Exploring Red Port

Please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, at 7pm on Monday, December 9th at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Exploring Red Port. Port wines are numbered among the classic wines of the world and as such are quite collectable. The most desired are the red declared Vintage Port. In this class, we will be focusing only on those Vintage Ports and the other styles (LBV, Crusted Port, Reserve Port) that seek to emulate true Vintage Port. We will not be tasting anything with extended cask aging so no Tawnies or Colheitas. Topics of discussion will include types of red Port, the origins of Port wine and how it evolved, Serving and Drinking Port, Port Vintages, and Decanting Port (including a decanting demonstration). Sixteen Port wines will be tasted and bread and cheese will be served.  We’ll taste 16 wines of which eleven are Vintage Ports with a focus on the classic 2017 vintage but going back to 1985.

We will taste:
Graham’s Six Grapes
Graham’s River Quinta
Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Porto  2012
Smith Woodhouse Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2004
Dow’s Crusted Port NV
Dow’s Senhora Da Ribeira Vintage Port 2009
Fonseca 2017
Taylor Fladgate 2017
Quinta de Vesuvio 17 Vintage
Cockburn  2017 Vintage
Graham’s 2017 Vintage
Graham’s Stone Terraces Vintage Porto 2017
Dow’s Vintage 2017
Dow’s Vintage 2016
Dow’s Vintage 1994
Dow’s Vintage 1985

Exploring Red Port will cost $100.00 per person cash ($105.26 regular). To purchase your ticket, please contact Bear Dalton at 713-854-5129 or BearDalton@mac.com. (Susan is out recovering from shoulder surgery. Please keep her in your prayers.)

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.

With over 40-years experience in the fine 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.

Classic Cabernet Class and Tasting

Do you love great Cabernet Sauvignon? Do you thrill at the thought of elegant, balanced wines that taste of variety and place? If so, please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, at 7pm on Monday, December 2nd at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a taste of Classic Cabernet. We’ll taste and discuss fourteen Cabernet-dominant wines mostly from Napa Valley made using responsibly-farmed grapes using winemaking that respects the grapes and the places they are grown. We will discuss the farming and winemaking practices that make these wines taste as they do. At each price point, these wines represent the very best of the most balanced Cabernet being made in the US today. The wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered during each class.

The lineup includes:
Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley VT
Robert Mondavi Napa 2016
Snowden Cabernet The Ranch 2016
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 6/cs 2015
Ridge Santa Cruz 2016
Robert Mondavi Oakville 2016
DuMOL Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 2017
Nickel & Nickel De Carle Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Robert Mondavi To Kalon Private Reserve 2015
Quintessa 2016
Ridge Monte Bello 2016
Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa 2015
Opus One 2016
Eisele Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This Classic Cabernet Class and Tasting will cost $120 per person (cash or check) or $126.32 (regular). To purchase your ticket, please contact Bear Dalton at 713-854-5129 or BearDalton@mac.com. (Susan is out recovering from shoulder surgery. Please keep her in your prayers.)

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.

With over 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.

Domaine JESSIAUME Class and Tasting With Importer Bertand Leulliette and Bear Dalton

On Monday, September 30 at 7pm, please join me in welcoming my friend Burgundy import specialist Bertand Leulliette to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of the wines of Domaine Jessiame. Domaine Jessiame is a small over-achieving domaine based in Santenay that is on the track to making some of the best wines of the area using farming moving toward certified organic and a thoughtful approach to wine making. So far, the results have been astounding with the already fine wines getting better vintage by vintage. (For more on the Domaine and on Bertand, please see below.)

The line-up includes:
Jessiame Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2016
Jessiame Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2017
Jessiame Santenay Blanc 1er Cru Gravières, 2016
Jessiame Santenay Blanc 1er Cru Gravières, 2017
Jessiame Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2016
Jessiame Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2017
Jessiame Santenay Clos de Clos Genet – Monopole, 2016
Jessiame Santenay Clos de Clos Genet – Monopole, 2017
Jessiame Santenay 1er Cru Gravières, 2016
Jessiame Santenay 1er Cru Gravières, 2017
Jessiame Beaune 1er Cru Cent Vignes, 2016
Jessiame Beaune 1er Cru Cent Vignes, 2017
Jessiame Volnay 1er Cru Brouillards, 2016
Jessiame Volnay 1er Cru Brouillards, 2017

This Domaine Jessiaume Tasting will cost $50.00 per person (cash or check) or $52.63 regular. The class meets on Monday September 30th at 7pm 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. (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.

