VAIL " This week's Wine University at Larkspur Restaurant will feature the Nebbiolo grape of northwestern Italy and its most famous "royal Italian" wines. The Piedmontese word "nebbia" refers to the fog that crosses over the Apennine Mountains every fall and settles just as the grapes are ripening.
Barolo wine, called "the king," is known for its massive tannins, high acidity and high alcohol content. It is fragrant and robust in the mouth. Barbaresco, or "the queen," is much softer and exhibits elegance, grace and finesse.
Italian wine importer Steve Lewis, of Boulder, will lead the discussion at 6 p.m. on Thursday. He will share wines from two vintages that had different weather and the effect that has on the final product. From terroir to winemaking techniques, each of the wines have their own distinctive features.
Larkspur sommelier Kevin Furtado is looking forward to this week's class, he said. Furtado got his start in the wine industry as a receiving clerk for an Italian wine importer in his native Connecticut in 1997.
Since then Furtado has grown his career by developing Larkspur's wine cellar to 650 selections from all over the world.
"The list is all about discovery," he said. "I love to share my passion for wine with our guests."
That passion has rewarded Larkspur with many accolades, including the prestigious Wine Spectator Award for eight consecutive years. This year, esteemed wine critic Anthony Dias Blue will launch the Crystal Beverage Awards and has invited Furtado to be one of the judges.
In September, Furtado will take his semi-annual sabbatical to Santa Barbara County, Calif. where he is making his own wine under the label K.Furtado Wines. His inaugural release, a syrah, will be available in Spring 2009.
Wine University seating is limited. For reservations call 970-754-8050. Cost for the class is $40 per person. For more information, visit www.larkspurvail.com.
If you go ...
What: Wine University
When: Thurday at 6 p.m.
Where: Larkspur, Vail
Cost: $40 per person, seating is limited
More information: call 970-754-8050 for reservations
Other Wine University events
Thursday: The Royal Family of Northern Italy: Barolo and Barbaresco
Aug. 28: It's is not just for celebrating: The Bubblies