Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2010

On Monday, May 11th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2010. Considered by many to be the best of the three great vintages of the 2000s, 2010 in any case belongs in the discussion. Discussion will include details of the vintage and how the wines are developing. We’ll taste through 12 excellent red wines (including the “2nd wines” of two first growths), all from 2010 vintage.

The line up:
Ch. Ampelia, Cotes de Bordeaux  Castillon, 2010
Dom de l’Eglise, Pomerol, 2010
Gravette de Certan, Pomerol, 2010
Ch. Trottevieille, St. Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé,  2010
Le Clarence de Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan, 2010
Ch. Pontoise Cabarrus, Haut Medoc, 2010
Ch. Cantenac Brown, Margaux, 2010
Pavillon Rouge du Ch. Margaux, Margaux, 2010
Ch. Gruaud Larose, St. Julien, 2010
Ch. Batailley, Pauillac, 2010
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac, 2010
Ch. Calon Segur, St. Estephe, 2010

This Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2010 will cost $120.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $126.32 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, May 11, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, 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).

What I’m Drinking and Why

On Thursday, April 30th at 7pm, please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for What I’m Drinking and Why. While I have never before offered a class such as this, I have long wanted to. (And a number of you have been asking for a class/tasting such as this.) After over 35 years as a wine professional who tastes over 9,000 wines a year, I know a bit about quality and value. These are the wines I personally am drinking right now – as in these are the wines I spend MY MONEY ON. They are delicious and, at their price points, I think they offer the best values available. None of them are cheap and only one sells for less than $20.00 but all of them over-deliver on price. Each of them has a story and each makes a point. I am confident that you will enjoy them as much as I do.

The line up includes:
Jansz Rose, Tasmania, NV
Castelnau Brut Reserve, Champagne, NV
Petit Vedrines, Sauternes, 2010
Schloss Vollrads Riesling QBA, Rheingau, 2012
Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl, Alsace, 2009
Seguinot Bordet, Chablis, 2013
Expression 38 Gaps Crown Pinot Noir, 2012
Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, Volnay Clos de la Bousse d’Or 1er cru, 2011
Ch. La Tour l’Aspic, Pauillac, 2008
Ch. Pontac Lynch, Margaux, 2011
Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 2013
Dry Creek Zinfandel Heritage Clone, Sonoma County, 2012
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2012
Kopke Colheita, Porto, 2004

What I’m Drinking and Why will cost $70.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $73.68 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, 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).

04/20/15: Vintage Focus on BORDEAUX 2009

On Monday, April 20th at 7pm, please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2009. Considered buy some to be the best of the three great vintages of the 2000s, 2009 in any belongs in the discussion. Discussion will include details of the vintage and how the wines are developing. We’ll taste through 12 excellent red wines, all from 2009 vintage.

The line up:
Ch. Ampelia, Cotes de Castillon,2009
Vieux Ch. St. Andre, Montagne St. Emilion, 2009
Ch. Pavie Macquin, St. Emilion, 2009
Gravette de Certan, Pomerol, 2009
Vieux Ch. Certan, Pomerol, 2009
Ch. Haut Bailly, Pessac Leognan, 2009
Ch. Bibian, Haut Medoc, 2009
Ch. Langoa Barton, St. Julien, 2009
Ch. Cantenac Brown, Margaux, 2009
Ch. Lacoste Borie, Pauillac, 2009
Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac, 2009
Ch. Calon Segur, St. Estephe, 2009

This Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2009 will cost $120.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $126.32 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, April 20, 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, 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).

Two February Wine Classes

Please join me for two new wine classes at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française. – Bear

02/09/15: VARIETAL FOCUS ON MALBEC
On Monday, February 9th at 7pm, please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Varietal Focus on Malbec. We will trace and taste Malbec from its homeland in the southwest of France to its new territories in Argentina and on to Chile and the US. Disscussion will include Malbec’s history, what makes it unique, and how it is made along with Malbec and food. Twelve Malbec wines will be tasted. The tasting will conclude with a couple of hundred-plus-dollar-a-bottle icon wines (one from France and one from Argentina).

The line up:
Pigmentum Malbec 2013
Alamos Malbec 2013
Montes Malbec Classic 2010
Ch. La Fleur De Haut Serre Malbec Cahors 2012
Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2013
Ch. de Mercues Malbec Cahors 2010
Cuvelier los Andes Malbec 2009
Fin Del Mundo Malbec Reserva 2012
Shannon Ridge Reserve Malbec 2010
Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2010
Ch. de Mercues Cuvee Icone 2009
Plus a surprise.

This Varietal Focus on Malbec will cost $60.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $63.16 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday February 9th 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or BearDalton@mac.com.

