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.

SIERRA CANTABRIA Wine Class and Tasting

Featuring Ambassador / Educator Alejandra Naranjo

On Monday, August 5th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming VIÑEDOS Y BODEGAS SIERRA CANTABRIA Ambassador / Educator AlejandraNaranjo (bio below) to The Wine School at L’Alliance Française for a discussion and tasting of their wines: Protocolo (Castilla y Leon), Sierra Cantabria and San Vicente (Rioja), and Teso La Monja (Toro).

The line-up includes:
Protocolo Blanco, Castilla Y Leon, 2018
Protocolo Rosado, Castilla Y Leon, 2018
Protocolo Tinto, Castilla Y Leon, 2017
Sierra Cantabria Rosado, Rioja, 2018
Sierra Cantabria Seleccion Tinto, Rioja, 2017
Sierra Cantabria Crianza, Rioja, 2015
Sierra Cantabria Rioja Reserva, Unica, 2014
San Vicente, Rioja, 2015
El Puntido Gran Reserva, 2006
Teso La Monja Romanico Toro, 2016
Teso La Monja Almirez Toro, 2016
Teso La Monja Victorino Toro, 2016

This Sierra Cantabria Tasting will cost $40.00per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class meets on Monday August 5th 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. This is often case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

About  Alejandra Naranjo:
After a 13 year career (that includes education and certifications from WSET, Académie de Bordeaux, the International School of Sommellerie, and the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona) in the wine business and wine education spanning four countries and three continents, Alejandro Naranjo went to Vinedos Y Bodegas Sierra Cantabria in Rioja as an ambassador / educator in 2017 with a portfolio including all of their brands from their three regions of production. I met Alejandra in May of 2019 and was impressed with her knowledge and passion and her ability to communicate those same qualities in talking about the wines she represents.

Adelsheim Tasting

On Monday July 8th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Willamette Valley pioneer David Adelsheim (please “about David Adelsheim” below) to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of ten of his wines. David will present his wines as he delves into the history of both Adelsheim and the Willamette Valley. He has seen and done it all in the Willamette Valley and is here to tell the tale.

The Wines:
Adelsheim Pinot Noir Rose 2018
Adelsheim Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2016
Adelsheim Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2017
Adelsheim Stacking Claim Chardonnay 2015
Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Chardonnay 2016
Adelsheim Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017
Adelsheim Breaking Ground Pinot Noir 2015
Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2014
Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Vineyard  Pinot Noir 2016
Adelsheim Boulder Bluff Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

This Adelsheim Tasting will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday July 8th 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.

About David Adelsheim:
David Adelsheim is the director of Adelsheim Vineyard, which he founded with Ginny Adelsheim in 1971. In the course of his company’s 48-year history, he has been the vineyard manager, winemaker, and the person in charge of sales, marketing, accounting, and fixing broken plumbing. His early winemaking experience included work at the experimental winery of the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, France, and at The Eyrie Vineyards in Oregon.
“In the beginning, in the 1970s, we needed to focus on learning to make consistently decent wine. As the Willamette Valley was able to draw on more training and expertise in the 80s and 90s, producing world-class Pinots became the goal. Now, our conversations are all about the distinctions of place – what should a great Pinot from this particular vineyard taste like?”

Revealing Rosé – 18 for ’18

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton on Monday, June 24th at 7pm for Revealing Rosé. We’ll beat the heat as we dig into dry Rosé with look at eighteen (I know, I have a hard time editing myself) refreshing 2018 vintage Rosé wines from all over France from Bordeaux to the Languedoc to Provence to the Rhone representing the range of styles from “Beach” to “Food Friendly.” We’ll talk about the grapes, the places they’re grown, how they’re made, and the foods we eat with them. Due to factors including currency rates and production, French Rosé represents an even better value this year. Bread and a selection of fine cheeses will accompany the tasting.

