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A. A red wine that has been exposed to considerable oxygen and heat

B. A white wine made by fermenting the grapes on their skins

C. A wine that is made from a special orange-ish colored clone of a variety

D. A wine made in amphora or qvevri pottery

B.

White wines are generally pressed off of their skins shortly after entering the winerynot the case with an orange wine. An orange/amber color is produced when white grape varieties ferment with their skins. In addition to an orange-ish color, the extended exposure to skins gives this style of white wine more tannin and a slight note of bitterness. Orange wines can be fermented in a variety of different vessels including stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. Often, a traditional method in clay amphora and qvevri is used, but othertypes of wines can also be made in these receptacles, so they are not synonymous with orange wines. The flavors and textures of wines made in a amphora and qvevri are quite distinct. Often there’s a resiny, character or something that’s smokey and peaty not unlike single malt Scotch. Depending on the variety of grapes used, the flavors can be reminiscent of wild herbs, dried orange peel, dried apricots, walnut skins, sea salt, minerals, ginger, and spiced tea.

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A. A small monastery or nunnery that is governed by a prior or prioress

B. The black slate and quartz soil that characterize the region

C. A great Catalan warrior who fought during the War of the Spanish Succession

D. The name of the family responsible for founding the Priorat denomination in 1954

A.

During the Middle Ages, as the story goes, a villager had a vision of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven in the region. The next year, King Alfonso II of Aragón founded a small town and Carthusian monastery on the spot. The monastery became known as La Cartoixa, (Catalan for “charterhouse,” another name for a Carthusian monastery) and the town, Scala Dei (“God’s stairway”). Given the important presence of the monks, the region came to be known as Priorato, from the Spanish word for “priory.” Today, although the monastery has been long abandoned, the little hamlet nearby is still known as Scala Dei, and one of the oldest and best wineries in the region—Cellers de Scala Dei—operates in some of the old buildings that once belonged to the monastery. (The Scala Dei wine called “Cartoixa,” a blend of Garnacha and Carineña, is massive, savory, and delicious).

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A. Burgundy, France

B. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy

C. Rheingau, Germany

D. Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary

D.

From the 1600s through the early part of the 1700s, the vineyards of Tokaj-Hegyalja in northeastern Hungary were considered so sacred that anyone caught swearing could be fined, and the fine was often doubled if the swearer was a nobleman. At the time, the rare sweet wine Tokaji Aszú was one of the most celebrated wines in the world. Considered a gift from God and a wine that possessed miraculous healing properties, Tokaji Aszú was thought to be the one elixir that could revive someone on his/her deathbed.

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A. A wine grown in gravel soils

B. The name of single vineyard sites on Mt. Etna

C. The name of the agreement for selling wine grapes

D. A vintner who makes wine for personal use only

B.

The term contrada, which is used throughout Sicily, means vineyard parcel. Each contrada is determined by a number of elements including altitude, soil, exposition, and microclimate. On Mt. Etna, the fingers of lava flow on which vines grow are known as contrade; often the name of the contrada will be listed on a wine’s label. There are more than 130 contrade on Mt. Etna alone. Not (yet) legal appellations, the contrade are more like historical hamlets, and each is made up of several tiny vineyard parcels. (“Roads” connecting the contrade are often so small they can only be traversed by foot or motorbike.)

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A. China

B. Italy

C. Greece

D. India

C.

Both Drama and Markopoulo are in Greece located in East Macedonia/Thrace and in Central Greece, respectively. International grape varieties are dominant in the vineyards of Drama, although native Assyrtiko and Robola are also grown there. Markopoulo, located near Athens, is best known for its plantings of the grape variety Savatiano. These are some of the most fun names of regions I have come across in Greece, although Zitsa and Goumenissa and are up there as well.  Greece currently has 34 top regions which carry the European Union designation PDO (Protected Designation of Origin).

