A few words about Bordeaux

Notice the appellation sticker below the main label.

The best place to start learning wine is with Bordeaux and Burgundy. While both terms are used a lot, many people remain unclear about what they mean. First, both refer to regions or appellations in France, not a specific type of grape. So right away, you know anybody who says “I’d like a glass of Californian Bordeaux” has no idea what they’re talking about.

Even fewer people know the specific grapes that make the two regions famous. Burgundy is simple to remember: Nearly all of its red wines are pinot noir and nearly all of its whites are chardonnay.

Bordeaux, which is to the southwest of Burgundy and close to the sea, is much more complex. Several grape varieties are blended in an art that is the basis for the region’s fame.

Tonight, Em Chamas Brazilian Grill hosts a wine dinner and seminar on how world-famous Bordeaux blends are achieved. The instructor is none other than Tom Watson’s brother Ridge Watson, who holds a master degree in oenology (that’d be the study of all things wine) and helped start California’s Joullian Vineyards.

California has weather similar to that in Bordeaux and grows many of the same grapes. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc are the three main red grapes and three of Joullian Vineyards’ specialties. So while wines made from California grapes won’t technically be the same as the famous French versions, blenders such as Ridge can get pretty darn close.

The evening features five courses including scallops, oysters, quail and, of course, Brazilian Angus steak. The dinner/seminar begins at 7 p.m. and costs $55. To make reservations and be on the way to blending your own Bordeauxs, call 816-505-7100 or visit EmChamas.com.

(Image via Flickr: Kwong Yee Cheng)

Categories: A&E, Dining