A. Champagne

B. Bordeaux

C. Loire Valley

D. Burgundy


The Loire Valley of France, southwest of Paris. Coco Chanel, fashion legend and inventor of the little black dress (LBD), was born there in the village of Saumur. In the nearby village of Chinon, the peasant Joan of Arc presented herself to the Dauphin, later Charles VII, and asked to head his army.  And the valley’s majestic Château d’Ussé was the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s most famous books, Sleeping Beauty.


A. Casablanca Valley, Chile

B. Mendoza, Argentina

C. Colchagua Valley, Chile

D. Serra Gaúcha, Brazil


Mendoza. (Was this too easy?) Mendoza’s vineyards sit against the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains at altitudes ranging from 2900 to 5200 feet above sea level. The mountains wring out most of the moisture from storms before the rain can reach the vineyards. Therefore, grapevines in Mendoza rely almost entirely on irrigation, and Argentine growers control water precisely to regulate the vines’ growth. (This also helps to assure good quality). Interestingly, the city of Mendoza also depends on a unique irrigation: Cement-lined shallow canals carry snowmelt from the mountains to neighborhoods throughout the city.


A. It was named in honor of Washington DC, so that the United States would have a place named “Washington” on both coasts.

B. It was named after Fort Washington, where the state’s first grapes were planted in 1825 by the “Washington Settlers,” a Protestant community from western England.

C. It was named after George Washington, first president of the United States.

D. It was named after an English explorer of the Canadian Pacific coast, Nigel Washington, whose surname comes from Old English, literally "estate of a man named Wassa.”


But it’s complicated. In 1791, the colonial commission tasked with the responsibility to name a new national capital called it the “Territory of Columbia.” Columbia was a poetic name for the United States at the time, and the words territory and district were used interchangeably to designate regions. Some sixty years later when settlers in northern Oregon asked the government to establish an independent “Columbia Territory” (which would include the Columbia River Valley), Congress was vexed. A “Territory of Columbia” already existed. Congress agreed to grant the settlers independence from Oregon, but named the new state Washington to honor the first president. Meanwhile, slowly over time, the Territory of Columbia (DC) had also slowly been more often referred to as Washington District of Columbia to honor George Washington. Modern Congressmen argued that, in any case, the area was really a city, not a territory and not a state. In the end, few people, it appears, have minded the duplication, especially since now, there are more than 120 places in the U.S. named Washington or with Washington in their name.


A. Nothing. Anjou is a town in the Loire, so the two terms are synonymous.

B. Rosé d’Anjou is made from pinot noir but rosé du Loire is not necessarily made from that grape.

C. Rosé de Loire is still and rosé d’Anjou is sparkling.

D. Rosé de Loire is dry and rosé d’Anjou is a little sweet.


Created in 1974, the designation rosé de Loire refers to dry rosés made in the central Loire region (Anjou and Touraine) mainly from pineau d’Aunis and/or gamay grapes. Rosé d’Anjou is an older designation (it’s been an AOC since 1936) and refers to a slightly sweet style of rosé.  It too is made from a variety of grapes, although the main ones in this case are grolleau, cabernet franc, and/or malbec. By the way, it’s tempting to think that Provence “owns” rosé in France, but a whole lot of French rosé comes from the Loire. For example, on average, more than 17 million bottles of rosé d’Anjou are produced annually.


A. Used to minimize harsh tannin as in young red wines since concrete tends to absorb tannin molecules

B. Used as fermentation vessels and well-liked in certain circumstances since concrete does not contribute an oaky flavor and holds temperatures well

C. Used to contribute a wet rock flavor to wine which adds to the wine’s complexity

D. Used in the making of sweet wines because the thick concrete walls guard against oxidation during long fermentations


Concrete tanks have been popular in Europe for decades. Today, concrete is also made into large “eggs” used by many top estates worldwide for fermentation. Because concrete is slow to warm up and once warm, slow to cool, it holds fermentation temperatures well. Concrete, like oak, is slightly porous allowing minute amounts of oxygen to reach the wine and help it to evolve—all without the oak flavor that a new barrel would impart. And finally, the egg shape of a concrete egg fosters a natural rolling action during fermentation which helps the fermentation proceed evenly.