02/16/15: VINTAGE FOCUS ON BORDEAUX 2006
On Monday, February 16th at 7pm, please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2006. As it is not 2005 or 2009, the 2006 vintage was initially under-rated by the press and has been ignored for the last several years. While 2006 is not a “Great Vintage,” it is a “Classic Vintage” that is now coming into its own as the wines emerge from the dumb stage. What is a “Classic Vintage?” One that shows what put Bordeaux on the world wine map. Which is to say a vintage in which each wine shows the typicity and terroir of the place. Discussion will include details of the vintage and how the wines have developed. We’ll taste through 12 excellent red wines, all from 2006 vintage.

The line up:
Ch Cap De Faugeres Cotes de Castillon 2006
Ch Pavie Macquin St Emilion 2006
Vieux Ch Certan Pomerol 2006
Ch Les Carmes Haut Brion Pessac Leognan Rouge 2006
Ch Haut Bergey Pessac Leognan Rouge 2006
Ch Cantemerle Haut Medoc 2006
Ch Potensac Medoc 2006
Ch Branaire Ducru St Julien 2006
Ch Batailley Pauillac 2006
Ch Calon Segur St Estephe 2006
Ch Rauzan Segla Margaux 2006
Ch Grand Puy Lacoste Pauillac 2006

This Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2006 will cost $100.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $105.26 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday February 16th 2015 at l’Alliance Française. To reserve your spot, 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).

I’m Back (with a Bordeaux Master Class)

I’m back. Back from Bordeaux (to taste the surprising 2013 vintage), back from being ill, back to blogging, and back to teaching about wine. Coming right up, I have a four week Bordeaux Master Class at l’Alliance Francaise. Here are the details:

The Wine School at l’Alliance Française presents
A BORDEAUX MASTER CLASS
Beginning on Monday, April 14, 2014

Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for this four-week in-depth look at the wines of Bordeaux. We will examine the intricacies and differences to be found in an area with over 50 sub-appellations and over 8,000 producers. It is appropriate both for those developing their interest in Bordeaux and as a refresher for those who want to organize their tasting and thinking about or better understand Bordeaux. We will discuss appellation, terroir, tradition, style, and technique. The wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware. A selection of cheeses and bread will be offered during each class.

Week 1 (4/14/14): “The Last Stuff you Think About When You Think About Bordeaux”
Bordeaux Sparkling, Bordeaux Blanc, Pink Bordeaux, and Basic Bordeaux Rouge. The Bordeaux Cotes. 12 wines will be tasting including a treat that will foreshadow Week 4. (Trocard Cremant de Bordeaux NV, Ch. Penin Bordeaux Blanc 2012, Ch. Martinon Entre Deux Mers 2012, Ch. Charmes Godard, Cotes de Francs 2009, Ch. Penin Bordeaux Clairet 2012, Ch. Penin Tradition Bordeaux 2011, Demoiselles Falfas Cotes De Bourg 2011, Ch. Cantinot Cotes De Blaye 1er Cru 2009, Ch. Puygueraud Bordeaux Cotes De Francs 2010, Ch. Grand Village Bordeaux Superieur 2010, Ch. Grand Peyruchet Loupiac 2008 – plus the treat)

Week 2 (4/21/14): South of Town: The Origin of Bordeaux (or “The Other Left Bank”)
Graves, Pessac Leognan, and Sauternes. (Ch. d’Archambeau Graves Blanc 2012, Ch. Carbonnieux Pessac Leognan Blanc 2011, Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Blanc 2011, Ch. d’Archambeau Graves Rouge 2009, Ch. Haut Vigneau Pessac Leognan 2010, Ch. Carbonnieux Rouge Pessac Leognan 2011, Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Rouge 2008, Ch. Haut Bailly Pessac Leognan Rouge 2011, Ch. Haut Mayne Graves Superieures Demi Sec 2010, Haut Charmes Sauternes 6/cs 2009, Ch. De Fargues Sauternes 2002

Week 3 (4/28/14): The Right Bank
Fronsac, Castillon, the Satellites, St. Emilion, and Pomerol (Ch. La Vieille Cure Fronsac 2001, Ch. Vieux Ch. St Andre Montagne St Emilion 2010, Ch. Laborde Cuvee 1628 Lalande De Pomerol 2008, Ch. Ampelia Cotes De Castillon 2011, Ch. D’aiguilhe Cotes De Castillon 2009, Ch. Laplagnotte Bellvue St Emilion 2010, Ch. Grand Corbin Despagne St Emilion 2009, Ch. La Confession St Emilion 2004, Ch. Larcis Ducasse St Emilion 2011, Ch. La Croix St Georges Pomerol 2010, Ch. Clinet Pomerol 2011