About Domaine JESSIAUME:
The Domaine was created in 1850 by the Jessiaume family. In 2006, after being run by many generations, the domaine was purchased by a Scottish businessman, Sir David Murray. A transition started between the two families. The Jessiaume family stayed until 2013 to manage the vines and the Domaine. The year 2014 marked a big turn for Domaine Jessiaume. A new team has arrived and the Domaine changed its direction. Megan McClune, the then new director (Estate Manager) of Domaine Jessiaume became the motive force behind the renewed domaine with responsibility for the general, commercial and financial management of the domaine as well as being a participant in various crucial stages of the wine making and elevage.
The wines are hand crafted with minimal intervention. In order to do that, new investments in equipment and renovating the winery took place immediately. Harvest and sorting are done by hand. Small elevators are used to fill the tanks. Vinifications are done with natural yeasts and the extractions are gentle and controlled. The goal is to obtain elegant and fine wines which respect the terroir.
In 2016, the domaine started the 3-year process of converting to organic viticulture. The 2019 vintage will yield the first organic wines at Domaine Jessiaume.  To be organic, what does it mean? First, we don’t use chemicals and pesticides in the vines. The wines are made with minimal intervention and less sulfites than in conventional wine. These changes are the philosophy of the team and the new Domaine Jessiaume.

About Bertrand Leulliette:
Bertrand was born in a small town near Dunkirk with a passion basketball. He played for the reserve team of the local pro team and had dreams of playing college in the United States. When that did not come about, he focused on his studies in International Trade and Logistics that brought him to the United States where his first job as an intern was in a wine department. After a week as an intern, the Beverage Manager that was supposed to oversea him quit and a gutsy offer was made to the then intern “do you think you’d have what it takes to be the manager”. The answer was swift… “Yes.” This is how at 23, discovered the world of wine
The connection with Burgundy and Beaujolais happened a year later when he started as a Regional Sales Manager for an Importer that represented Mommessin and the Clos de Tart.
In 2009, Bertrand left the United States to take an Export Director position in Beaune. In 2011 the company he worked for was bought out by a large group and they sent him and his family back to the USA the following year. The idea of working with Estate Burgundies was still very much there, growing stronger and stronger, and in early 2014 he parted ways with his employer and travelled back to Burgundy to offer his friends the possibility to represent their wines. In January 2015, Bertrand’s Wines was born with a handful of producers… that same year several well-known US based Burgundy Importers saw major changes and a few producers from Robert Kacher entrusted Bertrand with their wines, in 2016 it was producers from Esprit du Vin and in 2017 it was producers from Chateaux and Estates that joined the stable.
The portfolio focuses exclusively on family-owned Burgundy, Beaujolais and a bit of Minervois from the joint Estate of Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot, Bertrand’s Wines is also the exclusive importer of Varichon & Clerc a small Methode Traditionnelle wine from Savoie. “We have decided to incorporate the shields of Bourgogne and Beaujolais to reflect our commitment to stay within these areas only. I believe that being a specialist is better and from a geographical standpoint, it makes it easy to be with our producers and to take our partners from the different tiers of the business to the house that we purchased in Beaune in 2017. You have to see Burgundy and Beaujolais to truly understand what is so special about them.”
“We’ll have the ability to accommodate customers either with our producers or very close to them so that customers can experience what we experience as importer and guardians of these jewels for the United States” is proud to announce Bertrand. “The Vignerons come first, without them we would not have a job… it is our duty to share their wines and to hopefully make many lifelong friends along the way.”

UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
09/26 – Thursday …  ECHOS Chef’s Dinner at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice  (http://echos-houston.org/events/chefs-dinner/)
09/30 – Monday … Domaine Jessiaume Burgundy Tasting (importer Bertrand Leulliette and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/03 – Thursday … Women Of Wine Grand Tasting at the Czech Museum   (http://www.wowcharities.org/events-happy-hours/2019-grand-tasting-october-3/)
10/07 – Monday … Mostly White Burgundy Tasting (Fontaine Gagnard, Pernod Bellicard, etc. – David Smith and me) –  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/14 – Monday … Ch. Maris class and tasting (all organic and biodynamic wines – pure, fresh, and exciting) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/17 – Thursday … Royal Oporto Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
10/21 – Monday … Bordeaux Value (sponsored by Sopexa) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
12/02 – Monday … Symington (Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s, Quinta do Vesuvio) Vintage Port Tasting at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française

In addition, we’ll be scheduling some sparkling wine and Champagne classes and another general Port class as well as at least one dinner.

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.

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).