The State of Zin

Please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, on Monday, October 16th, at 7pm for The State of Zin. We’ll dig into Zinfandel as we look-at-and-taste fifteen Zin-based wines (mostly from Sonoma County – the spiritual home of Zinfandel) that represent some of the best of what is in the market (mostly 2014s and 2015s). We’ll talk about Zin and blends (including the increasingly important “Rhone-fandels”), 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.

The List:
PARIS Valley Road Zinfandel, Central Coast, 2014
HEITZ Ink Grade Zinfandel, Napa Valley, 2013
DRY CREEK VINEYARDS Heritage Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma County, 2015
SEGHESIO Zinfandel, Sonoma County, 2015
SEXTANT Wheelhouse Zinfandel, Paso Robles, 2014
BIRICHINO St. Georges Vineyard Zinfandel, Central Coast, 2014
ACRE Zinfandel, Oakville, 2014
DRY CREEK VINEYARDS Old Vines Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2015
RIDGE Vineyards East Bench Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2015
RIDGE Vineyards Pagani Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley, 2015
RIDGE Vineyards Ponzo Zinfandel, Russian River Valley2015
RIDGE Vineyards Geyserville Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2015
RIDGE Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel, Alexander Valley, 2015

The State of Zin will cost $70.00 per person cash ($73.68 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, October 16, 2017 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan 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 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.

MAKING A LIST . . .

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.

READ MORE

PRINT THE LIST

The State of Zin: America’s Wine

7pm   Monday December 5th at
The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

ridgelyttonPlease join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for The State of Zin. We’ll dig into Zinfandel and look at 14 Zin-based wines, mostly from Sonoma County – the spiritual home of Zinfandel – that represent the best of what is in the market (2013s and 2014s). We’ll talk about Zin and 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.

The List:
Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma 2014
Dry Creek Old Vines Zinfandel 2014
Hartford Zinfandel Russian River 2012
Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel 2013
Ravenswood Belloni Zinfandel 2013
Ravenswood Big River Zinfandel 2013
Ravenswood Dickerson Zinfandel 2013
Rock Wall Reserve Zinfandel Monte Rosso 2013
Ridge Vineyards pagani Zinfandel 2014
Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Zinfandel 2014
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel 2014
Turley Zinfandel Fredericks Vineyard 2014
Seghesio Home Ranch 2013
Martinelli Guiseppe & Luisa Zinfandel 2013

The State of Zin will cost $70.00 per person cash ($73.68 regular). The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, December 5th 2016 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan 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 35 years in the wine business and 30 plus years experience teaching about wine, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton is one of Texas’ top wine authorities as well as the state’s most experienced wine educator.

More Classes Coming Soon:
12/12/16 Port
01/09/17 Pulling the Cork: What you need to know to more fully enjoy wine.
01/18/17 2014 Bordeaux at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice (Houston)
01/19/17 2014 Bordeaux at the Trinity Groves (Dallas)

The STATE of ZIN at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton on Monday, August 10th, at 7pm for The State of Zin. We’ll dig into Zinfandel and look at a lucky 13 Zin-based wines from Sonoma County – the spiritual home of Zinfandel – that represent the best of what is in the market (mostly 2012s with a few 2013s). We’ll talk about Zin and 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.

The List:
Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma 2013
Dry Creek Zinfandel Heritage Clone 2012
Shannon Ridge High Valley Zinfandel 2012
Rancho Zabaco Dry Creek Zinfandel 2012
Ridge Vineyards Three Valleys Zinfandel 2012
Dry Creek Old Vines Zinfandel 2012
Ridge Vineyards East Bench Zinfandel 2013
Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel 2012
Ridge Vineyards Geyserville 2013
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel 2012
Ridge Vineyards Pagani Ranch Zinfandel 2012
Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel 2012

The State of Zin will cost $60.00 per person cash ($63.16 regular). .
The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, August 10, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, 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).

Three Upcoming Wine Events

RidgeLytton1210/28/14 – PARSING ZINFANDEL – Last Call!
On Tuesday, October 28th, at 7pm, please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Parsing Zinfandel. It’s been a few years since we’ve dug into Zin and with the arrival of the 2012s in Texas, I think we’re due. We’ll look at 14 wines from all over Sonoma County (the spiritual home of Zinfandel) and a couple from Napa as well, all from the 2012 vintage. We’ll talk about Zin and blends, the terrors and techniques used to make it, and the food we ravenswood-teldeschi-vineyard-dry-creek-zinfandel__69702.1410645635.1280.1280eat with it. The class will include bread and a selection of fine cheeses to accompany the tasting. We will taste Dry Creek Vineyards Heritage Clone, Trig Point Railyard, Seghesio Sonoma, Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel 2012, Bedrock Old Vine, Ridge East Bench, Hartford Court Russian River Valley, Ridge Geyserville, Ridge Lytton Springs, Ravenswood Old Hill, Ravenswood Dickerson, Ravenswood Teldeschi, Biale Black Chicken, and Bedrock Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2012. Parsing Zinfandel will cost $60.00 per person (cash or check) or $63.16 regular, and will meet at 7pm on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at l’Alliance Française at 427 Lovett Blvd.*

CalonSegur11/04/14 – MORE FUN WITH BORDEAUX
Sixteen Wines – Four Chateaux – Four Verticals

On Tuesday, November 4 at 7pm, please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a unique Bordeaux tasting featuring four verticals from four great Haut Medoc chateaux: Ch. d’Armailhac in Pauillac, Ch. Branaire Ducru in St. Julien, Ch. Calon Segur in St. Estephe, and Ch. Cantenac Brown in Margaux We will taste the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages from each of these properties. BranaireDucruThis is the second in a series of vertical tastings where we look at four vintages of four top wines. It will be fun and informative. The cost of this unique tasting will be $100.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $105.26 regular, and will meet at 7pm on Tuesday November 4, 2014 at l’Alliance Française at 427 Lovett Blvd.*

11/05/14 – Port Wine with Rupert Symington
Graham – Dow – Cockburn – Smith Woodhouse

grahams2000On Wednesday, November 5th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming the entertaining and informative Rupert Symington at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of Port Wines from his family’s companies including Graham, Dow, Cockburn, and Smith-Woodhouse. Representing the 12th generation of his family to be involved in the Port wine trade, Rupert Symington is co-CEO of Symington Family Estates. He will be here in Houston for a talk and tasting of nine of his family’s wines. Bread and appropriate cheeses will be served. We will taste Dow’s Vale do Bomfim 2010 (a dry Douro red), Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto, Smith Woodhouse 2000 Colheita Porto, Cockburn’s 2003 Canais Vintage Porto, Graham’s 1999 Malvedos Vintage Porto, Smith Woodhouse 1994 Vintage Porto, Graham’s 2000 Vintage Porto, Graham’s 1983 Vintage Porto, and Dow’s 1985 Vintage Porto. Admission to this talk and tasting is a $20.00 (cash or check) or $21.05 (regular), $15.00 of which is a donation to the Houston Area Women’s Center. The class will meet at 7pm on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.*

*To reserve for any of these events, please contact Marlo Ammons at 832-660-0250 or MarloAmmons@specsonline.com.

l’Alliance Française, the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Boulevard, l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).