SIPPING DIFFERENT

SIPPING DIFFERENT

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 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).

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.

Taste Domaine de la POUSSE d’OR 2014

Taste Domaine de la POUSSE d’OR 2014

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or has long been among my favorites of Burgundy. I first tasted two of the Volnays in the early 1980s and got to know the range of wines better tasting some with Becky Wasserman (who was then their broker) in 1986. I’ve been tasting at the domaine for the last fifteen years. Over all that time, I have watched the domaine grow from a Volnay specialist with some Santenay and Pommard to include vines on the hill of Corton (1999), in Puligny Montrachet (2004), and Chambolle and Morey (2008). At this time Spec’s is able to purchase thirteen wines (one village appellation, nine 1er crus, and three grand crus) from the estate, all of which are consistently excellent. (There are four wines we don’t get – yet.)  On Monday, June 5th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a Tasting of Domaine de la Pousse d’Or 2014. We’ll taste through all thirteen available Pousse d’Or crus from the fine 2014 vintage including twelve reds and one white with special attention paid to the specificity of place and process of each wine.

The line up:
Pousse d’Or Santenay 1er Cru Clos Tavannes 2014
Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru en Caillerets 2014
Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la 60 Ouvrees 2014
Pousse d’Or Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la Bousse d’Or 2014
Pousse d’Or Pommard 1er Cru Jarollieres 2014
Pousse d’Or Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny Villages 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru les Feusselottes 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru les Charmes 2014
Pousse d’Or Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru les Amoureuses 2014
Pousse d’Or Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 2014
Pousse d’Or Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2014
Pousse d’Or Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clos le Caillerets 2014

Domaine de la Pousse d’Or 2014 will cost $140.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $147.37 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, June 5, 2017 at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, 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).

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.
Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2011

Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 2011

I’m just back from Bordeaux where I tasted and drank a lot of 2011 wines that are now opening up very nicely. On Monday, April 17th 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 2011. 2011 is a “Classic Bordeaux Vintage” which is to say that it allows the typicity and terroir of each very specific place to shine through. 2011 is the sort of vintage that proves Bordeaux’s place as a maker of great wines. Discussion will include details of the vintage and how the wines have developed. We’ll taste through 14 excellent red wines covering all the major appellations of Bordeaux and a couple of value appellations, all from the classic 2011 vintage that is beginning to really show its stuff. Within the context of 2011, we will especially focus on Pessac Leognan, Pauillac, and Margaux tasting second-wines-of-first-growths from all three appellations.

The line up:
Ch. Puygueraud Francs 2011
Ch. d’Aiguilhe Castillon 2011
Ch. Canon La Gaffeliere St. Emilion 2011
Ch. la Croix St Georges Pomerol 2011
Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan Rouge 2011
Ch. Smith Haut Lafitte Pessac Leognan Rouge 2011
Le Clarence de Haut Brion (2nd vin de Ch. Haut Brion) Pessac Leognan Rouge 2011
Ch. Cantemerle Haut Medoc 2011
Ch. Rauzan Segla Margaux 2011
Pavillon Rouge de Ch Margaux (2nd vin de Ch. Margaux) Margaux 2011
Ch. Gruaud Larose St. Julien 2011
Ch. Batailley Pauillac 2011
Ch Pichon Longueville – Comtesse de Lalande Pauillac 2011
Les Forts de Latour (2nd vin de Ch. Latour) Pauillac 2011
Ch. Calon Segur St. Estephe 2011

This Vintage Focus on Bordeaux 20011 will cost $100.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $105.26 regular. The class will meet at 7pm on Monday, April 17, 2017 at l’Alliance Française. To purchase your ticket, 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). 

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.