A. The pulverized volcanic material found in the soils of the Rutherford appellation within the Napa Valley

B. The dirt (and in summer, very dusty) roads that were built in the late 1870s in order to construct Inglenook, the palatial chateau-style winery founded in 1879 by Gustave Niebaum in Rutherford in the Napa Valley

C. The unique dirt-like smell and taste of the wines made in the Rutherford appellation of the Napa Valley

D. The grainy sediment found in well-aged bottles of cabernet sauvignon from the Rutherford appellation of the Napa Valley


Some mystery still surrounds the term “Rutherford Dust” and its creator. That said, in his book “Private Reserve” about the history of Rutherford’s iconic Beaulieu Vineyards, the late writer Rod Smith recounts the first time André Tchelistcheff tasted the 1936 Beaulieu Cabernet Sauvignon (which later became the first vintage of the winery’s Georges de Latour Private Reserve bottling).  He writes, “The most intriguing thing about the wine was a whiff of clean dirt with a high-toned note something like pencil shavings.  André recognized it as the expression of a distinctive terroir—the very fragrance of Rutherford. To describe it, he would later coin the term ‘Rutherford dust’.” Tchelistcheff, considered by many to be the “father of California winemaking,” was Beaulieu’s chief winemaker and vice president from 1938 to 1973. Rob Davis, winemaker at Jordan winery, and a mentee of Tchelistcheff’s adds, “If there is one thing that André repeated over and over again was the importance of terroir.  He spent a lot of time tasting grapes in Beaulieu’s vineyards and felt that the blocks in Rutherford had a special taste, smell and structure.” My thanks also to Joel Aiken (Beaulieu’s winemaker from 1985 to 2009, and another Tchelistcheff mentee) for help with this research.


A. Pomerol

B. Pauillac

C. Gevrey-Chambertin

D. Chablis


The Burgundian village Gevrey-Chambertin is famous for its red wines—all made from pinot noir. Of the 33 Grand Cru vineyards in the entire Burgundy region, 9 are in this one village alone. The most important of the Grand Crus in the village is the one called simply Chambertin. As for the other choices, both Pomerol and Pauillac are in Bordeaux. And Chablis, the famous chardonnay-producing northernmost village of Burgundy, has (technically speaking) just one Grand Cru vineyard. That vineyard, by the way, is divided into seven climats (named plots of land), leading many people to think Chablis has seven Grand Cru vineyards. Alas, not. (If this seems a bit, well, confusing, flip on over to the Burgundy chapter of The Wine Bible, page 197, where all is explained).


A. Chianti Classico

B. Brunello di Montalcino

C. Carmignano

D. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano


Brunello di Montalcino is made 100% from the brunello clone of sangiovese (actually, a whole group of related clones). Brunello di Montalcino is Tuscany’s most revered and longest-lived wine. Chianti Classico allows a maximum 20% inclusion of other grapes while vino nobile di Montepulciano allows up to 30% (maximum 20% canaiolo), and Carmignano 50%.


A. Chenin Blanc

B. Sauvignon Blanc

C. Pinot Blanc

D. Riesling


Before Prohibition, many of the most important vintners in the Napa Valley were German. Immigrants such as Jacob Schram, Frederick Beringer, and Charles Krug forged the first wine industry in the Napa Valley using the grape they knew best: riesling. Even by the 1940s when Stony Hill Winery famously planted the largely unknown chardonnay grape in the Napa Valley, riesling plantings were four times greater than that variety. Vineyard acreage devoted to riesling declined precipitously throughout California in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, but a new surge of excitement for the varietal means that plantings are once again on the upswing. Still, today, riesling plantings comprise just over 4000 acres in California; chardonnay, 95,000 acres.


A. On the north island of New Zealand

B. In western Virginia

C. On the “downs” of southern England

D. In the southeast corner of Arizona


Willcox, in Cochise County (Cochise was an Apache warrior chief), is an AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Arizona, and part of that state’s emerging wine country. The town itself, near the border with Mexico, has a population of about 3700. Numerous grape varieties are grown including petite syrah, sangiovese, syrah, grenache, tempranillo, and cabernet sauvignon. Approximately 70% of Arizona’s wine grapes are grown there.