A VALUE BORDEAUX SEMINAR AND TASTING benefitting the Houston Area Women’s Center

7pm on Monday, September 28, 2015
– OR –
7pm on Monday, October 12, 2015
at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française.

The same class is being offered on two different dates.
You may sign up for one or the other but not both.

Spec’s, the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux, and the European Union invite you to join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for “Bordeaux Values” at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française. These are the wines I consistently go-to for my personal drinking at home or with friends. In this seminar tasting, we’ll look at wines from around Bordeaux that offer quality and value. Topics of discussion will include vintages, the appellations of Bordeaux (including what makes an appellation), styles of Bordeaux, and the grape varieties and techniques used to make the wines. This is a good general introduction to Bordeaux. Bread and cheese will be served.

The following ten Bordeaux wines will be served:
Ch. Martinon, Entre Deux Mers, 2014
Ch. d’Archambeau, Graves Blanc, 2013
Ch. Carbonnieux, Pessac Leognan Blanc, 2011
Ch. Ampelia, Cotes de Bordeaux – Castillon, 2011
Ch. Laplagnotte Bellvue, St. Emilion, 2012
Ch. La Pointe, Pomerol, 2012
Ch. Clos Marsalette, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2012
Ch. Senejac, Haut Medoc, 2012
Ch. Pontac Lynch, Margaux, 2012
Ch. Lynch Moussas, Pauillac, 2011

To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com. When you call or email, please specify which session you wish to attend. The cost of this class is a $20 donation (cash or check only please) to the Houston Area Women’s Center. L’Alliance Française is French Cultural Center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., l’Alliance Française is on the south-east corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

Pulling The Cork . . . and other things you need to know about wine

On Monday, July 13th at 7pm, please join Bear Dalton at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Pulling The Cork . . . and other things you need to know about wine, a one-night next-step into Tasting, Drinking, and Enjoying wine. Tasting because that’s how you figure out what you like. Drinking because drinking good wine is the object of all that tasting (however much fun all the tasting may be). And Enjoying because there are things you can do to enjoy wine more without spending more money on wine.

Bear Dalton has over 35 years of experience tasting (over 9,000 a year), drinking and enjoying, and working professionally (He’s the fine wine buyer for Spec’s) with wine including over 30 years experience teaching and writing about wine. In this two-hour class, he’ll lead you through a tasting of 12 wines including red, white, sparkling and dessert wines. Discussion will include tasting vs. drinking, what to look for when tasting, wine and food pairing, wine serving and storage temperatures (and why they matter), proper wine glasses (and why they are important – and when they are not), pulling the cork (there is both more and less to it than you think), and more.

Pulling the Cork . . . will cost $50.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $52.63 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, July 13th, 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).

Three Upcoming Wine Events

RidgeLytton1210/28/14 – PARSING ZINFANDEL – Last Call!
On Tuesday, October 28th, at 7pm, please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for Parsing Zinfandel. It’s been a few years since we’ve dug into Zin and with the arrival of the 2012s in Texas, I think we’re due. We’ll look at 14 wines from all over Sonoma County (the spiritual home of Zinfandel) and a couple from Napa as well, all from the 2012 vintage. We’ll talk about Zin and blends, the terrors and techniques used to make it, and the food we ravenswood-teldeschi-vineyard-dry-creek-zinfandel__69702.1410645635.1280.1280eat with it. The class will include bread and a selection of fine cheeses to accompany the tasting. We will taste Dry Creek Vineyards Heritage Clone, Trig Point Railyard, Seghesio Sonoma, Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel 2012, Bedrock Old Vine, Ridge East Bench, Hartford Court Russian River Valley, Ridge Geyserville, Ridge Lytton Springs, Ravenswood Old Hill, Ravenswood Dickerson, Ravenswood Teldeschi, Biale Black Chicken, and Bedrock Monte Rosso Zinfandel 2012. Parsing Zinfandel will cost $60.00 per person (cash or check) or $63.16 regular, and will meet at 7pm on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at l’Alliance Française at 427 Lovett Blvd.*

CalonSegur11/04/14 – MORE FUN WITH BORDEAUX
Sixteen Wines – Four Chateaux – Four Verticals

On Tuesday, November 4 at 7pm, please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a unique Bordeaux tasting featuring four verticals from four great Haut Medoc chateaux: Ch. d’Armailhac in Pauillac, Ch. Branaire Ducru in St. Julien, Ch. Calon Segur in St. Estephe, and Ch. Cantenac Brown in Margaux We will taste the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages from each of these properties. BranaireDucruThis is the second in a series of vertical tastings where we look at four vintages of four top wines. It will be fun and informative. The cost of this unique tasting will be $100.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $105.26 regular, and will meet at 7pm on Tuesday November 4, 2014 at l’Alliance Française at 427 Lovett Blvd.*

