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

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).

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.

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  (
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   (
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.

Wines That Over Deliver

ChTourSalvetThinking about Value in Wine
Value is a funny thing. When we hear value, we tend to think of lower-priced wines (many of which do not deliver value) but low-priced wine is nowhere near the whole story. While it may be hard to think of $75 bottle of wine as a value, the fact is that many (which is not to say most) are. Saying that a wine offers value means that it over-delivers at its price point. Once viewed in that light, it becomes clear that there are values – wines that over-deliver – at every price point, just as there are wines that under-deliver at every price point.

What is hard for me is to say that “this $25 wine is ‘as-good-as-that’ $75 wine” – because in the vast majority of cases, it isn’t. If it were, the market would have pushed up the price of the $25 bottle and pushed down the price of the $75 bottle. Or both. If, over the long term, both wines are stable at their price points (meaning that they have achieved market equilibrium), then, at least for those who are buying them, they deliver at least fair value at their respective price points.

While much is made of the occasional blind tasting where a cheaper wine trounces a flashier bottling, it happens less often than you might think. You hear about it because it’s so unusual and because it becomes news. An expensive wine trouncing a cheap wine isn’t news (and so is not reported) because that’s what’s supposed to (and most often does) happen. So you read about the cheap wine that won. And you wonder if it really is better.

When I read about something like that, I ask some questions:
– How where the wines tasted and presented?
– Were they tasted or drunk?
– How much time did the tasters have with each wine?
– Could they directly compare back and forth?
– Did the tasters know the prices of the two wines?
– Was there an interest in the outcome or bias on the part of whoever was conducting the tasting?