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A. A crisp white wine from vineyards surrounding Lake Constance near the Swiss-Austrian border

B. A full-bodied red wine made from grapes native to Lebanon

C. A sweet wine from Constantia winery in South Africa

D. A fortified wine from the medieval Constance monastery in eastern France; the wine is thought to have medicinal benefits

C.

Vin de Constance is a dessert wine from South Africa. The celebrated wine was produced in the nineteenth century at Constantia Winery in Cape Town. Founded in 1685, Constantia winery was one of the first wineries in the country. The luscious dessert wine, made from muscat blanc à petite grain grapes, was one of the most sought-after dessert wines in Europe―favored by emperors and kings (Napoléon Bonaparte and King Frederick the Great of Germany) and famous authors and poets. Today, the extraordinary wines are still produced at Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia wineries.

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A. A shiraz made with stems, giving it a slightly bitter, smoky character

B. A clone of pinot noir with an earthy tobacco character that was imported to Victoria from France in the 18th century

C. A strip of limestone soil in South Australia on which cabernet is planted

D. Historically, the time after dinner when Australian men (minus any women) would retreat to another room to smoke and drink Australian “port”

C.

The “cigar” refers to a famous nine-mile long strip of soil in Coonawarra (Aboriginal for “honeysuckle”) on the Limestone Coast of South Australia. The soil (called terra rossa) is a reddish colored mixture of porous clay soil and limestone. It is considered (along with Western Australia’s Margaret River) one of the best places in the country for cabernet sauvignon. These cabernets are often full of black currant and something green, like chaparral. Australian producer Yalumba makes a cabernet sauvignon called “The Cigar” as a tribute to the region.

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A. A historic style of sweet wine made in Mâconnais

B. An appellation in France where sauvignon blanc grapes are grown

C. A white grape variety grown in Jura, France

D. An appellation in France where chenin blanc grapes are grown

D.

Made in the middle of the Loire Valley, Savennières (pronounced sa-ven-YARE) is a densely flavored dry white wine made from chenin blanc grapes. The best Savennières wines have such intensity, grip, minerality, and taut acidity that they can be aged for decades. Savennières is terrific with dishes full of vegetables, as well as with seafood.

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A. The official name of Prosecco

B. The name for Proseccos that have been aged an additional two years in bottle before release

C. A more highly ranked Prosecco that comes from vineyards in a small special area

D. Prosecco made in two of the most famous villages in the province of Friuli

C.

Ok, this was a tough question, but here’s the scoop: Much of the Prosecco that’s made is simply basic Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) that comes from large swaths of flat land in northeastern Italy. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is a higher ranked, higher quality Prosecco DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). It is higher ranked because it comes from an historically special terroir—namely, a small zone of high-elevation hills in and around the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the region of the Veneto (not Friuli). Yes, it’s a very long name but Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is actually easy to pronounce: con-KNEE-lee-anno  Val-doe-bee-AH-di-nay  Pro-SEC-oh  Su-pair-ee-or-AY.

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A. Balthazar

B. Methuselah

C. Jeroboam

D. Hezekiah

D.

Hezekiah, a Judean king, is not one of the Biblical kings for which large-format Champagne bottles are named. Balthazar, Methuselah, and Jeroboam—which hold 16 bottles, 8 bottles, and 4 bottles, respectively—are real designations. No one quite knows why large Champagne bottles are named after these ancient kings.

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A. A winegrowing region located on hilly mountain ranges in Italy

B. A colloquial term describing the length of a wine on the palate

C. A region in northern Italy near Lake Garda that is known predominately for white wines

D.  A term added to a wine label to indicate the wine was made in a small farming village

A.

The Langhe (from the Italian lingue—tongue) is a series of hilly ranges in southeastern Piedmont, Italy, that are said to be shaped like tongues. In fact, much of the Piedmont region is comprised of mountains and rolling foothills: Piedmont itself means “foot of the mountain.” The Langhe is famous for Barolo and Barbaresco, two of Italy’s most superb and long-lived reds.

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A. Lambrusco di Sorbara

B. Nero d’Avola

C. Negrara

D. Canaiolo

B.

Also called Calabrese, nero d’Avola is an important red grape variety grown in Sicily. A high-quality variety that can produce intensely black-colored wines, nero d’Avola often possesses red fruit aromas, like strawberries or sour cherries, with notes of licorice, cocoa, rose, and spices. Often, the vines are grown in the traditional albarello (or “little tree” or “bush”) manner—which is to say, without expensive trellising that would be difficult and expensive to construct in Sicily’s high-elevation mountains.

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A. Muscadelle

B. Chardonnay

C. Sauvignon Blanc

D. Sémillon

B.

Chardonnay is not one of the grape varieties permitted in white Bordeaux wine. Seven grapes can comprise white Bordeaux: the main three—sémillon, sauvignon blanc, and muscadelle—plus these more unusual suspects: ugni blanc, colombard, merlot blanc, and sauvignon gris. The latter are used in extremely small amounts if at all.

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A. Napa Valley, 1969

B. Sonoma Valley, 1965

C. Napa Valley, 1981

D. Santa Cruz Mountains, 1975

C.

The first AVA in California was Napa Valley, established in February 1981. According to the Wine Institute, other California winegrowing regions that were established later that same year include: Santa Maria Valley in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, San Pasqual Valley in San Diego County, and Guenoc Valley in Lake County.

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A. Brettanomyces

B. Oxidation

C. Trichloroanisole (or TCA)

D. Mercaptan Compounds

D.

