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A. An old Dutch word meaning “to drink too much”

B. An Arabic word for the apparatus that was the predecessor of an alembic still used for distillation

C. A medieval French term derived from the word boire, meaning “to drink”

D. The Anglicized common name for a goatskin wine container used by the ancient Greeks

A.

The word “booze,” once spelled “bouse,” comes from the medieval Dutch word büsen, meaning “to drink to excess.” Bouse dates back a thousand years to medieval English but was commonly used in the 16th century by unsavory characters—mostly thieves—before becoming part of general slang.

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A. Abbreviations for three new hybrids (whose use is still pending) developed by the French Agricultural Ministry to cope with global warming

B. The names of strains of yeasts that have recently been developed at the University of California at Davis; the “m” stands for “myces”—Latin for “fungus”

C. The initials of three of Europe’s top coopers of French barriques

D. Abbreviations that denote different types of Champagne producers

D.

Champagne is made by different types of producers. The type can be identified from abbreviations that appear on every bottle of Champagne.

  • NM stands for Négociant manipulant. These companies buy grapes and make the wine. Most of the houses (Moet & Chandon, Taittinger, Perrier Jouet etc.) are NMs.
  • CM stands for Coopérative de manipulation. These are cooperatives that make wines from the growers who are members, with all the grapes pooled together (the well-known brand Nicolas Feuillatte is a CM).
  • RM stand for Récoltant manipulant. These are “Grower Champagnes” that is, the grower makes wine from its own grapes.

Other initials you might see include:

  • SR stands for Société de récoltants. An association of growers making a shared Champagne but who are not a co-operative.
  • RC stands for Récoltant coopérateur. A co-operative member selling Champagne produced by the co-operative under its own name and label.
  • MA stands for Marque auxiliaireor Marque d’acheteur. A brand name unrelated to the producer or grower; the name is owned by someone else, for example, a supermarket.
  • ND stands for Négociant distributeur. A wine merchant selling under his own name.
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A. Edmond de Rothschild

B. Michael Broadbent

C. Nicole (Veuve) Clicquot

D. Robert Mondavi

C.

Nicole Clicquot (known as Veuve— “Widow”—Clicquot) was born Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin in 1777 in Reims, in the Champagne region of France. She was the daughter of one of the city’s wealthy textile merchants. At the age of 21, Nicole Ponsardin was married (in an arranged marriage) to Francois Clicquot, the son of a competing textile merchant. Although in line to inherit major textile firms, Both Nicole and Francois were more interested in wine, which both of their families produced, in addition to textiles. Francois died after only seven years of marriage from what may have been a suicide, but in the end, was attributed to typhoid. Nicole, still in her 20s, took over the fledgling wine business much to the dismay of her in-laws. Although the business was failing at the time, Nicole Clicquot built the Champagne house into one of the most successful in France and made Champagne a fixture in royal courts throughout Europe in the 19th century. Quite the businesswoman, she also invented riddling racks (pupitres)—A-shaped frames—that, after the second fermentation, are used to collect yeasts in the necks of Champagne bottles so that the yeasts can be removed. In addition, her 1810 vintage Champagne is thought to have been the very first vintage Champagne. The quote above is from a letter Nicole Clicquot wrote to a grandchild in the last years of her life.

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A. Basic level wines in the official Beaujolais classification system

B. Beaujolais wines that are aged at least four years before release

C. Wines from ten specific villages in the Beaujolais region

D. The term for a Beaujolais from a single vineyard

C.

From north to south, there are ten villages—crus—that produce the most distinctive Beaujolais. The labels on bottles of Beaujolais cru will usually name the producer and the cru only. The word Beaujolais will not appear. The cru are:

 

Saint-Amour: One of the smallest of the crus.

 

Juliénas: Named after Julius Caesar.

 

Chénas: The smallest Beaujolais cru.

 

Moulin-à-Vent: The name means windmill, in honor of a three-hundred-year-old stone one that rises above the vines.

 

Fleurie: Among the most delicate and understated of the Beaujolais crus.

 

Chiroubles: The highest altitude vineyards in Beaujolais.

 

Morgon: Generally, the richest, darkest colored, and most full-bodied in Beaujolais.

 

Régnié: The last cru established (in 1988).

 

Brouilly: The largest cru and full of granite.

 

Côte de Brouilly: Located on the slopes of Mont Brouilly, an extinct volcano.

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A. Come from a special selection of lots

B. Come from a superior vineyard site

C. Have been aged a minimum of two years in barrel

D. There is no legal definition of the word reserve

D.

In the U.S., the word “reserve” doesn’t have an agreed-upon definition— at least not a legal definition. Some winemakers set aside their best lots of wine or allow wines to age for an extended period then sell them as higher-end bottlings. But, for other wine companies, the word “reserve” is just a marketing term. In Europe, both Spain and Italy define the terms legally and enforce the labeling of reserve wines.

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A. Prestige Cuvées

B. Grand Marques

C. Blanc de Blancs

D. Premier Grand Crus

A.

