VAIL, Colorado --Wine University at Larkspur in Vail, Colorado studies Burgundy this week - the place and the wine.
Known amongst aficionados as the Holy Grail, the wines of this region provide a lifetime of learning. The terroir, the vintages, the grapes and the appellations meld to produce excellent wines that are world-renowned.
The Burgundy region is almost in the dead center of France, edging toward the Eastern side of the country. It covers 110 miles, stretching from Chablis to Lyons.
The area is divided into 6 "Appellation d'Origine Controlee," or place of origin. This system sets very strict rules as to what can be planted in the grape growing regions of France.
The system also determines a hierarchy of the quality of the wines. The quality level is not set according to who makes it, but rather by the vineyard sites themselves. This means that many producers can make a wine from the same top-rated vineyard, which is why it can be confusing to read a Burgundy label.
The grapes grown in Burgundy are pinot noir, chardonnay and gamay and the wines produced are meant to be aged. Compared to wines made from the same grape varieties in the U.S., Burgundies typically have more acidity from the cooler temperatures of the region, yielding wines with a distinctly different style.
Larkspur wine director, Kevin Furtado, is passionate about the subject of Burgundy - the grapes, the family estates, the winemaking history.
"Burgundy is a mysterious subject," Furtado said. "I want to help other wine enthusiasts sort through the different elements - from understanding the areas, to reading the labels, to enjoying the nuances of the wines' flavors."
Hone your palate on wines of subtlety and finesse with Kevin Furtado as he sheds light on the complex subject of Burgundy. The class is held at Larkspur, Thursday, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. $40 per person. For reservations, please call 970-754-8050.
For details on the entire Wine University syllabus, visit www.larkspurvail.com/documents/WineUschedule_000.pdf.