11/05/14 – Port Wine with Rupert Symington
Graham – Dow – Cockburn – Smith Woodhouse

grahams2000On Wednesday, November 5th at 7pm, please join me in welcoming the entertaining and informative Rupert Symington at l’Alliance Française for a tasting of Port Wines from his family’s companies including Graham, Dow, Cockburn, and Smith-Woodhouse. Representing the 12th generation of his family to be involved in the Port wine trade, Rupert Symington is co-CEO of Symington Family Estates. He will be here in Houston for a talk and tasting of nine of his family’s wines. Bread and appropriate cheeses will be served. We will taste Dow’s Vale do Bomfim 2010 (a dry Douro red), Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto, Smith Woodhouse 2000 Colheita Porto, Cockburn’s 2003 Canais Vintage Porto, Graham’s 1999 Malvedos Vintage Porto, Smith Woodhouse 1994 Vintage Porto, Graham’s 2000 Vintage Porto, Graham’s 1983 Vintage Porto, and Dow’s 1985 Vintage Porto. Admission to this talk and tasting is a $20.00 (cash or check) or $21.05 (regular), $15.00 of which is a donation to the Houston Area Women’s Center. The class will meet at 7pm on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.*

*To reserve for any of these events, please contact Marlo Ammons at 832-660-0250 or MarloAmmons@specsonline.com.

l’Alliance Française, the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Boulevard, l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).

The Week in Wine

Here are some of the things that caught my eye and/or tickled my palate this week (ending 10/10/14) in wine.

From Spec’s Fine Wine (SpecsFineWine.com)
The Friday Fizz: BOLLINGER Grand Annee, Champagne, 2004
According to the Bollinger web-site, 2004 was a delicate year in Champagne. It started with a dry winter and spring but a cold, wet August. The grapes were picked during a warm “Indian summer.” With the 1976 vintage, “Bollinger Vintage” was renamed “Bollinger Grande Annee.” In 2004, it became “Bollinger La Grande Année.” I would say that 2004 was an eventful year for Bollinger which happens to have produced a Lovely vintage Champagne that has many years of improvement in from of it. As it ages, the sore can only go up. (Read More …)

The Daily Drinker: CASA GRAN del SIURANA GR-174, Priorat, 2012
“GR-174″ is the name of a well-known hiking path that crosses Priorat. Perelada (owners of Casa Gran Siurana) feel that this path is a great introduction to the rustic beauty of Priorat just as I feel that this wine (their entry level) is the best introduction (regardless of price) to the wine of Priorat. (Read More)

Upcoming Events:
10/14/14 – FUN WITH BORDEAUX: Four Chateaux – Four Verticals – Sixteen Wines
On Tuesday, October 14 at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a unique Bordeaux tasting featuring vertical selections from four of my favorite chateaux: Ch. d’Aiguilhe in Castillon, Ch. Lynch Moussas in Pauillac, Ch. La Croix St. Georges in Pomerol, and Gravette de Certan (the 2nd wine of Vieux Ch. Certan) in Pomerol. We will taste the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages from each of these properties. (Read More …)

10/16/14 – October Right Bank Bordeaux Dinner at Charivari
On Thursday, October 16th at 7pm, please join me, Bear Dalton, at Charivari Restaurant for our October Right Bank Bordeaux Dinner featuring twelve great Right Bank red Bordeaux wines from the 2011 vintage (starting of course with Champagne and ending with a favorite from Barsac) paired with Chef Schuster’s Autumnal seasonal offerings. (Read More …)

10/21/14 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINE: A Four Week Class focusing on the Essentials of Wine
Beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, October 21st (and running four consecutive Mondays), please join me at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WINE. This four-week class will focus on tasting, enjoying, and appreciating wine even as you learn more about your favorite drink and maybe even which kinds of wine you like the most. This class will be held at l’Alliance Française located at 427 Lovett Blvd. (Houston, 77006). For all the details and complete list the wines to be served, click here.

From Drinks Business:
NEW REFERENCE DATES HAUT-BRION TO 1500s
A new historical reference mentions Bordeaux first growth Haut-Brion in 1521, over 100 years before Samuel Pepys’ famous diary entry. The famed English diarist mentioned drinking “Ho Bryan” in 1663 and the estate is mentioned in the cellar book of Charles II in 1660 but the new shows that the estate was in existence over a century before, with two documents from the early 16th century noting orders of wine from a Pessac estate called “Aubrion”.The documents were uncovered in the Gironde Departmental archives by art historian Laurent Chavier as part of the “Historical Challenge” laid down by the estate’s owner, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, in May of last year. The challenge was for a researcher to uncover a reference to the estate that pre-dated the 1660 mention. (Read More …)

