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.

Mature Bordeaux Dinner – SOLD OUT!

NOW SOLD OUT!

At 7pm on Thursday, November 2nd, please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, at Lucio’s on Taft Street for a fun and delicious look at mature Bordeaux paired with Lucio’s simple-but-food-friendly menu.  We’ll start with Champagne after which we will go directly to two 1996s paired with duck. After that, three 1995s with hanger steak will be followed by two 1989s with the cheese. We’ll finish up with a glass of 1977 Cockburn’s Vintage Porto, a wine whose very existence was long denied.

THE MENU
Passed Mini Crab Cakes with
Andre Clouet Cuvee 1911 Champagne, NV

Grilled Duck Breast with fennel puree,  spinach, date marmalade, and duck jus
Ch. Lynch Bages, Pauillac, 1996 
Ch. Calon Segur 1996

Hanger Steak with stacked potato and chimichurri
Ch. Rauzan Segla 1995  
Ch. Lynch Bages, Pauillac, 1995 
Ch. Cos d’Estournel 1995   

A selection of Cheeses with
Ch. Lynch Bages, Pauillac, 1989
Ch. Pichon Baron, Pauillac, 1989 

The Port
Cockburn’s Vintage Porto, 1977

This unique Mature Bordeaux Dinner will cost $270 per person including a 5% discount for cash or check (or $284.21 regular). All taxes and tips are included. For reservations, please reply by email to BearDalton@mac.com. Please include a call back number in your email reply. Lucio’s is located at 905 Taft. Hope to see you there.

Meet and taste with Domaine Baron Rothschild Winemaker Diane Flamond

On Tuesday, October 24 at 7pm, please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, in welcoming Diane Flamand, winemaker for DBR (Domaine Baron Rothschild – Latite), to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of DBR’s excellent wines. The net proceeds will benefit The Houston Area Women’s Center (see below).

Diane makes the wines sold under the Domaine Baron Rothschild label for the Ch. Lafite branch of the Rothschild family. She is an entertaining and informative speaker with in depth knowledge of the high quality commodity business of Bordeaux who has elevated these wines she is responsible for. I have heard her speak to groups so I can assure that both she and the wines will be well received.

We will taste:
Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut NV
DBR Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Blanc
DBR Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Rouge
DBR Reserve Speciale Medoc
DBR Reserve Speciale St. Emilion
DBR Reserve Speciale Pauillac
Moulin de Duhart, Pauillac
Château de Cosse, Sauternes

To buy your ticket, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com. The cost of this class is a $20 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).

Thank You

Last night, we cooked and served a great wine dinner last night in the parish hall at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany raising money to help ECHOS (Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services) help victims of Hurricane Harvey. Special thanks to Barons Rothschild Champagne, Lustau Sherry, Domaine Serene, Rochioli, Quintessa, Opus One, Ridge, Eisele Estate, and Graham’s Port, all of whom generously donated great (stunning, brilliant, fabulous) wines to go with our elevated comfort food menu. Also shout outs to DR Delicacy (where I bought the fresh Burgundy truffles for the pasta under the Boeuf Bouguignon and Fabio’s Fresh Pasta where I bought that fresh Tagliatelle. Thank you to all the generous folks who attended and donated to ECHOS. Most important recognition goes to the volunteer kitchen crew and servers Denise Ehrlich, Joan Sokol, Lara Rosenberger,Karin Singley, Robert Gilroy, and Lauren Galleymore without whom this event doesn’t happen. Also thank you to David Weekley Homes for matching the funds we raised. Finally, thank you to the dedicated ECHOS staff for the great work y’all do helping the often ignored and under-served in southwest Houston. #ECHOS #EpiscopalChurchOfTheEpiphany #HarveyRelief

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.

Domaine FONTAINE GAGNARD 2013 Class & Tasting

Domaine Fontaine Gagnard is among my favorite white wine specialists in Burgundy. Based in Chassagne Montrachet, the Domaine was founded in 1985 after the wedding of French Air Force officer Richard Fontaine to Laurence Gagnard (daughter of long-time Chassagne vignerons Jacques and Marie-Joseph Gagnard), the Domaine is now run (since 2011) by their daughter Celine who has worked with her father since 2007. There is a passion for the terroir of Chassagne in its many expressions that runs back through the generation in this domaine. With the respectful winemaking of a family that gets “place,” each wine reflects the specificity of its place. Farming is by organic principles and winemaking features indigenous yeast fermentations.
On Monday, October 9th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for this tasting of Fontaine Gagnard’s 2013s. We’ll taste through all twelve available crus including one red and eleven whites with special attention paid to the specificity of place and process of each wine.

The line up:
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Caillerets 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Clos Saint Jean 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru La Boudriotte 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru La Grande Montagne 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Les Vergers 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Morgeot 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru Chenevottes 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet 1er cru La Romanée 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Batard Montrachet 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Le Montrachet 2013
Fontaine Gagnard Chassagne Montrachet Rouge 2013

Domaine Fontaine Gagnard 2013 will cost $120.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $126.32 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, October 9, 2017 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.

With 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.

Cava, Nibbles, Pots and Pans, etc.

This one takes a little explaining. Last June, I had a meeting with Cathy Moore (the executive director) at ECHOS (Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services). As my wife is always after me to cull unused items from our house, I brought three assorted cooking pans and a kitchen knife set to see if any of ECHOS clients might want them. These were perfectly good pans but for me they had been rendered obsolete when I was birthday-and-Christmas-gifted with newer, fancier stuff. They were gone before my meeting was over, thus revealing a need – many of the clients of ECHOS lack certain necessities such as cooking pots and skillets – and a solution – I and many of my foodie friends have more perfectly good pots, pans, skillets, cookie sheets, hand mixers, etc. than we can use or even really have room for. So this Friday, September 29th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Cathy and I will be at ECHOS with several delicious Cavas (Spanish sparkling wines – it’s a thing) and appropriate Spanish nibbles to offer anyone wanting to drop-off gently-used cookware or any non-perishable foods (for ECHOS food pantry) for ECHOS to distribute.

Please let me know by email (BearDalton@mac.com) if you plan to drop by, just so I can be sure to have enough bubbles to go around. By the way, since the last time I was at ECHOS, I have identified several more implements to donate.

ECHOS  is located on the back corner of the parking lot of The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, at 9600 South Gessner Road (the southwest corner of Gessner and Bissonnet).

ECHOS is a non-profit organization (501(C)3 corporation) connecting people in need with the health, social, and educational resources that can improve their lives. ECHOS’ mission is to connect people in need with health, social and educational resources that can improve their lives.
ECHOS  provides on-site help to families who are unable to access affordable health care and who do not have medical insurance coverage in completing and submitting applications for healthcare and social services.
ECHOS offers on-site health care services and screenings promoting healthier and more productive lives including Children’s Immunizations, Blood Pressure and Glucose Screenings, Vision Screenings, Well and sick child check ups, and Dental care.
ECHOS also assistclients in meeting basic needs and self-sufficiency.  Assistance is free and includes: Food from the Food Pantry, Food Fairs and Mini Health Fairs, English-as-a-second-language, Computer literacy, and Domestic violence support groups on campus.

The “E” in ECHOS, the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany is located at 9600 South Gessner Road. Epiphany is where I go to church and where I raised my kids. While I no longer live in the area, I went to Sharpstown High School and used to pass Epiphany on the way to and from school. The area has changed since then; Epiphany has changed along with it and now boasts one of the most diverse congregations in Houston. ECHOS is Epiphany’s outreach to the local community.