RIDGEVIEW English Sparkling Wines

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I’ve been tasting (and liking) English sparkling wines for a few years now … but only when I’m in Europe. Noe that can change. Check out my notes (on the Spec’s Fine Wine site) on the Ridgeview English Sparkling wines which have just arrived in Texas.
https://specsfinewine.com/…/ridgeviews-english-sparkling-w…/

An Haut Brion Event – Clarence Dillon Wines Tasting

An Haut Brion Event – Clarence Dillon Wines Tasting

A CLARENCE DILLON WINES TASTING
(Chx. Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion, etc. )

7pm   Thursday, January 12th   at The Wine School at l’Alliance Française

hautbrionPlease join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) in welcoming Joan Mourgues and Emmanuel Mathe of Clarence Dillon Wines for a tasting of and virtual visit to the properties of Clarence Dillon. We will taste 10 wines covering the range of their wines. The wines tasted will be served in Riedel Degustazione stemware and a selection of cheeses and bread will be served.

The lineup includes:
Clarendelle Rosé, Bordeaux, 2016
Clarendelle White, Bordeaux, 2015
La Clarté de Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan Blanc, 2012
Clarendelle Rouge, Bordeaux, 2012
Dragon de Quintus, St. Emilion, 2012
Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2011
Le Clarence de Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2011
Ch. La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2011
Ch. Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan Rouge, 2011
Clarendelle Amberwine, Monbazillac, 2012

The Clarence Dillon Wines Tasting will cost $100 per person (cash or check) or $105.26 (regular). To purchase your ticket, please contact Susan Coburn at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Française is French Cultural Center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., it 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 are not 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 – which is often the case as we regularly have waiting lists for these classes.

The State of Champagne 2016

Sometimes I get a little bit crazy about some aspect of wine. Right now that aspect is Champagne. ‘Tis the season so I’ve but together a 40 page overview of the State of Champagne today with a particular focus on Grower Champagnes.

Please click below for a .pdf  which you can read on screen or print to read later.

The STATE of CHAMPAGNE 2016

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HENRIOT Cuve 38: Maybe the Most Unique Champagne Ever Made

In 1990, Joseph Henriot set aside one vat to add a portion of outstanding Blanc de Blancs each year, capturing the essence of every harvest in a sort of solera. The idea was to create a perpetual blend of 100% Chardonnay from 100% Cote de Blancs grands cru vineyards (Mesnil-sur-Oger, Chouilly, Avize and Oger)

henriot-cuvee-38-grand-cru-blanc-de-blancs-brut-champagne-france-10676286In 2009, the first 1,000 magnums were drawn and put through the Champagne process. After another 5 years aging on the lees in Henriot’s cellars in Reims, the wine was disgorged and given a final dosage of less than 5 grams per liter. Each year, another 1,000 magnums will be released.

From Henriot:
“Its dosage of less than 5g/l gives full rein to the aromas of its terroir. It is a beautiful pale yellow with golden highlights and a gently efferevescent mousse, leading into a bouquet of fresh butter and white flowers. Cuve 38 also reveals both mineral and slightly creamy notes underpinned by hints of liquorice. On the palate, its richness is elegant and there are avours of citrus and ripe apricot. Finally, the wine delivers elements of both honey and viennoiserie, redolent of the Henriot style.

From Bear Dalton:
HENRIOT Cuve 38, Champagne, NV ($669.74 per Magnum)
100% Chardonnay all from Grand Cru Vineyards fermented using Methode Champenoise from all Reserve solera wines bottled in Magnum only with a less-than-.5 dosage.   Pale-gold-straw in color, fully sparkling; dry, medium-full-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and scant phenolics. Deep dense, unique wine. Pure expression of Chardonnay and chalk, mineral and yeast but most of all development. The wine evolves in the glass as if slowly flattens and warms. It really succeeds as wine, not just as sparkling wine. My first impression score was 94+. Three hours later it was 97. Two days later (the still 2/3s full magnum stored cold and tightly stoppered) it was 100. This is stunningly good, utterly unique Champagne that almost demands decanting to help it develop in a reasonable time. Or you could keep it for a few years and then … WOW!

Only 2 magnums available only at Spec’s at 2410 Smith Street in Houston.

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