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Answer: True.

Well, there’s one. Originally built by two Frenchmen, Jean Adolphe Brun and Jean Chaix, the Brun and Chaix Oakville Winery became the 9th bonded winery in California in 1877. In the late 1870s, as wineries were founded and legally permitted, they were required to post a bond (a type of insurance) to guarantee payment of the federal excise taxes they would incur based on production volumes. Permit numbers were given in sequence beginning with, of course, BW-CA-1 (California bonded winery #1). Today the winemaking facility is called Napa Wine Company and is owned by the Pelissa and Hoxsey families of Ghost Block Estate Wines.

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Answer: False.

In fact, they could not be more different. South Australia is one of the six Australian states. (These are comparable to states in the United States, although Australian states are much larger.) Within the state of South Australia are some of the country’s most famous wine regions, including the Barossa Valley (renowned for shiraz), the Clare Valley (remarkable for dry riesling), and Coonawarra (known for cabernet sauvignon). By contrast, South Eastern Australia is not a state, and in a sense, not a place in the same sense. It’s a legal designation that means the wine in the bottle is a blend of wines made from grapes that can be grown thousands of miles apart, often in three different states—New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. To give a New World analogy, a wine labeled South Eastern Australia is the rough equivalent of a wine hypothetically made from a blend of grapes grown in California, Oregon, Washington State, and Texas and then called “Western United States.” Not surprisingly, South Eastern Australia wines are often inexpensive wines meant for everyday drinking, while wines from South Australia are among the most expensive in the country.

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Answer: True.

Forget what you think you know about Moscato D’Asti, often misidentified as cheap, sweet, bubbly plonk. The Italian semi-sparkling wine called Moscato d’Asti DOCG hails from Piedmont, also home of towering Barolos—many producers of which have long made Moscato d’Asti as well. DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) certifies that the wine comes from a delineated place, is made using a specific method and uses traditional grapes. Moscato d’Asti is made in a style that is fresh, fruity, gently fizzy, sweet and low in alcohol, at around 5% abv. Its signature is its aromatics, courtesy of a compound called linalool which is also found in mint and citrus flowers. They burst from the glass with apricot, peach, tangerine, rose, orange blossom and even lychee. Moscato d’Asti is made from the grape muscat blanc à petits grains –the second most planted variety in Piedmont behind barbera. Muscat blanc à petits grains is just one of hundreds of grape varieties with the word “muscat” in its name even though most of these are genetically distinct.  Today, grapes with muscat in their names are made in virtually every style imaginable: dry, sweet, still, sparkling, and fortified. And grown virtually everywhere in the word—from France, Spain, and Austria, to Cyprus, South Africa, and Slovenia to Israel, Oregon, and Greece.

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Answer: False.

While Oregon has opted to regulate itself even more strictly than U.S. law mandates, it hasn’t gone that far….yet. According to current Oregon law, the state’s most widely produced wines: pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot blanc and 50 other varieties must contain at least 90 percent of whatever grape variety is named on the label. (U.S. law mandates a minimum of 75 percent.). Bills still pending before the state legislature may increase that requirement to 100% by 2030. However, there are 18 grape varieties exempted from the 90 percent rule (including cabernet sauvignon, syrah, sauvignon blanc) as they have a long history of being used for blending in their respective European regions. Oregon also requires that 95% of grapes must be from the AVA named on the label (compared to federal law of 85%)

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Answer: True.

The English word “coffee” comes from the Dutch koffie, which came from the Turkish kahve, which is borrowed from the Arabic qahwa. Qahwa is a short form of qahhwat al-bun which means “wine of the bean.” In Europe, coffee was called “the wine of Arabia.” Fermenting the coffee berry is still done today in Ethiopia and some Arabian countries.

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Answer: False.

Close but no cigar. Côte Rôtie (COAT roh-TEE), or “roasted slope” is home to some of the steepest vineyards in all of France—gradients can be up to 60 degrees or more in some of the steepest parts of the granite, terraced plantings. While the name implies hot weather, the Côte Rôtie has a relatively cool climate as it lies at the far northern boundary of the region. In fact, to optimize warmth, ancient growers chose slopes that faced south toward the sun, which affords the vines more light as well as heat.

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Answer: False.

Despite the word riesling in its name, the central European grape welschriesling (pronounced: WELSH-rees-ling) is not directly related to the noble German variety at all. Nor are olaszrizling (Hungary), riesling italico (Friuli, Italy) or cape riesling (South Africa).  While it’s not riesling, welschriesling is used to make delicious late-harvest, botrytized wines, especially in the Burgenland region of Austria. BTW, true riesling is considered by many—possibly even most—wine experts to be the most noble and unique white grape variety in the world.

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Answer: True.

The single region of Bordeaux—the largest Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in France—covers more territory than all of the vineyard areas of Germany put together, and is nearly three times larger than the vineyard acreage of New Zealand. Even after a six-year effort to pare back acreage, Bordeaux has 279,000 acres (112,891 hectares) of vineyards planted compared to 252,000 acres (102,000 hectares) in Germany. In Bordeaux, some 6,100 growers produce some 450 to 650 million bottles of wine every year.

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Answer: False.

Many people think of Parmigiano as something you grate over pasta and imagine washing it down with a humble house red out of a straw-wrapped jug (this was a recent Wine Word—do you remember? WineSpeed 03-06-2020). But in Italy, eating chunks of this cheese accompanied by nothing more than a glass of good sparkling wine is considered one of the great gastronomic experiences. True Parmigiana-Reggiano is powerfully flavored, complex, nutty, and salty, and has an almost sweet richness. This combination actually sinks many red wines, making them taste hollow and bland. But a dry sparkler’s cleansing acidity and refreshing bubbles, stand up perfectly to the complexity of the cheese. There are many delicious options available, from Prosecco Superiore de Conegliano Valdobbiadene (WineSpeed 07-26-2019) to Lambrusco and Franciacorta (all Italian), to something like our Wine to Know this week—Roger Goulart Cava.

