December 6th — Bordeaux is a charming town on the banks of the Gironde estuary, just east of the Atlantic Ocean. The wines from this region vary depending on which side of the river, or bank, they come from as the soils, climate and grape varieties are planted to best adapt to a particular area. Bordeaux wines are almost always blends of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with three other permitted grapes sometimes added, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Thanks to wine connoisseur and Emperor, Napoléon III, Bordeaux wines have a lot of class. Actually, in 1855, Napoléon set up a classification system to identify different quality levels of wines made by some of the various Châteaux in the region. This system can be a bit confusing, especially with 5 different levels within the Grand Cru Classification, and that is just for left bank wines. One of the most expensive Bordeaux wines, Château Pétrus, isn’t even on the list! So with over 7000 châteaux making wines, and only a few on the classification list, how do you choose? We will learn about and taste the difference between a left bank and a right bank wine, and why they are the way they are. We will also discuss the other wines that attempt to emulate a Bordeaux wine, like Super Tuscans from Italy and Meritage wines from California and some new contenders from China.