The List:
Ch La Sable Rose, Luberon, 2018
Pierre Rougon Rose, Cote Du Rhone, 2018
Chemin De Provence Rose, Provence, 2018
Cuvee Des 3 Messes Basses Rose, Ventoux, 2018
Pierre Rougon Rose, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2018
Pins Des Dunes Rose, Bordeaux, 2018
Versant Rose, Pays d’Oc, 2018
Brumont Rose, Gascogne, 2018
Mourgues Du Gres Rose Les Galets, Costieres de Nimes, 2018
Domaine de Cabasse Rose de Marie, Cotes du Rhone, 2018
The Palm Rose By Whispering Angel, Provence, 2018
Pink Pegau Rose, Vin de France, 2018
Fleurs de Prairie Rose, Provence, 2018
Ch d’Esclans Whispering Angel, Provence Rose,   2018
Canto Perdrix, Tavel Rose, 2018
Domaine De Mourchon Loubie, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rose, 2018
Hecht & Bannier Rose, Cotes De Provence, 2018
Montmirail Rossignol Rose, Gigondas, 2018

Revealing Roséwill cost $50.00 per person cash ($52.63 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, June 24th at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket(s), please contact Susan at 713-854-7855or 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 over 40 years experience in the wine business and 30-plus years experience teaching and writing 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.

Donald Patz Wine Tasting

On Thursday May 23rd at 7pm, please join me in welcoming my friend Donald Patz (formerly a partner in Patz and Hall and now proprietor of the Donald Patz Wine Group which includes Maritana, Secret Door, and Terminum – please see About Donald Patz below for more information) to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of nine of Donald’s wines. Donald will present his wines as he explains the selections made and vineyard relationships he has built in order to produce them. He will also get into the origins and philosophies behind each of the three brands.

The line-up includes:
Maritana La Riviere Chardonnay 2017
Maritana Dutton Ranch Shop Block 1967 2017
Maritana Dutton Ranch Hansen Hill Vineyards 2017
Maritana La Russe Pinot Noir = 2 btls supported by DPWG 2017
Maritana Jenkins Ranch Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2018
Secret Door 1x 2014
Secret Door 1Z 2014
Terminum  Cepages d’Or  2017
Terminum  Syrah 2017

This Donald Patz Tasting will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Thursday May 23rd 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., 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 Donald Patz:
Donald Patz began his wine career in 1982 as a wine salesman for a small wine distributor in Oregon. Moving to California in 1983 he set out on a course that led him to become an important member of the wine community and supporter of California wines. In a period of 36 years in the wine business he’s been a marketer, a salesman, a story-teller, and a winemaker, multiple times.

His first job working in Napa Valley was in 1985 at Flora Springs Winery as the director of sales and marketing where he met his future business partner, James Hall. He and James started Patz & Hall in 1988 and while it was still in its infancy Donald worked for Flora Springs and then Girard Winery. In 1995 Patz & Hall became Donald’s permanent full-time gig.

From 1995 until 2016 Donald Patz was involved exclusively with every aspect of the Patz & Hall winery. The Patz & Hall experience concluded with the sale of the company to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2016. Donald remained under contract for another year to support the new ownership and transition the winery.

Donald Patz Wine Group was born May 1, 2017 with the idea of applying everything he had learned from the previous 36 years in the wine business and create something new, exciting and very personal. Each one of the visions Donald has was given a different name and a different mission. SECRET DOOR for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; MARITANA VINEYARDS for Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; and the smallest project is a collaboration with François Villard from the northern Rhone Valley of France called TERMINIM doing Marsanne/Roussanne and Syrah from Mendocino County.

As a current member of the Sonoma Vintners as well as the Russian River Valley Winegrowers in Sonoma County, Donald continues to support the wine community. Previously, he has been a board member for the California Wine Institute and Family Winemakers of California. He lives in the City of Napa and spends a great deal of time in both Sonoma and Napa looking at vineyards. His Korean wife – Jung Min Lee – is the inspiration for the SECRET DOOR WINERY – preferring Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. He and Jung Min visit the Hawaiian Islands frequently and have many friends scattered all over the world.

