Share

Answer: False.

While I love blue cheese, I usually don’t pair it with red wine. Extremely salty and pungent, blue cheese’s aggressive, palate-coating flavors strip the flavor of virtually all dry red wines, making them taste insipid and washed-out. Just about the only wine that has the intensity and body to counterbalance a blue cheese’s forceful character is a powerhouse like Port, because it is both sweet and fortified. The combination has been considered a European classic for centuries. (For more on pairing cheeses with wines, watch my video on wine and cheese parings here).

Share

Answer: False.

Petite sirah, also known as durif, has an enormous amount of tannin. The variety is a cross between two French grapes—syrah and peloursin. Petite Sirah was crossed in the 1860s, by a scientist named Durif and is sometimes spelled petite syrah. Petite sirah grapes are generally smaller than syrah grapes (hence the “petite” in the name). As with all small grapes, petite sirah has a high ratio of skin to juice. Since tannin comes primarily from a grape’s skin, small grapes like petite sirah often have a considerable amount of tannin. In the end, there is nothing petite about petite sirah. A similar example is petit verdot (petit in this case is spelled without the “e” since the word verdot is masculine). There’s nothing petit about petit verdot either.

Share

Answer: False.

Calvados (pronounced CAL-va-dose) is a distilled spirit made from apples (and sometimes pears) grown in Normandy, France. Approximately 800 or so heirloom apple varieties are grown in Normandy—the only region which, by law, can make Calvados. By distilling different kinds of apples in different proportions, Calvados makers are able to craft a subtle, complex apple spirit. About 17 pounds of apples are needed to make one bottle of Calvados.

Share

Answer: True.

While pinot noir is grown across New Zealand, the majority is planted on the South Island. Approximately half of that pinot is grown in Marlborough, located on the northernmost end of the South Island, with the rest grown in Central Ortago towards the southern end. In general, Marlborough pinot noirs appear to be the fruitier of the two, with nuanced red fruit flavors, and are often made into sparkling wines. Central Ortago pinots, on the other hand, often display an earthiness and wild herb character, which places them stylistically between Old World and New World pinot noirs.

Share

Answer: True.

Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region northeast of Tuscany is most known for a simple, frothy (or frizzante) wine called lambrusco. Many lambruscos are highly commercial and slightly sweet, made fizzy by being fermented in pressurized tanks (not by the traditional—or Champagne—method). However, there are top versions of lambrusco that are not sweet but, rather, dry and savory, and made by the Champagne method of second fermentation in each bottle. Not surprisingly, the fizzy, slightly bitter, very fresh wine tastes quite good with Emilia-Romagna’s hearty sausages, cured meats, and meat-sauced pastas. (Also, today is World Lambrusco Day! We recommend celebrating by opening a bottle with Emilia-Romagna’s famous food delicacies: Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and prosciutto di Parma).
Share

Answer: False.

False. Sercial is the driest style of Madeira with 0% to 6% residual sugar. The sweetest style, malmsey, has 10% or more residual sugar. Madeira’s sweetness designations in ascending order are: sercial, verdelho, terrantez, bual, and malmsey. These are also the names of the grapes from which each style is made. Sercial grapes specifically are grown in the coolest vineyards and the difficulties they encounter in ripening make for tangy, elegant Madeiras with a bracing, crisp, almost salty grip and a dry, nutty flavor.
Share

Answer: True.

In honor of National Rosé Day tomorrow, we thought we’d look at the history of rosé—including the pink wine known as white zinfandel. The first white zinfandel was made at El Pinal Winery in Lodi, California, by George West exactly 150 years ago in 1869. Arguably, however, the first winery to popularize white zinfandel was Sutter Home Winery in the 1970s. Sutter Home’s white zin was made by accident in 1972 when a fermentation stalled, and the grapes’ sugar was not completely converted to alcohol. Thus, the resulting pinkish-colored wine was slightly sweet. This "white zinfandel" was released to the market as cheap and easy to drink. During the 1980s and 1990s, white zin outsold regular red zinfandel wines 6-to-1 and was at one time, the third most popular wine in the U.S. by volume, according to Los Angeles Magazine.
Share

Answer: True.

While you might imagine that Washington State or Oregon was home to most of the first wineries in the Pacific Northwest, it's actually Idaho. German and French immigrants planted grapes there as early as 1864. In fact, an article in the Idaho Statesman from September 1865 reported that a vineyard of Royal Muscadine cuttings was planted a year previously. However, as was the case with so many states, Prohibition took a debilitating toll on the industry and brought production to a halt. Idaho's modern wine industry went through a revival in the 1970s, and there are now 52 wineries in the state, with 1300 acres of vineyards, according to the Idaho Wine Commission.
Share

Answer: False.

The Pedro Ximénez grapes used to make the sweet, ebony-colored Sherry, also known as Pedro Ximénez, achieve their concentration by being dried on straw mats in the intense Spanish sun for about a week, not by the beneficial fungus, botrytis cinerea. The mats are covered at night, so the grapes are spared from the morning dew. Once made and aged in a solera, the wine will be 40 to 50 percent residual sugar—that’s more than three times the sweetness of Bordeaux’s Sauternes. The result is an elixir that is so mesmerizing you just have to try it.
Share

Answer: False.

