Share

A. Château Margaux

B. Château Mouton-Rothschild

C. Château Lafite-Rothschild

D. Château Haut-Brion

E. Château Latour

B.

Château Mouton-Rothschild was originally a Second Growth. But owner Baron Philippe de Rothschild petitioned the government for twenty years to have Château Mouton-Rothschild named a First Growth. In 1973, his hard work paid off, and his château was given the coveted status Premier Cru (First Growth). This classification system began when Napoléon III asked Bordeaux’s top château owners to rate their wines from best to worst for the Paris Universal Exhibition. They declined. The Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce became involved and ranked the wines on one quantitative measure: how much the wines sold for. This ranged from Premier Crus (First Growths) down to Fifth Growths. In the end, 61 châteaux were classified under the original 1855 Classification treatise —but there was one provision: it could never be revised. And, until Philippe de Rothschild came along, it wasn’t.

Share

A. Cypress

B. Pomegranate

C. Olive

D. Pine

D.

To make retsina, small amounts of resin from the Aleppo pine tree are added to savatiano grape juice as it ferments. Retsina’s distinctive piney flavor with a turpentine-like aroma is delicious when paired with many Greek meze (small appetizers served like Spanish tapas). Resinated wines have a long history in Greece: traces of pine resin have been found in Greek wine amphorae dating back to the 13th century B.C. Now, retsina is made all over the country, although most is made in Attica, the wine region that surrounds Athens.

Share

A. Chardonnay

B. Ull de Llebre

C. Parellada

D. Xarel-lo

B.

While Ull de Llebre (or “eye of the hare” in Catalan) is a Spanish grape grown in the Penedès, it is not a part of the seven grapes legally allowed to make cava. (It is, however, the local name for tempranillo). While chardonnay often adds finesse to cavas, the varieties macabeo, parellada, and xarel-lo are the most important. Macabeo is fruity and aromatic with good acidity. Parellada is the most delicate of these Spanish grapes and are often grown in higher, cooler vineyards. And you can thank xarel-lo for giving cava most of its personality by contributing good acidity and a generous, round body.

Share

A. Provence

B. Burgundy

C. Alsace

D. Beaujolais

D.

The wine Beaujolais (the region of the same name in France) is made using carbonic maceration. The process enhances fruity aromas and fruity flavors in the wine. This, along with gamay grapes, gives Beaujolais its distinctive and expressive fruitiness. During this process, entire clusters of grapes (often hand-harvested so that the clusters are rot-free and perfectly intact) are put whole into the fermenting tank. The grapes on the bottom, crushed by the weight of the grapes on top, release their juices, which immediately starts fermenting naturally due to wild yeasts on the grape skins, bathing the grapes on top in carbonic dioxide gas (a by-product of fermentation). Those top-layer grapes eventually explode from the pressure of CO2, exposing them to yeasts in the tank and thus causing them to ferment as well. Carbonic maceration could theoretically be used with any grape, but it is particularly successful with ultra-fruity grapes like gamay.

Share

A. New Zealand

B. Chile

C. South Africa

D. Portugal

B.

Phylloxera—a tiny, yellow, insect—has spread through much of the world, destroying vineyards in its wake as the insects feed on vines’ roots, ultimately sucking the life out of the plants. However, a phylloxera epidemic has not (some would say not yet) hit Chile. Secluded on the western coast of South America, Chile is hemmed in by the Andes Mountains to the east, the Atacama Desert to the north, and Antarctica to the south. The country’s physical isolation, dry climate, sandy soils, and use of flood irrigation all have helped protect against phylloxera.

Share

A. Sur Lie Aging

B. Extended Maceration

C. Diacetyl

D. Barrel Fermentation

A.

Sur lie is French for “on the lees,” and refers to the practice of leaving wine in contact with yeast lees (decomposed yeast cells). The broken-down yeast cells release proteins and other compounds that then interact with the wine. In particular, proteins will bind with tannins in the wine—a good thing since tannin can make white wine feel coarse. By aging a white wine sur lie, the impression of creaminess is heightened. Flavor compounds are also released by the lees, and wines aged for a long time sur lie can take on nut, bread, and yeasty flavors. Because they are heavier than the wine around them, yeast lees will slowly settle to the bottom of the barrel. Left packed together and undisturbed for a long time, they may form foul-smelling sulphur compounds. To prevent this, the lees are often stirred back up into solution—a process called bâtonnage in French. A wine may be left sur lie for weeks or months; it’s up to the winemaker.

Share

A. Champagne

B. Bordeaux

C. Loire Valley

D. Burgundy

C.

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.

Share

A. Casablanca Valley, Chile

B. Mendoza, Argentina

C. Colchagua Valley, Chile

D. Serra Gaúcha, Brazil

B.

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.

Share

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.”

C.

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.

Share

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.

D.

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.