A Wine Trip to Oporto and Spain

A Bear Dalton-led Wine Trip to Oporto and Spain from May 1 through May 12, 2019

Your job is to be in Oporto in Portugal and checked into our hotel (to be announced) before 7pm on Wednesday May 1, 2019.
My job is to take it from there.

On Thursday (May 2) and Friday (May 3) we’ll visit the Port houses of Taylor-Fonseca-Croft, Symington (Graham, Dow, Cockburn, Smith-Woodhouse, Warres), Royal Oporto, and Messias as-well-as eat and drink very well.

On Saturday we’ll leave Portugal and head north into Spain where we’ll stop in Rias Baixas (for Albarino). Saturday night and Sunday, we’ll be in Salamanca (for a culinary experience including their house-made wine, cheeses, and ham), Monday in the Duero (Vega Sicilia, Abadia Retuerta, Pesquera), Tuesday and Wednesday in Rioja (Bodegas Muga, Sierra Cantabria, Lopez de Heredia, Vallobera, Ganuza, etc.) Thursday and Friday in Penedes (Cava, Priorat, and Emporada, two Michelin-starred dinners at Castello Perelada and Mas de Marroch which is the events space of Cellar de Can Roca), Saturday in Barcelona (with a private tour of Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia along with a classic Barcelona paella dinner and a final hotel night in Barcelona). At checkout time on Sunday morning May 12, my part of the trip is over and you are free to fly back to the US or extend your stay in Spain or elsewhere in Europe.

Each morning, we will leave the hotel by 8-to-8:30am (there will be a couple earlier days due to longer bus rides) and will return after dinner by about 11pm (unless we are dining at the hotel). Each day includes breakfast at the hotel and all lunches and dinners, often at the wineries. This is a wine intensive trip (with quality over quantity) with unusual access to great properties and their wines. From dinner on Wednesday May 1st through checkout on Sunday May 12th, all lodging, meals, wines, and logistics are included.

The trip is priced at $6300 per person (double occupancy, airfare to Oporto / from Barcelona is not included). The single supplement is $1100. A $1500 non-refundable deposit is due when you make your reservation. Final payment of the balance is due by March 1st. Payment may be made by check or credit card. If you want to join us, please respond quickly to BearDalton@mac.com.

The STATE of ZIN at 7pm on November 5 at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

Please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, on Monday, November 5th, at 7pm for The State of Zin. We’ll dig into Zinfandel and look at 15 Zin-based wines, mostly from Sonoma County – the spiritual home of Zinfandel – that represent some of the best of what is in the market (2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017). We’ll talk about Zin and Zin-blends, the terroirs and techniques used to make it, and the food we eat with it. The class will include bread and a selection of fine cheeses to accompany the tasting. We will be tasting Riedel Degustazione glasses.

The List:
SHANNON RIDGE High Valley Zinfandel, Lake County, 2017
TWISTED PASO Zinfandel. Paso Robles, 2016
DRY CREEK VINEYARDS Heritage Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma County, 2016
TRIG POINT Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2016
SEGHESIO Zinfandel, Sonoma County, 2016
QUIVIRA Zinfandel Dry Creek 2015
FROG’s LEAP Zinfandel, Napa Valley, 2016
DRY CREEK VINEYARDS Old Vines Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2015
SEGHESIO Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma, 2014
VENGE Scout’s Honor, Napa Valley, 2016
RIDGE Vineyards East Bench Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2016
RIDGE Vineyards Ponzo Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, 2016
RIDGE Vineyards Pagani Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley, 2016
RIDGE Vineyards Geyserville Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2016
RIDGE Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2016

The State of Zinwill cost $60.00per person cash ($63.16 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, November 5th at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan 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 over 40 years in the wine business and almost 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.