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A. Laying bottles down so that they can age sur lie

B. Turning and upending bottles so that the yeast collects in the neck of the bottle

C. Freezing the neck of the bottle and then expelling the yeast out of it

D. Adding a solution of yeast and sugar in wine to incite a second fermentation

B.

Toward the end of its long resting period sur lie, a bottle of Champagne must be rotated to loosen the expired yeasts that have accumulated during the second fermentation. Known as remuage in French or “riddling” in English, this process involves the gradual tilting of the bottle neck-down, meanwhile rotating it in small increments to collect the yeast sediment in the neck of the bottle. Remuage is still sometimes done manually, using a shaking and twisting technique practiced over centuries by skilled cellar masters. A good remueur (bottle turner) can riddle roughly 40,000 bottles a day. Done manually, remuage takes four to six weeks. Automated remuage is now much more common using a machine called a gyropalette that can riddle 500 bottles at once. When remuage is finished, the bottles are neck-down (sur pointe) and ready to be disgorged.

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A. Burgundy barrels are slightly smaller than Bordeaux barrels

B. Burgundy barrels and Bordeaux barrels are the same; but each is known in its own region by that region’s name

C. Burgundy barrels are generally less toasted than Bordeaux barrels

D. Burgundy barrels are slightly rounder than Bordeaux barrels

D.

A Burgundy barrel is low and squat, and has a deeper, rounder bilge than a Bordeaux barrel. The deeper bilge is designed to allow the spent yeasts (lees) to settle easily. This shape is especially helpful in making white Burgundy (Chardonnay) where extended lees contact leads to wines that have a sense of creaminess (important given the high acidity of the wines). A Burgundy barrel is 228 liters in capacity. A Bordeaux barrel longer and more sleek than a Burgundy barrel. It is 225 liters in capacity.

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A. Spain

B. Tunisia

C. Italy

D. Algeria

D.

Algeria, in the mid to late 1800s, due to the pervasive phylloxera infestation across Europe, France shifted much of its wine production to its colonies. As a French colony, Algeria increased its wine production immensely from 1880 to 1930. prompting the introduction of French wine regulations in the 1930s. But the Algerian wine export market began to collapse as French and European vineyards recovered from phylloxera and two world wars fought predominately on European soil ended. Finally, in 1962, Algeria gained its independence, triggering France to halt all Algerian imports to that country, and eventually, Algeria’s vineyards (and exports) dwindled substantially.

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A. Minimal intervention winemaking, where as little as possible is done during the winemaking process

B. Some of the grapes are “passed over” or left behind, so that only the best grapes are used

C. The grapes are spread on mats or left to hang in cool lofts to dehydrate them

D. “Thankfully the year has passed”— it’s a traditional Italian toast given at the end of the harvest

C.

Appassimento is the natural dehydration of grapes to achieve concentrated flavors. Two techniques are used. Grapes can either be laid out in the sun on mats to dry or hung in cool, airy lofts so the natural breeze dries them. Both are commonly used in the Veneto for dry and sweet wines. Dry wines made from dried grapes become very full in body, complex, and relatively high in alcohol. Amarone is one of the greatest examples made through appassimento techniques. Amarone is traditionally a bold, dry wine, fermented until there is little residual sugar remaining. Recioto wines are also made in this way but retain sugar at the end of fermentation giving them their character sweetness.

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A. A cocktail made with Champagne, Grey Goose vodka, and olives

B. A soil type with fractured rocky material

C. A style of natural wine made from Pinot Gris

D. A type of vine virus common in cool climates

B.

New Zealand’s most famous soil, greywacke (GRAY wacky) is the mud-gray, hard, fractured, deformed residual rocky material that forms from the decay of sandstone. Greywacke soils have an amazing etiology. They are created as the water from large rivers cascades down the sides of continental shelves, creating turbidity currents and undersea avalanches. The power generated races along the bottom of the ocean for many miles, forming fan-shaped beds of sandy sediments. Over time, these deposits are buried by mud and harden, forming greywacke. The greywacke in New Zealand is largely Mesozoic in age and makes up most of the rock that forms the spine of the Southern Alps. Greywacke is also the principal rock of California’s Sonoma Coast.

