Summer is here and it’s getting (gotten?) hot. If you’re at all like me, your pace has slowed a bit, you’re eating some different (lighter) foods, and maybe thinking about drinking some different (cooler and more refreshing) drinks. Now, about the only spirits I drink any more are cool refreshing Margaritas (and that’s a year-round thing) so my different drinks for summer are all wine – or at least wine-based. Yes, I drink different wines during the summer: No oak whites, some with a little residual sugar, Rosés (but we have a dedicated Rosé class coming soon),  lighter, more chill-able reds, and the occasional wine concoction. So on Monday, June 26th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for SIPPING DIFFERENT. We’ll discuss and taste through fifteen summer sippers (all wines I love) that cover the gamut from wine concoctions to chill-able reds. Come cool. Be cool. Get cool. Sip Different

The line up:
Green Sangria (Bear’s Award Winning Recipe)
Carpano Bianco Vermouth
Lillet Blanc
l’Herre Gros Manseng, Cotes Gascogne, 2016
Losen Bockstanz Wittlicher Lay Riesling Kabinett 2015
Paternina Verdejo, Rueda, 2014
Frey Sohler Pinot Gris Rittersberg, Alsace, 2015
François le Saint Sancerre Calcaire, 2015
François le Saint Sancerre Rosé, 2016
Duboeuf Ch. de St. Amour, St. Amour (Cru Beaujolais), 2015
Chamisal Pinot Noir Stainless, Edna Valley, 2014
François le Saint Sancerre Rouge, 2013
Casa Gran Siurana Gr-174, Priorat, 2015
Besserat Bellefon Brut Rosé, Champagne, NV
Quady Elysium Black Muscat, California, 2013

Sipping Different will cost $50.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $52.63 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, June 26, 2017 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., 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 almost 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.

Wine-Of-the-Week: PRE SEMELE Sancerre 2012

It seems like the wrong time of year to be touting a Sancerre but this is Texas where I have gotten sunburned and a bit over-heated while riding my horse wearing a Hawaiian shirt in January. So consider the weather and remember it for a balmy day.semele-sancerre-chasseignes-lg

DOMAINE DU PRE SEMELE Sancerre Blanc, Loire, 2012
12.5% Alcohol. 100% sustainably grown Sauvignon Blanc (5-40 year-old-vines) from both clay (giving fruit) and limestone (giving mineral and structure) terroirs. After a slow gentle pressing, the juice is settled for 24 hours at cold temperatures before a cool fermentation in temperature contolled stainless steel and enamel tanks for 10-15 days. No malo-lactic fermentation but some lees stirring. Remains in tank for 6 months before a light filtration and bottling.   Straw in color with good legs; dry, medium-light-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and scant phenolics. Clean and crisp and full of mineral with lemony, fresh citrus fruit. Is actually more complex than it sounds but it is still young and a bit tight. Nevertheless, this is fine refreshing Sancerre and the producer has a great track record. BS: 91 (or maybe more as it opens up). Drink it at dinner with fresh oysters or fish. Or on the porch with conversation and chips.

Thinking About Wine:
Wine is sunlight held together by water” – Galileo Galilei

PLEASE check the EVENTS PAGE for my upcoming WINE 101 class beginning January 6th at the Wine School and the annual 2011 CRU CLASSÉ BORDEAUX TASTING on January 21st at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice.