A. Wine with so much tannin, it is unlikely to age well

B. Wine with tannin in balance with its acidity

C. Wine with tannin that does not feel overly astringent on the palate

D. Wine with tannin that has mellowed by aging in new oak barrels


So-called “ripe tannin” is a positive attribute that results from grapes that have been harvested at an ideal point of maturity. Tannin in a wine is beneficial, for it gives red wines a firm structure as well as the potential for aging. Tannin is both tasted and felt. Young, highly tannic wines have a slight bitterness (like espresso or chocolate) and a drying, astringent feel. If the wine has been made from mature grapes with ripe tannin, the bitter dry quality of tannin will be ameliorated. Excessively dry, harsh, scratchy tannin is a negative and may never ameliorate. Harsh tannin, often called green or unripe tannin, most often results when grapes have been picked before they are completely physiologically mature.

STARK-CONDÉ Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

(Stellenbosch, South Africa) $25

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of South Africa’s leading red grapes, and the top wines are both fantastic—and fantastically priced. Bold, sleek, and delicious, this Cabernet from Stark-Condé leads with a big wave of rich blackberry and cassis flavors, then finishes with a streak of coffee, dark chocolate and mineral notes. The impressive tannin here calls for some grilled chops. The story of Stark-Condé is an amazing coming-together of nationalities and cultures—Japanese, Cuban, American, and of course South African. Black winemaker Rüdger van Wyk is a rising star.

92 points KM

Available at Vivino

The WineSpeed Blog

Answer: True.

Delicatessen is a hybrid of the grape varieties R.W. Munson and Delicious and is known for its tolerance to heat and drought. Pioneering viticulturist Thomas Volney Munson created Delicatessen in 1902. Munson, who studied wild grapes native to North America, catalogued more than 300 grape varieties. Most importantly, his work helped to save the European wine industry in the 19th century, after phylloxera destroyed more than 6 million acres of vineyards. Vintners grafted European (Vitis vinifera) grape varieties onto Munson’s hybrid rootstocks, which were tolerant of the ravaging insect. Today, viticulturists are reviving Munson’s work and studying heritage grapes for their potential in adapting to climate change. We’re not sure why Munson named one of his hybrids Delicatessen. Personally, I like the ring of “Pastrami on Rye.”

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Scale used in Germany to indicate the ripeness of grapes. Developed in the nineteenth century by the physicist Ferdinand Oechsle, Oechsle (ERKS-la) measures the weight of the grape juice or must. Since the contents of the must are primarily sugar and acids, the must weight is an indication of ripeness. According to traditional German law, ripeness categories are based on Oechsle levels that are specified for each grape variety and wine region (meaning they can change region to region). For example, for a riesling wine in the Mosel to be considered a spätlese, it must have 76 degrees Oechsle; in the Rheingau, a riesling must have 85 degrees Oechsle to be a spätlese. These adjustable levels reflect the fact that in some very cold regions like the Mosel, ripeness is harder to achieve.

The Incredible Crayères

In the 4th century, in order to have enough stone to construct Reims (the main town in the Champagne region), the Romans dug three hundred immensely deep quarries in the region’s famous chalky rock. These vertical chalk pits, called crayères, are used today by the houses to age Champagne. They are construction miracles that seem to defy physics, and descending into their eerily quiet, cold, dark, humid chambers is an otherworldly experience that no wine lover should miss. Because the best chalk was often well underground, many crayères go down as far as 120 feet (37 meters). They are shaped like pyramids, so the deepest parts of the crayères are also the widest and the tops of the pits are narrow. This shape limited air exposure in the quarry and kept the chalk moist and soft, thus easier to cut into large construction blocks. During World War I, when Reims was extensively bombed, about 20,000 people lived in the dark crayères where no sunlight penetrates for years. During this time, some of the crayères under Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart were makeshift hospitals, and under Pommery were a school.


Percentage increase in retail sales last year of U.S. Sauvignon Blancs in the $25-$50 price range. The year prior, sales of these same super-premium Sauvignons climbed 68%, according to SipSource, a wholesale beverage tracking service. Sauvignon Blanc’s refreshing flavors and good value for money are thought to be factors driving the varietal’s popularity.


Amount (in millions of US$) that the USDA will invest in 2023 to manage wildfire risks from climate change. The money will go to nearly 40 Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Partnership projects which focus on forest conservation and management. USDA experts, the Forest Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service plan to work with private landowners and farmers.


Number of years ago that humans first began to cultivate grapes according to new research by an international group of scientists and published in the journal Science. Previous research estimated that grapevine domestication began about 8,500 years ago. Equally surprising: the research suggests that grapes were domesticated concurrently in Western Asia and the Caucasus, which are many hundreds of miles apart.

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