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.

La CHABLISIENNE Chablis Class and Tasting (9/16/19)


On Monday, September 16 at 7pm, please join me in welcoming my friend and Burgundy expert extraordinaire David Smith to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tag-team class (with me) and tasting of the wines of La Chablisienne. La Chablisienne is that not-as-rare-as-may-seem co-op that is making top quality wines that compete with those from the best domaines. This however is that most rare class where all white wines will be served.

The line-up includes:
Chablisienne Petit Chablis Pas Si Petit 2017
Chablisienne La Pierrelee Chablis 2015
Chablisienne La Sereine Chablis 2015
Chablisienne Les Venerables Chablis 2015
Chablisienne Cote De Lechet Chablis 1er Cru 2015
Chablisienne Vaillons Chablis 1er Cru 2015
Chablisienne Fourchaume Chablis 1er Cru 2017
Chablisienne Vaulorent 1er Cru Chablis  2015
Chablisienne Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru 6/cs 2015
Chablisienne Les Preuses Chablis Grand Cru 6/cs 2016
Chablisienne Valmur Chablis Grand Cru 6/cs 2013
Chablisienne Grenouilles (6/cs) Chablis Grand Cru 2014

This La Chablisienne event will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class meets on Monday, September 16 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).

ABOUT LA CHABLISIENNE
The story began in 1923. Under the leadership of Abbé Balitrand, a number of winegrowers joined forces to better withstand the economic difficulties of the period. Together, in the middle of the Chablis vineyards, they created a cooperative winery to market their wines. Until the mid-1950s, the members of the cooperative delivered their production to La Chablisienne, who was then responsible for creating the blends and for selling them, mainly to wholesalers. However, La Chablisienne wanted to go much further and create a style of its own. So it was decided that the harvest would be delivered in the form of musts (unfermented juice), a particularity that has become the trademark of the house and giving it total control over the winemaking processes. There is constant information sharing between the winegrowers and the technicians, linking the quality of the musts to the parcels that produced the grapes thus ensuring the best possible technical guidance. La Chablisienne, in true pioneer spirit, has never ceased to meet a wide range of challenges in areas as diverse as winegrowing and winemaking, human resources and marketing. It is the meticulous work of all those involved that gives wines which constantly improve with the passage of time.



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.

UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
09/12 – Thursday … Greek Wines with Ted Diamantis  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/16 – Monday … La Chablisiene Chablis Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/23 – Monday … Save the Date
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.

GREEK WINE Wine Class and Tasting

Featuring Ted Diamantis, founder / owner of Diamond Wine Importers

On Thursday, September 12th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Ted Diamantis, founder/owner of Greek wine specialist Diamond Wine Imports to The Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a discussion and tasting of his not-your-grandfather’s Greek wines. With the renewed popularity of Greek food and the advent of new Greek restaurants, there has been a rise in interest in Greek wines. Ted’s company supplies many of the wines used by restaurants such as Helen, Ouzo Bay, and Loch Bar. These site-specific, idiosyncratic, passionately-made, artisanal wines are a far cry from the Achaia Claus Restina or even the Boutari wines that have dominated the Greek wine scene up to now.

The line-up includes:
Santo Santorini Assyrtiko
Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko
Alexakis Assyrtiko
Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Domain Skouras St George Nemea
Douloufakis Liatiko
Alpha Estate Axia
Alpha Estate SMX Red Blend
Alpha Estate Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro
Kir-Yianni Ramnista
Domain Skouras Grand Cuvee Aghioghiriko
Kir Yianni Sparkling Xinomavro Rose

This Ted Diamantis Greek Wine Tasting will cost $30.00 per person (cash or check) or $31.58 regular. The class meets on Thursday September 12th 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 Ted Diamantis (in his words):
In 1992, I created Diamond Wine Importers out of the belief that Greece, with its natural terroir of mountain vineyards, maritime influenced climate, volcanic and alluvial soils, and over 200 ancient indigenous varieties, can once again become a source of some of the greatest wines in the world.
Over the last 30 years of tasting and traveling throughout Greece, we have compiled a portfolio of the best artisan, vineyard-driven producers who are working with the best native varietals from the best appellations. We only focus on producers and growers who are fully committed to quality and sustainability from vine to bottle. These producers are people that have passion, are self-made men, work with the land, and embody true winemaking spirit.
Our goal is to now educate and enlighten the American wine market about these indigenous varietals, ancient appellations and, most importantly, the spirit of these outstanding producers.
Oinos Efreni Kardian (Wine Pleases the Heart),
Ted Diamantis

 

UPCOMING WINE EVENTS
09/09 – Monday … Bordeaux Revealed (session two) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/11 – Wednesday … The Domaine Baron Rothschild Bordeaux Tasting with winemaker Diane Flamond at SPEC’s on Smith Street
                                              (This is a FREE Bordeaux class, please email your reservation to RSVP_Houston@Specsonline.com)
09/12 – Thursday … Greek Wines with Ted Diamantis  at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/16 – Monday … La Chablisiene Chablis Tasting (with David Smith and me) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française
09/23 – Monday … Save the Date
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.

Ch. de Mercues & Ch. de Haut Serre Cahors Class and Tasting

On Monday August 26th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming Cahors (the original home of Malbec) estate owner and vigneron Bertrand Vigoroux (please “about Bertrand Vigoroux” below) of Ch. de Mercues and Ch. de Haut Serre (two of the most important properties in Cahors) to the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of ten of his wines. Bertrand will present his wines as he delves into the history of both Cahors and his estates. He has been-there-done-that with Malbec in Cahors. If you like Malbec, you need to get to know Cahors and there is not better way that a tasting with this owner-vigneron-winemaker of two significant chateaux.

The line-up includes:
Bellefleur de Haute-Serre Sparkling rosé traditional méthode NV
Chenin de Mercuès 2016
Pigmentum Malbec, Cahors 2017
Vassal de Mercuès 2017
Chateau de Mercuès Grand vin 2016
Chateau de Haute-Serre Grand vin 2015
Géron Dadine du Chateau de Haute-Serre 2016
Cuvée 6666 du Chateau de Mercuès 2015
Icone WOW du Chateau de Mercuès 2015
Icone WOw du Chateau de Haute-Serre 2015. 

This Chx. de Mercues & de Haut Serre Cahors Tasting will cost $40.00 per person (cash or check) or $42.11 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday August 26th 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 Bertrand Vigoroux:
Bertrand-Gabriel Vigouroux is the son of Georges Vigouroux and works in the company for 30 years and he combines traditions and the modern techniques of winemaking to respect the Malbec in its original terror. He is constantly trying to optimize the potential of the Malbec that he often named “the Diva grape, it can produce incredible wines, but you have to give her your best first! ”
Now Bertrand Vigouroux manages the estates with the same passion as his father, maintaining tradition while introducing innovative methods. A major winemaker and oenologist in France himself, he took his passion for the Malbec grape to the Mendoza region in Argentina, hiring Paul Hobbs, a famous oenologist and Malbec wine-producer in Argentina, as a consultant. The cooperation brought an exceptional 2009 vintage and the new Icône cuvées.

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 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.