Wine Tasting Friday February 1 and Saturday February 2 at Specs 8102 Westhiemer at Old Farm



Tasting 2.1-2.2.13 Cropped

My Thirsty Friends,

Following a run of successful tastings, I am excited to announce that we will offer some boutique gems and customer favorites for tasting on Friday February 1st and Saturday February 2nd at Specs 8102 Westheimer at Old Farm.  As you will see below, we will pull some corks on some wines with very limited production and availability:

On Friday we have Mariposa Viceroy, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvedre, with a dollop of Cabernet Franc.   It is produced by Cru Winery and winemaker Ken Post.  It is not surprising that the Cru Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays have a following.  Cru wines consistently deliver well-balanced wines at a price that hits the “sweet spot” just under $20.  Only 515 cases made, so quantities are limited.

We also have another favorite that just landed, the Brutocao Pinot Noir.  This Mendocino appellation wine was introduced to Texas in the second half of last year.  Already it has become a wine that people ask for by name.  The wine is fresh with black cherry, plum and an exotic and spicy finish. $20

On Saturday, we have the WH Smith Bronze Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Howell Mountain Napa CA.  We first saw this wine late in 2012.  The four cases we received were gone in four days. Needless to say, a lot of people were left wondering, “Is it that good?”  Saturday is your chance to find out.  I personally think mountain fruit produces the best wines in Napa. Napa mountain wines are typically firmer than their valley counterparts with a nice mineral streak.  The WH Smith Bronze Label Cabernet Sauvignon sells for around $35 and quantities are miniscule.

We will also taste a red blend called Maison Rouge from Michel Schlumberger on Saturday.  This wine is a “kitchen sink” blend of Merlot, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec.  I have found quality and value in all the Schlumberger wines that I have tasted.  So, I wouldn’t expect anything less from this wine. Since the Schlumberger wines have become an exclusive at Specs, the prices have come down a bit, providing an even better value than before.  Maison Rouge is listed at $20 on the Michel Schlumberger website, we sell it for around $15.00,

We are looking forward to sharing these wines with you.  Hope to see you this weekend.  Forward this email to a fellow wine lover.


Stained Fingers, Purple Teeth, and Some Really Good Wines – Specs Liquors Bordeaux Cru Classe Tasting 2010 Vintage

I had an exciting opportunity to taste over 50 2010 Bordeaux at the Specs Liquors Cru Classe tasting last week.  The impressive list of wines included the newly elevated Chateau Angelus, Lynch Bages, Chateau Clinet, Pichon Baron, and Smith Haut Lafite. For the complete list click here.

With so many wines and the social atmosphere at the event, it was impossible to fully contemplate each wine.   When this is the case, I employ the speed dating approach, tasting relatively quickly, making note of wines that stand out from the bunch.

The first wine I tasted was Smith Haut Lafite Blanc.  I immediately thought “This wine is really good.”  This impression held throughout the tasting.  In a sea of red wines with only four whites offered at this tasting, the Smith Haut Lafite would definitely hit my top five list.  Other standouts were Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Chateau Angelus, and Chateau Clinet.   Don’t get me wrong.  There were many excellent wines,  This is just a short list of wines that

Early drinking wines would be Clerc Milon, d’Armailhac, Haut Batailley, Clos I’ Oratoire, Cannon la Gaffeliere, along with the sub-$30 wines and most of the seconds.

Based on this sampling, my impression is that the hype for 2010 Bordeaux is justified.  The Bordelais characterize the 2010 vintage as classic Bordeaux.  In comparison, the wines of 2009 are slightly fatter and rounder, and if you must, would be better for early drinking.  The majority of the 10s were understandably tight with plenty of teeth-staining tannin.  Nonetheless,   the wines were sleek, precise, and hinted at the magnificent wines they will become as they integrate and soften a bit.

Like the 2005 and 2009s, 2010 is another vintage that will provide value at the lower price tier.  it is a safe bet to pick a wine at any price point from this vintage and expect to find a relatively nice wine. While the inexpensive 2005s are drinking pretty well at the moment, a 2009 or 2010 could benefit from a year or two of cellaring or an hour in a decanter.

I left the Specs Cru Classe tasting with stained fingers, purple teeth and confirmation that all the hype regarding the 2010 vintage is justified.  It is seldom I taste over 50 wines and don’t find a single dog in the bunch.  This was that type of tasting.

Take a look at the list of available Bordeaux from this tasting.  Pricing is quoted on individual bottles and cases.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Two Buck Upchuck

With Trader Joe’s recently opening stores in the Houston area, I felt this article lifted from the business section of the Houston Chronicle would be interesting.

“The wine known as “Two-Buck Chuck” will need a new name after the bargain beverage’s price was raised.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that over the past decade shoppers at Trader Joe’s California stores paid $1.99 for a bottle of Charles Shaw Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.

The new $2.49 price tag has shoppers searching for new names.  Some joked that it should now be called “Inflation Chuck” or “Upchuck”.

Trader Joes sold 5 million cases of the wine last year.  At trader Joe’s Houston locations this month the price has been $2.99.

the maker, Bronco Wine Company, said it was able to keep the price so low because it owns 45,000 acres of vineyard, which insulated it from large fluctuations in grape prices.

For those of you who thought the “upchuck” in the title was in reference to the quality of the wine, I haven’t tasted the wines yet.  Incidentally, Spec’s has brought in a line of wines called “Mode” in anticipation of the “Two Buck Chuck” invasion.  Mode is made in Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe.  The line features Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Red and White Moscato.  It sells for $2.89. I haven’t tasted those wines either. I see a blind face-off in the near future.

I can see the headline: “Blind Tasting – Upchuck Wines!!”