Week 4 (5/05/14): The Left Bank (the Medoc)
The Medoc and all its appellations. (Ch. Tour St Bonnet Medoc 2010, Ch. Pontoise Cabarrus Haut Medoc 2010, Les Brulieres De Beychevelle 2009, Ch. Senejac Haut Medoc 2010, Ch. Fourcas Borie Listrac 2008, Ch. Brane Cantenac Margaux 2011, Ch. Beau-Site St Estephe 2010, Amiral de Beychevelle 2009 and Ch. Beychevelle St Julien 2009, Ch. Lacoste Borie Pauillac 2009 and Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste Pauillac 2009)

This four-week Bordeaux Master Class will cost $250 total per person cash ($263.16 regular) for all four sessions. The course will meet at 7pm on Mondays April 14, 21, 28, and May 5 of 2014. To reserve your spot for this four-week class, please contact Marlo Ammons at 832-660-0250 or MarloAmmons@specsonline.com. All sessions of this class will be held at l’Alliance Française, 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)

With over 35 years in the wine business and 30 years experience teaching about wine, Spec’s Bear Dalton is one of the top wine authorities in Texas. He is certified by the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) as an “International Bordeaux Educator.” Over the last 18 years, he has visited Bordeaux 27 times (spending over 35 weeks there) to taste and learn about the wines of Bordeaux. Bear knows Bordeaux.

Oh no! Not Another Learning Opportunity!

Actually not one but two learning opportunities await below.

The best way to learn about wine is to taste and here are two opportunities to taste a lot of wine. The first is a four night (spread over 4 weeks) Wine Basics class designed for both the beginner and the more experienced taster who wants an organizational framework for what he knows. The second is a one-night immersion into great Bordeaux. Both are not-to-be-missed experiences.

WINE 101:
A Four-Week Course on Wine Basics beginning on Monday, January 6, 2014
Please join me, Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, for this four-week Wine Basics course. “Wine 101” is appropriate both for those just developing their interest in wine and for those who feel the need for a good review to help organize their tasting and thinking about wine. This class also would be a good place to start for a service professional looking to move more into the wine side of the restaurant business or anyone looking to move into the wholesale or retail wine trade. As wine from all over the world is now so readily available, the 40 wines we will taste over the four-week class will come from all over the world. All tasting will be from Riedel Degustazione stemware.  (READ MORE)

2011 (Mostly) CRU CLASSÉ BORDEAUX TASTING
At the CRYSTAL BALLROOM at the Rice
On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, Spec’s will host approximately Bordeaux chateau owners, directors, and/or winemakers presenting 60 mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux wines all from the 2011 vintage in a standup- and-walk-around tasting format. This is our third time to host a delegation from Bordeaux. The last two year’s events were smashing successes so the chateaux are back and they are bringing fiends so we will be showing more wines. The list of well-known and highly regarded wineries has come together. The tasting will open at 4:30pm and run until 8:30pm, giving tasters ample time to taste the wines and visit with our guests from Bordeaux. (READ MORE)

BAROSSA and BEYOND with Jane Ferrari of Yalumba

On Tuesday, November 26th at 7pm, please join me, SPEC’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton, in welcoming Yalumba’s famed traveling winemaker, the ever popular Jane Ferrari to Houston at l’Alliance Française for a tasting and class featuring eleven wines of Yalumba.

The informative and entertaining Ms. Ferrari, who is a native of Barossa, will talk about where the wines come from and how they are made as well as the history and traditions of both Yalumba and the Barossa Valley. Jane Ferrari is a trained winemaker (educated at Australia’s esteemed Roseworthy College) who gets her hands dirty both in the vineyards and the wineries in Barossa but also travels the world telling the Yalumba  story. She is down to earth and very entertaining in a way that must be experienced. Jane first visited Houston in October of 2003 and utterly charmed a group of over 60 wine fans. She has been back almost every year since and has “wowed” us all each time. In addition to information about wine, you may hear about Australian and American culture (or lack thereof), Baseball, Elvis, and only Jane knows what else.

The wines she’ll present and we’ll taste include:

Jansz Brut, Tasmania, NV
Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay, South Australia, 2012
Yalumba Y Series Viognier, South Australia, 2012
Yalumba Viognier, Eden Valley, 2011
Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier, South Australia, 2012
Yalumba Y Series Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia, 2012
Yalumba Barossa “The Strapper” GSM, Barossa, 2012
Yalumba Patchwork, Barossa, 2010
Yalumba The Scribbler, Barossa, 2010
Yalumba Shiraz Viognier, Eden Valley, 2009
Yalumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier, Wrattonbully, 2009

BAROSSA AND BEYOND with Jane Ferrari will cost $30 per person cash ($31.58 regular). The event will be held at l’Alliance Française which is located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (The corner of Lovett and Whitney is a block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose.) To register for this class, please call Marlo Ammons at 832-660-0250 or send her a note at MarloAmmons@specsonline.com.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Houston Area Women’s Center.