Maybe. Okay, we know that “maybe” isn’t exactly true or false, but it’s not definitely clear where a chocolatey or cocoay character in wine comes from. Some of the experts I’ve talked to do say that oak barrels that are toasted at a certain level produce chocolatey flavors in red wine (barrel fermented or barrel aged whites usually don’t display chocolatiness). But other experts note that chocolate flavors can simply be a characteristic of very ripe high-tannin grapes such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. And still others associate the flavor with a given terroir. (The wines of Rutherford in the Napa Valley are often said to possess a dutched cocoa character). What everyone does agree on is where a vanilla flavor in wine comes from. When most oak barrels are made, the wood is toasted over a fire in order to bend the staves into shape. Toasting causes complex chemical reactions in the wood that result in the creation of various flavors, among them vanillin, a molecule responsible for the flavor known as vanilla. Wines that are not made or aged in new toasted oak barrels almost never taste of vanilla.
Share

Answer: False.

Only a very small amount of top German sekt (pronounced zecht) is made in tiny lots by the traditional (Champagne) method, usually from riesling, weissburgunder (pinot blanc), or blauburgunder (pinot gris). These wines are crisp and vivid, possessing the clarity and the purity of flute music. However, bargain sekt (which is most of it) is made fizzy as the result of the bulk process during which the second fermentation takes place in large, pressurized tanks, not in individual bottles like Champagne, using lesser German grapes or bulk wine from another European country.
Share

Answer: False.

There are three quality categories of Beaujolais wine, in ascending order: Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, and Beaujolais Cru, which is the highest quality of the region’s wine. There are ten villages—or crus—that run from north to south in Beaujolais: St.-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. The labels on bottles of Beaujolais Cru will usually name the producer and the cru only. The word Beaujolais won’t appear. (We love how helpful labels are, don't we?)
Share

Answer: False.

The best dessert and dessert wine marriages are usually based on pairing a not-too-sweet dessert with a sweeter wine. Desserts that are sweeter than the wine they accompany can make the wine taste blank and dull. Essentially, the sweetness of the dessert knocks out the character of the wine. Super-sweet wedding cake, for example, will diminish anything in a glass. But something like a not-very-sweet fruit or nut tart enhances the complexities and nuances of the sweeter wines around them.
Share

Answer: False.

The color of the rosé does not indicate the intensity of its flavor. (This is true for all wines). However, current data shows that color is a confusing issue for rosé drinkers, who increasingly prefer lighter-colored rosés. Elizabeth Gabay, author of Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution, reports that consumers associate pale rosé with the popular Provençal rosé, and therefore assume it is better in quality. 
Share

Answer: True.

The first prestige cuvée was made by the house of Roederer for Czar Alexander II of Russia in 1876. The czar wanted an exclusive Champagne not available to the lower aristocracy (god forbid). Furthermore, Czar Alexander II demanded that the bubbly should be shipped in leaded crystal bottles. This was how the prestige cuvée Roederer Cristal was born.
Share

Answer: False.

National Beer Day honors the day on which beer was once again legalized in the U.S. after Prohibition (1920-1933). The Eighteenth Amendment, which passed in 1919 and took effect in 1920, prohibited the sale, transportation, and production of alcohol. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act in March 1933, which allowed low-alcohol beverages like beer to be made and sold in the U.S. (Hard liquor was still outlawed until the Volstead Act passed in December of 1933). The Cullen-Harrison Act took effect on April 7 of that year. Happy National Beer Day!
Share

Answer: False.

Setúbal is a richly aromatic, exotic Portuguese dessert wine principally made from two grape varieties: moscatel de Setúbal (muscat of Alexandria) and moscatel roxo (purple muscat). The small peninsula where Setúbal is made (also named Setúbal) is located about 20 miles south of Lisbon along the River Tagus and the Atlantic Ocean.
Share

Answer: True.

Brewer Arthur Guinness began making light-colored ales at his brewery when he first set up shop in Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1750s. However, so much porter and stout (a stronger, or "stouter" version of the beer that was popular with street and river porters) were being shipped from London to Ireland, that Guinness decided to create his own version of the style. In 1821, precise instructions for brewing the darker beer were recorded—the beginning of today's Guinness Original and Guinness Extra Stout.
Share

Answer: False.

Arguably, it is not Spain that has had the most influence on Chile's wines, but France. In the mid-1800s, rich Chilean landowners and mining barons showcased their wealth by building wine estates modeled after Bordeaux châteaux (after all, Bordeaux was the wine superpower of the era, especially after the 1855 Classification). The Chileans planted vineyards with imported French grapes, most notably cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and carménère. Whenever possible, Chileans hired French winemakers, who, by the latter part of the century, were easy to lure from their homeland thanks to the deadly insect phylloxera which had begun to sweep its way through France and much of the Old World.