PASO ROBLES DIVIDES TO CONQUER:
The Californian wine region of Paso Robles has been granted permission to set up 11 new distinct appellations within its borders.
The ruling was passed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) – a subsidiary of the US Treasury – in Washington DC on Thursday (October 9) to create the 11 appellations. The 59 members of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area Committee, a trade body of the area’s winemakers, petitioned for the change in 2007, but it wasn’t until September 2013 that federal regulators issued the proposal to the TTB. In a press statement, the TTB is said that the new regulation is “in response to a petition from an association of local vintners and grape growers. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase.” Stacie Jacobs, chief executive officer of Visit San Luis Obispo County, told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that all districts will remain a part of the larger Paso Robles American Viticultural Area, but winemakers will now be able to label their wines with these more specific areas, which will help promote tourism in the wine region. “The new 11 AVAs give wine tourists an even greater knowledge base and interest in further exploring the wines of Paso Robles.” (Read More …)

Wine Humor:
Anosmia Dogs and Other Failed Master of Wine Dissertations

One of the requirements for becoming a Master of Wine is an original and rigorous research paper of between 6,000 and 10,000 words. The words must be placed in sentences, or it doesn’t count. There is no similar requirement for becoming a Master Sommelier, though they are asked to write an original limerick — said to be the hardest part of the exam, after the colonoscopy. As far as I know, the great unwashed public isn’t privy to the dissertations produced by MWs. However, as Commander of Wine, I have uncovered several dissertations that didn’t pass muster. As brilliant as some of these papers are, they were not good enough to gain their authors acceptance into fine wine’s version of contestants on “The Bachelorette,” the Institute of Masters of Wine. (Read More …)

From Wine Searcher
Bordeaux’s Crus Bourgeois Say “Oui” to a New Classification
Médoc producers agree to another attempt to reclassify their châteaux, after several previous failures.
Bordeaux’s cru bourgeois wineries have announced an ambitious project to launch a new classification, seven years after the last attempt dissolved in acrimony and lawsuits. The latest attempt to bring in a classification system for the 250-plus properties currently holding cru bourgeois status comes after five years of strict quality control and tireless promotion under the banner of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc. “On September 16, we took a blind vote with our members during an extraordinary general meeting; there were 78.1 percent ‘yes’ votes,” said Frédérique Dutheillet de Lamothe, director of the alliance. Their goal is to have the new classification in place by the time the 2014 vintage hits the stores, which means 2016 – just two years away, which Dutheillet de Lamothe admits is an ambitious target for a group with something of a history of disagreement. (Read More …)

WINE 201: A Four-Week Course on Wine Beyond the Basics

For the last few years, I have offered (at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française) a four-week introduction to wine and wine tasting that a lot of folks refer to as Wine 101. In that class we covered wines basics in a way to help the student organize what they already know about wine and fill in the holes so they have the basics down pat. This new class will start there with the assumption that you have a good grasp of the basics. Welcome to …

WINE 201:  A Four-Week Course on Wine Beyond the Basics

BearClassPlease join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for this new four-week Wine Basics course. Wine 201 is for those who have a developed interest in wine. The class will work on understanding and improving tasting skills. In order to understand wine today, you have to understand its roots in Europe. This class will focus on the old world presenting classic wines in an organized fashion. We’ll spend 2.2 weeks looking just at France. While focused on the more avid wine consumer, this class would be a good exposure for a service professional looking to move more into the wine side of the restaurant business or anyone in or looking to move into the wholesale or retail wine trade. The focus of each class will be more on the regions covered and how their wines have influenced the rest of the world of wines than on individual producers. The wines tasted will be “classic” examples chosen for their typicity of both variety(s) and region.

Week 1 (02/10/14): Tasting Review. Part one of the wines of France: Bordeaux and the Loire. Why is Bordeaux so important? The power and popularity of Cabernet and Merlot. Ten wines will be tasted.

Week 2 (02/17/14): Part two of the wines of France: Burgundy, Champagne, the Rhone. Ten wines will be tasted. The relationship between these regions and the relationship between these wines and their new world equivalents will be explored.

Week 3 (02/24/14): Alsace, Germany, and Italy. Ten wines will be tasted focusing on the classic wines that both express and transcend a local identity.

Week 4 (03/03/11): Spain and Portugal. Ten wines will be tasted with a strict focus on the classics including Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cava, Port, and Sherry.

The four-week Wine 201 will cost $240 total per person cash ($252.63 regular) for all four sessions. The course will meet at 7pm on four Mondays: February 10th, 17th and 24th and March 3rd of 2014. To reserve your spot for this unique four-week class, please contact Marlo Ammons at 832-660-0250 or Marlo Ammons@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).

Announcing a new Wine 101 class

The Wine School at l’Alliance Française presents

WINE 101: A Four-Week Course on Wine Basics

Please join Spec’s corporate fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for this four-week Wine Basics course. “Wine 101” is designed both for those just developing their interest in wine and 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.  The four-week Wine 101 will cost $220.00 total per person cash ($231.58 regular) for all four sessions. The course will meet at 7pm on Monday January 23, January 30, February 6, and February 13 of 2012.

For details and complete information, please go to
https://bearonwine.com/upcoming-events/wine-101-a-four-week-course-on-wine-basics/