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.

BORDEAUX REFRESH: A Look at the Lighter Side of Bordeaux Wines

Here it is the dog days of summer – so how about some cool refreshing Bordeaux? At first blush, maybe not. But if you look at this lineup featuring a rosé, 5 dry whites, 5 reds (but more elegant, prettier reds), and one very fresh-style sweet white (all from Bordeaux), you’ll see that Bordeaux can refresh. So please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at 7pm on Monday, July 29th at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for BORDEAUX REFRESH: A Look at the Lighter Side of Bordeaux Wines. In this seminar tasting, we’ll look at lighter and more refreshing wines from around Bordeaux that offer quality and value. Topics of discussion will include vintages, the styles of Bordeaux, and the grape varieties and techniques used to make the wines. Bread and cheese will be served. The ticket price will be donated to the ECHOS (Epiphany Community Health Outreach).

The following twelve Bordeaux wines will be served:
Pins des Dunes Rose Bordeaux 2018
Ch. Martinon Entre Deux Mers 2015
Ch. d’Archambeau Graves Blanc 2016
Clos des Lunes Bordeaux Blanc 2015
Les Charmes Godard Blanc Francs Cotes De Bordeaux 2016
R De Rieussec Bordeaux Blanc 2017
Ch. Camino Salva Haut Medoc 2015
Ch. Ampelia Cotes De Castillon 2016
Ch. Haut Vigneau Graves Rouge 2016
Ch. Laplagnotte Bellvue St. Emilion 2015
Ch. Pontac Lynch Margaux 2015
Lions De Suduiraut Sauternes 2015

To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com. The cost of this class is a $25 donation (cash or check only please) to payable to ECHOS.

About ECHOS:
ECHOS – Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services – was formed in 1999 in response to the health and social service needs of the rapidly increasing population of newly arrived immigrants and refugees who were re-settled in the community surrounding the Church of the Epiphany in southwest Houston. The original purpose was and continues to be to help families meet their basic needs on their path to self-sufficiency. Echos provides Benefits Application Assistance, Healthcare Mobile Clinics, Healthcare Screenings and Services, Support Groups (including working with the Houston Area Women’s Center), English as a Second Language (ESL), Computer Literacy, and Food Pantry and Food Fairs.

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).

With over 40 years experience in the wine business (including 23 years at Spec’s) 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. Over the last 23 years, he has spent well over a year in Bordeaux.

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

Vintage 2015 (Mostly) Cru Classé Bordeaux Tasting

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice

Spec’s will host over 30 Bordeaux chateau owners, directors, and/or winemakers presenting 62 mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux wines all from the suberb 2015 vintage in a standup- and-walk-around tasting format. This is our seventh 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 wineries includes …
Pomerol: Chx. Clinet, Gazin, Croix St. Georges, and La Pointe (along with 2nd vin Ballade de La Pointe)
St. Emilion: Chx. Canon la Gaffeliere, Clos l’Oratoire, Daugay, Grand Corbin Despagne, La Confession, Larcis Ducasse, and Pavie Macquin
St. Georges St. Emilion: Ch. Cap St. George
Castillon: Chx. d’Aiguilhe and Ampelia
Francs: Ch. Puygueraud
Bordeaux: Chx. Croix Mouton and le Conseiller
St. Estephe: Chx. Phelan Segur, Lafon Rochet, and les Ormes de Pez
Pauillac: Chx. Pichon Lalande (with 2nd vin Reserve de la Comtesse), Pichon Baron (with 2nd vin Les Griffons), Pibran, Lynch Bages (with 2nd vin Echo de Lynch Bages), Grand Puy Lacoste (with 2nd vin Lacoste Borie), Clerc Milon, d’Armailhac, and Haut Bages Liberal
St. Julien: Chx. Branaire Ducru, Leoville Barton and Langoa Barton, Leoville Poyferrre, and Talbot
Margaux: Chx. Giscours, Cantenac Brown, Ferriere, du Tertre and Brane Cantenac (along with 2nd vin Baron de Brane)
Haut Medoc, Moulis, Listrac: Chx. Cantemerle, Chasse Spleen, Camensac, Mauvesin Barton, and Senejac
Pessac Leognan Reds: Chx. Carmes Haut Brion, Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, Clos Marsalette, and Haut Bailly with 2nd vin La Parde de Haut Bailly
Dry Whites: Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, and Blanc de Lynch Bages (2014)
Sweet Whites: Chx. Suduiraut (along with 2nd vin Lions de Suduiraut) and Coutet

As you can see, We’ll be tasting great wines from every Major appellation in Bordeaux.
The tasting will open at 4:30pm and run until 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 Vintage 2015 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.

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