Ok, unless you’re a winemaker, this might have been a tough one. Rotten onion aromas are a sign of mercaptan compounds. These horrible-smelling compounds can be created after fermentation when hydrogen sulfide and other basic sulfur compounds create compounds that smell like rotting onions or spoiled garlic. Brettanomyces usually smells of manure, like a barnyard. Oxidation has a scent reminiscent of rancid nuts. And TCA can be detected by its distinctive odor of a dirty wet dog sitting on wet cardboard in a damp cellar.

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A. Muscat

B. Arneis

C. Dolcetto

D. Sauvignon Blanc

A.

Vermouth originated in Piedmont, Italy, in the 18th century. Historically, muscat grapes were used as the base wine. The moscato that is typically grown in Piedmont is known as moscato Canelli, or white muscat, and is the same as muscat blanc à petit grains in France. Because muscat is a white grape, most vermouth was originally white. Today, for most inexpensive commercial versions, cheap red or white bulk wine from the south of Italy is often used as the base. The wine is then infused with a secret blend of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of aromatic spices, barks, bitter herbs, and flavorings.

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A. Wachau, Austria

B. South Australia, Australia

C. Walla Walla, Washington

D. Rheingau, Germany

B.

In 1964 in South Australia, Penfolds created the “Bin 707” cabernet sauvignon, naming it after the iconic Boeing 707 jetliner. Today, at $500 a bottle, “Bin 707” is Australia’s most expensive cabernet. The massively structured, intensely flavored wine is aged 20 months in 100% new American oak “hogshead” barrels and is considered one of Australia’s most age-worthy cabernets. As for how it came to pass that the wine was named after an airplane, when the first vintage of the “Bin 707” was released in 1964, a Penfolds board member was also on the board of Qantas, an airline which was releasing a new Boeing 707 at the same time. The Boeing 707 was thought to be the aircraft that would better connect Australia with the rest of the world. Inspired to do the same with their collection of wines, Penfolds named their wine “Bin 707.”

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A. Department of Agriculture

B. Department of the Treasury

C. Department of Commerce

D. Department of the Interior

B.

One of the Bureaus within the U.S. Department of the Treasury called The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) establishes AVAs. This governing body is also in charge of regulating the production of alcohol and its labeling, advertising, importation, and distribution, among other tasks. There are now 242 AVAs in the U.S.

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A. Vitovska

B. Ribolla Gialla

C. Schioppettino

D. Picolit

C.

Schioppettino is one of the top red varieties grown in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a region famed for its white wines. However, schioppettino nearly disappeared from Friuli in the wake of phylloxera. The owner of Ronchi di Cialla winery, Paolo Rapuzzi, rescued the grape in the 1970s when he collected 100 extant vines and clandestinely had them grafted to make them available for propagation (schioppettino was not an officially allowed variety in Friuli at the time). Wines made from schioppettino can be startling—hauntingly dry with sharp peppery, spicy, black cherry flavors and a tight, angular body. The word schioppettino comes from scoppiettio, to “crackle” or “pop,” a possible reference to the grape’s or wine’s fascinating texture.

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A. Rhône River

B. Saône River

C. Gironde River

D. Dordogne River

B.

The Saône River (pronounced sohn) runs through Burgundy from the Vosges Mountains in eastern France south to the city of Lyon. The Saône—a river that has approximately 30 locks, or gated sections, to assist ships in navigating the waters—is 268 miles long (or 431 kilometers) and is connected by canal to both the Rhine River and the Seine (famous as the river that runs through Paris). The Rhône River runs through the Rhône Valley. The Dordogne River is in Bordeaux and the Gironde is technically an estuary, not a river. It connects Bordeaux to the Atlantic Ocean.

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A. A blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre

B. 100% grenache

C. Predominately syrah with a small amount of viognier

D. 100% syrah

D.

Wines from Cornas must be made 100% from syrah grapes. Located at the southern end of the northern Rhône, Cornas’ reds are dense, edgy, and darkly earthy. To feel a truly untamed Cornas on your palate is to feel like your tongue is being lashed by strips of leather. While not everyone loves Cornas, those who do, love it madly. Cornas’ are generally aged for seven to ten years before consumption.

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A. The United States

B. Spain

C. Italy

D. France

D.

France leads global production of rosé with over 193 million gallons produced in 2015, according to the Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) and the Provence Wine Council (CIVP). France is not only the largest producer, but also the largest consumer by volume and the largest exporter of rosé wines! Spain (123.2 million gallons), the U.S. (96.2 million gallons), and Italy (58 million gallons) are the other leading rosé producers.

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A. New York

B. California

C. Virginia

D. Missouri

D.

The oldest AVA in the U.S. is Augusta, Missouri, which was awarded the status on June 20, 1980. The region is home to a plethora of grape varieties including chambourcin, vignoles, concord, and Norton/Cynthiana (this latter variety became the official state grape in 2003). Missouri is also, along with Yamanashi, Japan, a recently elected member of Wine Origins, a global organization with 25 members that focuses on protecting wine place names. Other members of Wine Origins include: Willamette Valley, Jerez, Tokaj-Hegyalja, Washington State, Santa Barbara, Oregon, Burgundy, Texas, Rioja, Napa Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Long Island, Paso Robles, Chianti Classico, Bordeaux, the Duoro, Champagne, Sonoma County, McLaren Vale, Victoria, British Columbia, the Barossa, and Western Australia.

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A. Magdeleine noire des Charentes

B. Petit Manseng

C. Chardonnay

D. Côt (aka Malbec)

A.

Merlot’s mother was magdeleine noire des Charentes. Grape geneticists determined that merlot was the offspring of cabernet franc in the early 1990s, but merlot’s other parent remained a mystery for a decade. We can thank French ampelographer Jean-Michel Boursiquot for finding merlot’s unnamed mother in an abandoned vineyard in Brittany, France. A few years later, more vines were found in the Charentes region of southwestern France, and Boursiquot named the vines magdeleine noire des Charentes.