Bear Dalton

  • Blogs

    December 27, 2013

    Houston Bubbles: Your New Year's Eve Champagne and Sparkling Wine Buying Guide

    Let's just cut to the chase. As one of the largest retailers and wholesalers of wine in the country, Spec's nearly always has the best pricing, especially when it comes to higher-end bottles. Houston Chronicle wine (and sports) writer Dale Robertson once called the outfit "Houston's 800-pound wine ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2013

    A Naughty Under-$20 Wine from the RhĂ´ne for July 4

    "Don't listen to the story. Listen to the wine." This nugget of wisdom, imparted on me by one of the top wine professionals in Texas, has rung true as I've tasted through a mixed case of wine assembled for me by the legendary Bear Dalton, fine wine buyer at Spec's. I had asked Bear to select 12 un ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2013

    Under $20 Bordeaux for Memorial Day, Earthy the Way I Like It

    "Fruit forward" and "fruit bomb" are descriptors commonly used to describe "big" red wines, the kind you want to break out for Memorial Day, when you're going to be grilling and smoking. And hey, I've got nothing against fruit: Wine is made from fruit and it should taste like fruit. If it doesn't t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 22, 2013

    Morning Wood: An Aged Bordeaux for Under $25

    Real estate is the name of the game of when it comes to finding extreme value in Bordeaux. Because the astronomical prices commanded by the top classified "growths" (i.e., vineyards) keep the wines out of reach for the ninety-nine percenters like me (and presumably you), value-conscious Bordeaux l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2013

    Maverick Wine Importer Doug Skopp Delivers Old World Flavors Against All Odds

    Maverick wine importer Doug Skopp (above) and his Houston-based Dionysus wine distribution company first came to my attention via our mutual friend and Houston Chronicle sports and wine writer, Dale Robertson. "You've got to meet Doug," Dale kept saying to me. "He's the guy bringing in the Barberas ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 29, 2013

    The Eating Our Words 100: Sean Beck, Sommelier Extraordinaire

    Who he is: Sommelier and wine consultant to a number of Houston establishments, Sean Beck started working as a waiter at Backstreet Cafe 15 years ago while he was pursuing a history degree at the University of Houston. "At the time, Backstreet had about a 55-bottle wine list," Beck recalls. Backst ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 7, 2013

    Taste Wine, Hook Up at Houston Wine Tastings This Month and Beyond

    The most important thing my mother ever taught me is that every wine tasting is a singles event. It's not the only wisdom she imparted to me. But especially in the light of what I do for a living (writing and talking about wine), it's the most important. Even back in the 1980s, when my mom was work ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 31, 2012

    Champagne Cliffs Notes: The Best Bubblies to Buy for New Year's Eve

    The weather outside was frightful when I rolled up to the mothership Spec's on Smith Street one afternoon last week. But it wasn't half as scary as the demolition derby that was unfolding in the parking lot there, between the old school Caddys, the C-Class Benzes, and the obligatory and ubiquitous ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 13, 2012

    The Eating...Our Words 100: Ellen Schwartz, Culinary Instructor & Private Chef

    Who she is: Ellen Schwartz, better known as Chef Ellen, has been in the kitchen for as long as she can remember. A native Houstonian, she and her family have a long history in the food industry. Her father and grandfather -- a butcher -- owned the Riverside Market grocery stores since the 40's. She ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 19, 2012

    Houston Wine Blogger Community Grows

    One of the things that I love the most about wine blogging is the community it creates and the way it brings together people from different corners of society and all walks of life. After all, I fell in love and decided to move to Texas after I met my wife Tracie P through wine blogging. The Housto ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 24, 2012

    Wine Classes in Houston This Fall, Foreign and Domestic

    If there were two lessons to be drawn from the current wave of wine connoisseurship in our country, they would be the following: 1. Wine is the new golf. 2. Every wine tasting is a singles event in disguise. There are a couple of cool wine-tasting series coming up in Houston, one foreign, the othe ... More >>

  • Dining

    June 14, 2012

    Texas Wines: Behind the Cellar Door

    Not all the Texas wine you buy is made from grapes grown in our state. In fact, most of it isn’t.

  • Blogs

    April 11, 2012

    Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

    Bear on Wine: Chapeau bas, as the French say (in other words, hats off), to Houston wine educator and Spec's veteran fine wine buyer Bear Dalton for his painfully frank post on bottle variation in one of the world's most coveted Super Tuscans -- Guado al Tasso by Antinori. In preparation for the Ho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 29, 2012

    Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

    TX Wine Lover: As the still youthful Texas wine industry continues to grow and find its footing (shifting away from the California Chardonnay-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Merlot paradigm), a handful of European grape varieties (beyond the classics of Bordeaux and Burgundy) have emerged as winners. Their succe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2012

    Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

    Wine Thoughts: There's so much groovy stuff happening this week in the Texas enoblogosphere. But we just have to open today's post with a nod to one of our favorite and most balanced wine bloggers here in our state, Sandra Crittenden, author of Wine Thoughts, who writes about one of our pet peeves: ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 25, 2012

    Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

    Bear on Wine: We've been having a blast following Texas wine legend Bear Dalton's new blog, Bear on Wine. This week he weighs in with some of his insights into cork damage with a post entitled (caps his) MURDER, HE TASTED or 'Death in the Desert'. We don't want to spoil the grand finale of this fi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 13, 2010

    Raising the Bar at the Bourbon Throwdown

    Photos by GroovehouseAdam Bryan finishes up his No Bogey Fizz cocktails.​Last night's Bourbon Throwdown at Branchwater Tavern was the fifth throwdown -- a casual, Iron Chef-style competition between local chefs -- that the Houston Chowhounds have thrown since June 2009. But far from being a re ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 2, 2010

    Upcoming Events

    ​Here's your chance to not only taste some of the best bourbon cocktails and bourbon-infused dishes in the city, but to meet -- yes, face-to-face -- the recently departed Robb Walsh. The long-awaited Bourbon Throwdown is this Monday, April 12, at Branchwater Tavern starting at 5 p.m. The fifth ... More >>

  • Dining

    March 3, 2005

    The Silver Tower Meets The Shining

    Liberté, égalité and fraternité in a log cabin on White Oak Bayou

  • Dining

    February 24, 2005

    Wine Geek Chic

    Which wine will you be serving at your Oscar party?

  • Dining

    December 25, 2003

    Sparkling Leftovers

    The five top-scoring champagne cocktails ranked on a scale of 1 to 10

  • Dining

    November 28, 2002

    Too Young to Drink

    It's that Beaujolais Nouveau time of year again, but has the hype worn thin?

  • Dining

    December 28, 2000

    Uncorking a Bargain

    A champagne buyer's guide