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Answer: True.

The world’s oldest wine still in barrel is a white wine from Alsace vinified in 1472. When tested by Agence France Presse, it was found to have “astonishing spriteliness and a very fine aroma.” Many white wines that age phenomenally well do so because of their acidity—rieslings in particular and some chardonnays from cooler regions such as Burgundy. Fortified white wines such as Madeira and Sherry—some of the longest-lived wines on earth—age well because of high alcohol and acidity, and Sauternes and eiswein benefit from their high sugar content.

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Answer: True.

French wine laws are famously restrictive, dictating everything from how the grapes for the wine must be grown to which grape varieties can be grown. But while the regulations may stipulate certain aging requirements, there are none that require French winemakers to use French oak versus, say, American, or Hungarian.

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Answer: False.

Women are more susceptible than men to the effects of wine—and of all other types of alcohol—even when weight is eliminated as a factor. Women have less aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2), the enzyme in the lining of the stomach that begins to break down and metabolize alcohol. Also, women’s bodies are 45% – 50% water, while a man’s is about 55% – 65%. As a result of both, when a man and a woman each drink the same amount of wine, more alcohol winds up in the bloodstream of the woman. According to one blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) study, 30 minutes after a 150-lb man and a 150-lb woman consume one drink with 0.6oz of alcohol, the man’s BAC is 0.018 and the woman’s is 0.027.

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Answer: False.

Grappa is the clear brandy that results when the pulpy mash of stems, seeds, and skins left over from winemaking is refermented and then distilled. In most parts of the world, this leftover stuff is thrown away or spread on the ground as fertilizer. But in Italy, nothing gastronomical is wasted—even if it sometimes tastes like a grenade has just exploded in your throat. Historically, grappa, was a specialty of the cold, northern part of the country, where people put a small shot of it into their morning coffee. The best grappas today are usually made from the skins and stems of a single aromatic white grape variety, such as riesling, moscato, or gewürztraminer.

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Answer: False.

Although it may be tempting to rinse your glass with water between wines when you are at a wine tasting, doing so is actually counterproductive. Even a little leftover water in the glass will dilute a wine, making it taste unbalanced and discombobulated. If you think the next wine will be influenced by the previous wine, the best bet is to rinse your glass with a few drops of the wine to come. Interestingly, in Italy they don’t consider a washed glass prepared to even receive wine until they (as I like to think of the ritual) “baptize” it with rinse wine, a process known as avvinare i bicchieri (ah-vee-NAH-reh ee bee-kee-AIR-reh). There is one big exception to the “rinsing with wine” idea. If a wine is flawed, it’s best to abandon that glass altogether and proceed with a new, fresh glass for the next wine.

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Answer: True.

In 2015, China overtook France as the second-largest wine grower in the world by vineyard area (Spain is still in first place).  In the early 1950s, China had only about 8000 acres (3,200 hectares) of grapes. By 2016 it had two million (847,000). This 250% growth has been helped by technological advances as well as climate change. According to data from the Chinese Meteorological Administration, average temperatures in China have risen 0.5-0.8C in the last century, making it possible to cultivate wine grapes 60-100 miles further north.  In the arid mountainous region of Ningxia some 550 miles west of Beijing, for example, the government has reclaimed desert-like expanses, irrigated them with water from the Yellow River, and planted them with cabernet sauvignon, marselan, and merlot.  Ningxia has been called “The Napa Valley of China.”

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Answer: True.

At least it’s one of the leading theories behind glass clinking. This theory considers that at the time of the Roman Empire, poisoned beverages were the modus operandi for assassinating unwanted political or economic rivals.  By the Middle Ages, a kind of “poison epidemic” had grown, stimulated by the increased availability of medicinally-suspect ingredients from apothecaries throughout Europe. At about the same time, Arabs developed an odorless and transparent form of arsenic; woe to the Crusaders.  Thus, self-preservation dictated that a visitor would insist his host drink some of what was poured for the visitor himself.  Once the host drank “successfully,” the guest could imbibe with confidence.  Eventually, in situations when the guest trusted the host, the process was done away with and supplanted by clinking—an acknowledgement that all was safe.

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Answer: False.

Answer: False. A château is a single estate composed of vineyards surrounding a building where the wine is made. The word château is commonly used in Bordeaux, and some châteaux can be quite palatial (although they don’t have to be). The word domaine is generally used in Burgundy. A domaine is a collection of vineyard parcels, all of which are owned by the same person or entity. Usually these parcels are small and are not connected to one another.

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Answer: True.

But just barely. A glass of wine is typically 5 ounces. A 5-ounce glass of red wine averages about 110 calories, whereas a glass of white wine usually clocks in around 104 calories. Hey, it’s the holidays! You can diet (or better yet, exercise more) later in January.

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Answer: True.

Sometimes known as the Grog Mutiny, the 1826 Eggnog Riot is a tale largely unknown to the Military Academy’s current students, according to the school’s historian.  At the annual Christmas party in 1826, students smuggled in a bootlegger’s load of whiskey to spike the eggnog, despite the fact that the Superintendent, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, had banned alcohol from campus earlier that year.  Several hours into the evening, all hell broke loose.  Two officers were assaulted; banisters were torn from stairways, and windows, furniture and tableware were smashed.  Within a month, 19 of the 90 cadets involved were court-marshaled and ultimately, 11 were expelled.  An “eggnog defense” was not mounted, although it may have simply been the last straw for the cadets after enduring other prohibitions on tobacco, novels, and dueling.