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+.

Luxury Cuvee Champagne Benefit Tasting for Sonoma Fires

So I was thinking of how to raise some money to send out to California to help with the aftermath of the Napa and Sonoma Fires. And then Carl Zorn of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) walks into my office and says he wants to make available Dom Perignon and La Grande Dame and Krug Grand Cuvee for promotion. A plan begins to come together. Why not do a big (and pretty much unprecedented) Luxury Cuvee Champagne tasting as a benefit to help our friends in California who have been so effected by the September fires?

So, with special thanks to all the Champagne houses who are providing their top wines, on December 4th at 7pm, please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for our Luxury Cuvee Champagne Benefit. We’ll taste through 15 of the most famous (and expensive) Champagnes in the market from the top Grand Marque producers.  Champagne-appropriate nibbles will be served. The wines will be tasted from Reidel Degustazion stemware. This will be a sit down tasting where you will have a separate glass for each wine so you can compare them all. All net proceeds will go to fire relief in and around Santa Rosa (the most heavily fire-damaged are) in Sonoma County.

The line up includes:
Dom Perignon Brut
Dom Perignon Rose
Dom Perignon P2 Late release
Krug Grand Cuvee
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rose
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
Salon Blanc de Blancs
Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill
Roederer Cristal
Duvall Leroy Le Femme
Taittinger Comtes des Champagne Blanc de Blancs
Taittinger Comtes des Champagne Rose
Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque (Flower Bottle)
Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Rose

The Luxury Cuvee Champagne Benefit will cost $250 per person (cash or check) or $263.16 (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.

With 40 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.

More Classes Coming Soon:
12.04.17          Monday          Tete de Cuvee Tasting benefitting Sonoma fires relief
12.11.17          Monday          2015 Domiane Dujac Tasting
12.18.17          Monday          Wine School Christmas Party and Toy Gather
01.08.18          Monday          TBD
01.16.18          Tuesday          Big 2015 Bordeaux Tasting at Crystal Ballroom (Houston)
01.17.18          Wednesday     Big 2015 Bordeaux Tasting at Trinity Groves (Dallas)

Heitz Cellar Seminar and Tasting

Please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, at 7pm on Monday, November 27th at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française in welcoming Heitz Cellar’s Daniel Vu for a Heitz Cellar Seminar and Tasting. In this single winery tasting, we will taste through and discuss the range of wines from the legendary Heitz Cellar of Napa Vallley as we look at how they are made, their styles, and from where and what grapes they are made. We will taste the full range of their classic wines available in Texas including 5 vintages of the iconic Heitz Martha’s Vineyard. All wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered.


The lineup includes:
Heitz Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2016
Heitz Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2016
Heitz Ink Grade Zinfandel, Napa Valley, 2013
Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2012
Heitz Trailside Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2010
Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012
Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010
Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006
Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005
Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004

The Heitz Cellar Seminar and Tasting will cost $80 per person (cash or check) or $84.21 (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 purchase 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 Dalton is one of the top wine authorities as well as the most experienced wine educator in Texas.

More Classes Coming Soon:
12.04.17          Monday          Tete de Cuvee Champagne Tasting benefitting Sonoma fires relief
12.11.17          Monday          Sparkling Rosé (Mostly Champagne)
12.18.17          Monday          Wine School Christmas Party and Toy Gather
01.08.18          Monday          TBD
01.16.18          Tuesday          Big 2015 Bordeaux Tasting at Crystal Ballroom (Houston)
01.17.18          Wednesday     Big 2015 Bordeaux Tasting at Trinity Groves (Dallas)

Estate-Bottled Champagne (Well, Mostly)

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at 7pm on Monday, November 20th at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Estate-Bottled Champagne. In Estate-Bottled Champagne, we will taste and discuss the range of interesting and sometimes idiosyncratic estate-bottled sparkling wines from Champagne. We will look at how they are made, their styles, and where and from what grapes they are made with a focus on each wine’s specificity. The tasting will start with a non-estate grand marque brut NV to serve as a baseline and will include one other negoçiant Champagne (the excellent Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs). Everything else is estate bottled. 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 NV
JP Marniquet Brut Tradition NV
Bonnaire Brut Tradition NV
Jacques Picard Berru Brut NV
Chateau de Bligny Grand Reserve Brut NV
Camille Saves Carte Blanche Brut 1er Cru NV
Marcel Moineaux Chouilly Brut Blanc De Blanc Grand Cru NV
Bonnaire Variance Brut NV
Marcel Moineaux Chouilly Millesime Blanc De Blancs Brut Grand Cru 2008
Lancelot Royer Cuvee Chevaliers Champagne NV
Barons Rothschild Blanc de Blancs NV
Andre Clouet “Cuvee 1911” Brut NV
Godme Brut 1er Cru Les Romaines 2006
JP Marniquet Champagne 1995

Estate-Bottled Champagne will cost $80 per person (cash or check) or $84.21 (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.