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A. Alcohol

B. Tannin

C. Oak aging

D. The pH of the juice before it becomes wine

B.

The longevity of a red wine is based on many factors, but the most important component is the wine’s tannin. Tannin is a natural preservative. All other things being held equal, wines with significant amounts of tannin live longer than wines without. Plants build tannins for protection, preservation, and defense. (Since Neolithic times, plant tannins have been used to prevent the spoilage of animal skins— when “tanning” hides into leather, for example). Consider a collector’s cellar. It’s usually filled with wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux— wines that have a lot of tannin and therefore have a good chance of living well into the future.

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A. Extended use of French oak barrels during winemaking and aging

B. Fewer producers making larger amounts of wine

C. More producers making smaller amounts of wine

D. Fewer Grand Cru wines and more village wines

C.

At the end of the French Revolution, the abolition of the Ancien Régime, or Old Regime, stripped numerous privileges from the ruling classes. Larger vineyards owned by nobility and religious institutions were confiscated, divided, and re-distributed, resulting in many more producers who made much smaller amounts of wine. Interestingly, La Romanée is one of the few clos that was not divided in 1789.  The Conti family’s assets were confiscated, but for unknown reasons, this vineyard was spared from division. Today, the entirety of the La Romanée vineyard is owned by Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair whose wines are not the most expensive in the world, but pretty darn close.

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A. Wine Queens

B. The first Chili Cook-offs (pairing Zinfandel with chili)

C. Grape harvesting contests for high schoolers

D. Grape naming contests inviting consumers to suggest names for new grape varieties being developed at the University of California at Davis

A.

One of the highlights of the California State Fair in the 1950s and 1960s was the chance to see the newly crowned Wine Queen. The first local Wine Queen was chosen in 1913 at a fair in San Diego County. Wine queen popularity grew during Prohibition as small towns all over California crowned one of their own. By the 1950s and 1960s, the Wine Queen at the California State Fair had celebrity status, and she also had an active PR role, helping to promote wine consumption and sales in the state.

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A. The ripeness level of the wine

B. Smaragd is the word in dialect for “Wachau”

C. The vineyard classification of the wine, equivalent to a Premier Cru vineyard

D. Smaragd is the name of the medieval village where the first Riesling in the Wachau was made

A.

The word smaragd (meaning “emerald”) signifies wines that are the most physiologically ripe, and are therefore considered the best. The wines must have a minimum of 12.5 percent alcohol; most are higher. Smaragd is also the name of a bright green lizard that suns itself in the vineyards of Lower Austria. The Wachau is one of Austria’s premier regions for riesling and grüner veltliner.

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A. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

B. Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

C. The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

D. The Scream by Edvard Munch

C.

Not every barter deal works out well. But in 1498, the Duke of Milan, Italy. Ludovico Sforza, probably came out ahead. Sforza offered Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist/scientist/inventor, a small vineyard in return for a painting. Da Vinci, a great wine lover, accepted, and went about painting The Last Supper, which was subsequently hung in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Da Vinci’s vineyard survived until 1943, when it was destroyed by a fire that resulted from Allied bombing in World War II. In 2007, Italian viticulturists and geneticists began excavating the site of the former vineyard, which ironically had been protected by layers of ash and debris. Through DNA testing of the extant roots they found buried there, the scientists determined that da Vinci had grown Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, a white variety still grown in Lombardy.

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A. Portugal

B. Greece

C. Israel

D. Georgia

B.

Mt. Athos—where no woman has ever set foot—is located on the easternmost of the three “fingers” that make up Greece’s stunning Halkidiki Peninsula. Greek Orthodox monks have made wine continually on Mt. Athos for more than one thousand years. Known in Greek as “Holy Mountain,” the wine region is home to twenty monasteries—there are no other residences—and some 1700 monks who live an ascetic, isolated life.  Only men are allowed to reside there or visit. Indeed, in order to maintain its males-only policy once Greece was admitted to the European Union, Mt. Athos had to be given a special exemption from the EU regulation stipulating the free movement of people across borders.

