups, and Dental care
ECHOS also assistclients in meeting basic needs and self-sufficiency.  Assistance is free and includes: Food from the Food Pantry, Food Fairs and Mini Health Fairs, English-as-a-second-language, Computer literacy, and Domestic violence support groups on campus.
ECHOS is a non-profit 501(C)3 corporation.


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.



Varietal Focus: GRENACHE

On Monday, September 14th at 7pm, please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a VARIETAL FOCUS on GRENACHE. We will trace and taste Grenache from its homeland in northeastern Spain through the south of France and on to the new world. Discussion will include the history of Grenache, what makes it special, and how it is made and its blending partners (mainly Syrah and Mourvedre) as well as Grenache with food. Fourteen Grenache-based wines will be tasted, the final four of which are icon wines. Bread and a selection of fine cheeses will be served.

The line up:
Honoro Vera Garnacha (Spain), 2013
Domaine de Cabasse Deux Anges Cotes du Rhone Villages – Sablet, 2014
Pagos Del Moncayo Garnacha / Syrah (Spain), 2012
Casa Gran del Siurana “Gr-174” Priorat (Spain), 2013
d’Arenberg Custodian Grenache, McLaren Vale, 2012
Yalumba GSM “the Strapper”, Barossa Valley, 2012
Mourchon “Tradition” Cotes Du Rhone Villages – Seguret, 2012
Montmirail “Cuvee deux Freres” Vacqueyras, 2012
Domaine de Cabasse Gigondas,  2012
Bois Boursan Chateauneuf du Pape, 2012
D’Arenberg Ironstone Pressings, 2009
Mourchon “Family Reserve Grenache” Seguret, 2011
Chateau St. Cosme Le Claux Gigondas, 2012
Domaine Pegau Reserve Chateauneuf Du Pape, 2012

This Varietal Focus on Grenache will cost $60.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $63.16 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday September 14, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or

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).