Taste 2013 Bordeaux at the Upcoming Mostly Cru Classe Bordeaux Tasting in Houston

Clockwise, from top left: Ivanhoe Johnston, a fifth-generation wine merchant and organizer of the Bordeaux delegation, poses with the owner of Château Talbot at last year's tasting in Houston; Château La Croix St. Georges; The owner of Chateau Daugay; Chateau Leoville Poyferre.EXPAND
Clockwise, from top left: Ivanhoe Johnston, a fifth-generation wine merchant and organizer of the Bordeaux delegation, poses with the owner of Château Talbot at last year's tasting in Houston; Château La Croix St. Georges; The owner of Chateau Daugay; Chateau Leoville Poyferre.
Photos by Mai Pham

On February 1, 2016, a delegation of Bordeaux producers — winemakers, Château owners and their representatives — will descend upon Houston to present 55 mostly Cru Classé Bordeaux wines from the 2013 vintage.

This will be the fifth time that Houston plays host to these producers in a walk-around-style tasting event sponsored by Spec’s Liquor Stores, to be held at the beautiful Crystal Ballroom at the Post Rice Lofts.

The tasting event will be particularly interesting because the 2013 vintage is widely regarded as a bad year for wine in the Bordeaux region thanks to a season riddled with heavy rain and hailstorms. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported that it was “one of the worst grape harvests in decades.”

A phone interview with Spec’s Fine Wine buyer Bear Dalton sheds some light on what to expect from this 2013 tasting.

“When I went over to Bordeaux in 2014 to taste the wine, I thought it was going to be tough. Turns out there were a lot of pretty wines made in 2013, but because the pool had already been poisoned, there was no way to sell the wines. We [Spec’s] didn’t buy 2013,” he states.

“Last October, when I went to a 2013 dinner at Coronado Club, however, the wines showed very well. Not great — vintages are so often characterized as either great or bad these days — but not bad either,” he says.

Dalton went on to say that for the most part, he didn’t taste the green, under-ripe flavor associated with wines produced from grapes that don’t get enough sun. “In August 2013, the sun came out, grapes got direct exposure to sunlight and the chemical [that gives it that green flavor] burned off.”

Instead, he says, “A lot of the 2013 Bordeaux almost taste Burgundian, in the sense that they have more acidity and freshness, displaying more of a reliance on fruit and less of a reliance on tooth-staining color and tannin.”

So, what can you expect if you go to this tasting?

“What people are going to taste is a fresh, pretty wine. This is a great opportunity to taste the wines before they buy and know what they’re getting into. This vintage will be good for early drinking, not a wine to keep for a long time.”

“The Bordelaise feel like they want people to at least taste the wine. The wine will be there to taste. We’ll have an offering. People can either respond to the offering or not.”

Attendees will have the chance to taste through and experience 55 wines, get to know winemakers and their representatives, and decide whether it's worth it to buy. There will be some bargains for taking: “These wines will be priced as well as they can price them,” says Dalton. “If they’re used to seeing $25, they can probably see that same wine at $15 a bottle.”

Event Details:
Date: Monday, February 1, 2016
Time: 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location: The Crystal Ballroom, 909 Texas 
Cost: $80/per person + tax
RSVP: Susan Coburn at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

The Wines:
Pomerol: Chx. Clinet, Croix St. Georges, and La Pointe (along with 2nd vin Ballade de La Pointe)
St. Emilion: Chx. Canon la Gaffeliere, Clos l’Oratoire, Daugay, Grand Corbin Despagne, La Confession, Larcis Ducasse, Pavie Macquin, and Berliquet
Castillon: Ch. d’Aiguilhe
Francs: Ch. Puygueraud
Bordeaux: Chx. Croix Mouton and le Conseiller
St. Estephe: Chx. Phelan Segur and les Ormes de Pez
Pauillac: Chx. Pichon Baron (with 2nd vin Les Griffons), Pibran, Lynch Bages (with 2nd vin Echo de Lynch Bages), d’Armailhac, Clerc Milon, Grand Puy Lacoste (and 2nd vin Lacoste Borie), Haut Batailley, and Haut Bages Liberal
St. Julien: Chx. Branaire Ducru, Leoville Barton and Langoa Barton, Leoville Poyferrre, Talbot, St. Pierre, and Gloria
Margaux: Chx. Brane Cantenac (along with 2nd vin Baron de Brane), Cantenac Brown, and Ferriere
Haut Medoc: Chx. Chasse Spleen, Camensac, Mauvesin Barton, and Senejac
Pessac Leognan Reds: Chx. Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, and Clos Marsalette
Dry Whites: Chx. Carbonnieux, Domaine de Chevalier, Smith Haut Lafitte, and Blanc de Lynch Bages (2014)
Sweet Whites: Chx. Suduiraut (along with 2nd vin Lions de Suduiraut) and Coutet


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