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A. Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson

B. Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams

C. James Madison and James Monroe

D. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

D.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both planted vines and attempted to make wine in Virginia. George Washington saw great potential for wine cultivation in the Chesapeake region and imported cuttings of “Madeira grapes,” from the Portuguese island of Madeira. These cuttings were planted at his estate Mount Vernon in the spring of 1770. When the Madeira grapes failed, he began to experiment with native American grape varieties. In the years preceding the Revolutionary War, Washington planted 2,000 cuttings of local wild grape varieties but frosts in the region (and his eight years away at war) caused the second experiment to fail as well. Thomas Jefferson, with the help of Italian winemaker Filippo Mazzei planted 2,000 acres of Vitis vinifera vines adjacent to his home at Monticello in 1773. The Revolutionary War once again cut this viticultural project short, and the vines died due to neglect. Jefferson tried planting grapes again after the war was over, but they perished most likely because of phylloxera.

(Thank you to Mary Thompson, the Research Historian at Mount Vernon for her materials.)

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A. Friulano from Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

B. Verdejo from Rueda, Spain

C. Sancerre from the Loire Valley, France

D. Condrieu from the Rhone Valley, France

C.

Sancerre is an appellation located in the Loire Valley of France, well-known for its sauvignon blancs which are considered some of the most lively sauvignons in the world. What many wine drinkers may not realize is that roughly 25% of Sancerre is planted to the red grape variety pinot noir. Indeed, in the past few years, as the region has grown warmer because of climate change, more and more of Sancerre’s winemakers have been focusing on pinot noir.

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A. Sardinia, Italy

B. Tokaji-Hegyalja, Hungary

C. Valais, Switzerland

D. Baden, Germany

A.

Sardinia’s Nuoro province is thought to have the highest per-capita percentage of people over one hundred of anyplace in the world. And among those Sardinians who are “supercentenarians”—defined as people over 110—a surprising number are men. (Super centenarians worldwide tend to be women.) At first, researchers who studied the island’s population thought that the men in their studies were lying (“age exaggeration” is known to be common among men who are the “oldest old”). But civil and church records revealed that Sardinia’s male supercentenarians were telling the truth. What factors contribute to such longevity? Researchers point out that Sardinians get vigorous daily exercise throughout the day (thanks to mountain shepherding) and eat a diet composed of whole-grain sourdough breads, vegetables, fruits, pecorino cheese (a sheep’s milk cheese high in Omega-3 fatty acids), and mastic oil, a resinous oil from local mastic trees. They also consume three to four glasses of wine a day per person–spread over breakfast (yes, breakfast), lunch, and dinner. The local red wine Cannonau (possibly the same as Garnacha or a clone of Garnacha) is the leading variety, thought by researchers to provide antioxidant benefits and to preserve cognitive functioning in old age.

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A. Ninety percent of Port producers agree that the grapes in a given year were exceptional

B. The Port Wine Institute conducts blind tastings and based on its findings, instructs producers to declare (or not declare) a year as a vintage year

C. Individual producers decide independently that their grapes warrant being made into Vintage Port

D. The grapes taken from sample vineyards throughout the region achieve a perfect ratio of sugar to acidity as measured in grams per liter

C.

The process of declaring a vintage year and making a vintage Port begins with a judgment. How good are the grapes from that year? Each producer of Port makes this decision independently. If the grapes are excellent, if they possess just the right balance of richness, power, freshness, and finesse, then the producer will “declare” the vintage. Even though the decision to declare is independent, the truly stunning years for vintage Port are usually those declared by 50 percent or more of all producers. Once a producer declares a vintage, a formal procedure ensues. Before the wine can be bottled, the shipper must submit its intention and samples of the wine to the Port Wine Institute for tasting and approval. The great vintage Port years from the second half of the twentieth century through the first decade of the twenty-first have been: 1955, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2016, and 2017.