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
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

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)

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.

Bear on 2014 Bordeaux

My coverage of the 2014 vintage of Bordeaux is now online.

Please click here to go to BearOnWine’s 2014 BORDEAUX Web Page.

Links to my Tasting Notes and Scores (including many that are not on the Spec’s 2014 Offer) are at the bottom of that page.

Below is a sample of what you’ll find …


St. Emilion

St. Emilion

Every year, I go taste in Bordeaux the last week of March and first week of April. That trip is built around UGC (Union des Grandes Crus) Week or “Premieres Week” which offers a chance to taste the most recent vintage (this year that is 2014) of Bordeaux prior to the wines being released for sale to the trade as futures. And a lot of other wines. My schedule is a mix of tasting visits to chateaux and to negociants’ offices with the odd tasting elsewhere thrown in. We will make as many as 14 stops a day., all of which are tasting visits with little to no time to ogle barrels and tanks. There are some lunches and dinners and even a couple of parties but the focus is on tasting and evaluating as much wine possible in a two week period. In that time, I will taste (or in some cases drink) over 1,200 individual wines and make notes on maybe 800-900 of them. Some wines are not good enough to take any moretime on and so don’t even get a note. Some are older vintages and some are the sort of wines not sold as futures. Of the 500 or so notes I took on 2014 wines about to be offered as futures, many are duplicates where I tasted the same wine a second, third, or even fourth time during the week either because I had an iffy sample or to confirm just how good something was. In all, I found up with 200 or so 2014 wines I liked. Once the prices were released – which happened over about a five week period – I bought the wines that made sense from the combined angles of price, quality, sales history, cooperation, and local preferences. This year, I have so far bought 104 wines for Spec’s and will add a handful more. These wines are now on offer to Spec’s customers.

Why should you care? Because 2014 is a very good to excellent, quite pretty vintage that, for many people, will give more drinking pleasure than the “best” vintages such as 2010, 2009, and 2005. And because it is – due to a combination of market factors and the dollar-euro exchange rate – a very affordable vintage that will never be cheaper than it is now. Having said all that, I’m talking only about a particular subset of the fewer than 300 fairly well-known chateaux (out of more than 6,800 total wine chateaux) in Bordeaux . . . (read more)