With 40 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.

More Classes Coming Soon:
11.27.17          Monday          Heitz Cellars tasting including 5 vintages of Martha’s Vineyard
12.04.17          Monday          Tete de Cuvee Tasting benefitting Sonoma fires relief
12.11.17          Monday          Sparkling Rosé (Mostly Champagne)
12.18.17          Monday          Wine School Christmas Party and Toy Gather
01.08.18          Monday          TBD
01.16.18          Tuesday          Big 2015 Bordeaux Tasting at Crystal Ballroom (Houston)
01.17.18          Wednesday     Big 2015 Bordeaux Tasting at Trinity Groves (Dallas)

Bordeaux Reboot

7pm on Tuesday, November 14th at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

A few weeks ago, I attended a very frou-frou Bordeaux lunch with some people who are reputed to be big collectors of Bordeaux. One of them engaged me in conversation telling me that, while he still drank the Bordeaux wines in his cellar, he no longer bought Bordeaux because “the good wines were just too expensive.” He continued by saying he was buying “only new world wines now.” I think I actually sputtered when he said that. I would contend that there is more value in Bordeaux now than ever before. If you doubt that (heck, even if you don’t doubt), then please join me for Bordeaux Reboot (7pm Tuesday November 14 at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française) and give me the chance to prove my case and reboot your thinking on Bordeaux. We are in a golden age of delicious Bordeaux wines from all areas and at all price points. In this seminar tasting, we’ll look at 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. All wines will be tasted from Riedel Degustazione (tasting) glasses. The full ticket price will be donated to the Houston Area Women’s Center.

The following twelve Bordeaux wines will be served:
Les Charmes Godard Blanc Cotes De Franc 2015
Ch Le Conseiller Bordeaux 2014
Ch D’aiguilhe Cotes De Castillon 2014
Ch Laplagnotte Bellevue St Emilion 2014
Ch La Pointe Pomerol 2014
Ch Carbonnieux Rouge Pessac Leognan 2014
Ch Tour Salvet Haut Medoc 2014
Ch Pontac Phenix Haut Medoc 2012
Ch Pontoise Cabarrus Haut Medoc 2012
Ch Haut Bages Liberal Pauillac 2014
Ch Pontac Lynch Margaux 2014
Petit Vedrines Sauternes 2012

To buy your ticket, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com. The cost of this class is a $30 donation (cash or check only please) to the Houston Area Women’s Center.

About The Houston Area Women’s Center:
For over 35 years, the Houston Area Women’s Center has worked relentlessly to help survivors affected by domestic and sexual violence build lives free from the effects of violence. Given our humble beginnings – we started with nine active volunteers answering donated phones – we are proud at how we have grown. Today, we have 115 paid staff, a counseling and administrative building, a residential shelter for 120 women and children, a state-of-the-art hotline call center and over 1,000 active volunteers.

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 almost 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.

Sparkling Wine (with an English Twist)

In years past, when I thought of England and sparkling wine, I thought of Pol Roger and Bollinger and Lanson as brands that had a particular presence (along with lots of private labels) in the English market. Now when I think of England and sparkling wine, I think of British bubbles from variety of producers who are making very Champagne-like wines from grapes grown in Southern England. British bubbles are now “a thing.” So please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at 7pm on Monday, November 6th at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Sparkling Wine. We’ll taste and discuss the range of Champagne-process sparkling wines from around the world with a particular emphasis on fine fizz from England as we look at how they are made, their styles, where and from what grapes they are made, serving, glassware, and bubbly wine with food. 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:
Perelada Cava Brut, Spain, NV
Mercat Rosé Cava Brut, Spain, NV
Roederer Estate Brut, Mendocino, 2014
Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvee English Sparkling NV
Hattingley Valley Rose English Sparkling NV
Chapel Down Brut English Sparkling Wine NV
Chapel Down Brut Rosé English Sparkling Wine NV
Chapel Down Three Graces Brut English Sparkling Wine, 2011
Ridgeview Bloomsbury English Sparkling Wine 2014
Ridgeview Blanc de Noirs English Sparkling Wine 2013
Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rose English Sparkling Wine 2014
Piper Heidscieck Brut Champagne NV
JP Marniquet Brut Vintage Champagne 2005
Jose Dhondt Saignee Rosé Champagne Brut NV

Sparkling Wine will cost $70 per person (cash or check) or $73.68 (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.

With over 40 years in the wine business and well over 30 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.