The most expensive, longest-aged, and often highest-quality Champagnes are known as prestige cuvées, and virtually every producer makes one. The first prestige cuvée was made in 1876 by the House of Roederer for Czar Alexander II of Russia, who wanted an exclusive Champagne not available to (God forbid) the lower aristocracy. The czar further dictated that it be shipped in leaded crystal bottles. Roederer’s prestige cuvée was hence named “Cristal.” Veuve Clicquot named their top bottling, “La Grande Dame,” after Madame Clicquot, the house’s esteemed matriarch. Taittinger created the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, its most exclusive and premium wine, in honor of the Comtes de Champagne (Counts of Champagne), particularly Thibaud IV, whose seal adorns every bottle of Taittinger.

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A. Vessels for serving and drinking wine

B. Parts of an ancient wine production area where grapes were trodden by foot, pressed, and fermented

C. Types of markings on an amphora, indicating where the grapes were grown, the method by which the wine was made, and the level of quality of the wine

D. Minor gods considered the “children” of Dionysus and assorted goddesses

A.

In Greek antiquity, a krater was a shallow bronze or pottery bowl used to serve wine, which would be poured from an amphora into the krater and from the krater, into a kylix–a shallow, two-handled, often beautifully decorated cup from which wine was drunk. A kythos often helped in this process. It was a ladle used to scoop the wine from the krater into the kylix.

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A. About 5%

B. About 10%

C. About 15%

D. About 18%

A.

Vintage Port is the most renowned style of Port, and it’s also one of the rarest styles, constituting just 3% to 6% of all the Port made in any given year.  Vintage Port is made only in exceptional years when Port shippers “declare” a vintage. All of the grapes in the blend will come only from that vintage, and only from the very top vineyards.

Vintage Ports are first aged just two years in barrel, to round off their powerful edges. Then—and this is the key—they are aged for a long time in the bottle. During bottle aging, the vintage Port matures slowly, becoming progressively more refined and integrated. A decade’s worth of aging is standard, and several decades used to be fairly common. Indeed, Ports from the 1950s are still amazingly lively on the palate (the 1955 Cockburn’s is one of the most hauntingly delicious wines I have ever tasted or felt . . . it was sheer silk).

To maintain the intensity, balance, and richness of vintage Port, it is neither fined nor filtered. This, coupled with the fact that Port grapes have thick skins and a lot of tannin, means that vintage Port throws a great deal of sediment, and always needs to be decanted. Finally, in the years a shipper chooses not to declare a year as vintage quality, the grapes that would have gone into vintage Port are often used to make a single Quinta Port.

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A. A wine that is classified between the First Growths and the Third Growths

B. A wine produced by a château that is less expensive than the château’s grand vin

C. A wine that is released again several years after the initial release

D. A limited, extremely expensive, wine produced by a château

B.

To make its grand vin, or best wine, a top Bordeaux château will blend together only its very finest lots of wine, usually from the most well-sited vineyard plots and the oldest vines. What happens to all the other lots? In many cases, the château makes a second wine, which will have its own brand name and its own distinct label. (It’s important to note here that a second wine is not the same as a Second Growth.) Usually made by the same winemaker in essentially the same manner as the grand vin, the second wine will be less expensive, although alas, not inexpensive (several cost more than $100 a bottle). Still, for many savvy wine drinkers, buying second wines is a smart strategy.

Often, the label on a second wine does not reveal the château it came from, but the name may be close enough to tell. Lastly, there’s one case wherein a mass market wine might seem like a second wine but isn’t. Mouton Cadet is decidedly not the second wine of Château Mouton Rothschild, but rather, a very cheap, basic quaff.  Château Mouton Rothschild costs 110 times more than Mouton Cadet.

Some of the best second wines and the châteaux they come from:

  • Le Carillon de L’Angélus (Château Angélus)
  • Carruades de Lafite (Château Lafite Rothschild)
  • Le Clarence de Haut-Brion (Château Haut-Brion)
  • La Croix de Beaucaillou (Château Ducru-Beaucaillou)
  • Echo de Lynch-Bages (Château Lynch-Bages)
  • Les Forts de Latour (Château Latour)
  • Les Pagodes de Cos (Château Cos d’Estournel)
  • Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux (Château Margaux)
  • Le Petit Cheval (Château Cheval Blanc)
  • Reserve de la Comtesse (Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande)
  • Le Petit Lion de Las Cases (Château Léoville-Las Cases)
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A. The minimum size of a vineyard increased, in order to limit “hobby vineyards”

B. Vineyards could finally be established in mountain areas surrounding the valley proper

C. Vineyards, rather than farms, received preferential permits

D. Commercial development was restricted in favor of all forms of agriculture

D.

In 1968, the Napa County Board of Supervisors passed a landmark zoning ordinance that made Napa Valley the first Agricultural Preserve in the United States. The Ag Preserve, as it is known, mandated agriculture as the “highest and best” use of Napa Valley land. The effect of the ordinance was to severely restrict commercial development not directly-related to agriculture. As visitors discover, with the exception of the small town of Napa itself, there are no strip malls or department store complexes in the valley proper. Instead, Napa Valley is home to 40,000+ acres of beautiful vineyards, and the picturesque rural landscape remains intact. As for the other possible answers, there is no minimum size of a vineyard in the Napa Valley. (You can plant one thousand vines; you can plant ten vines. There is no minimum). Many vineyards are very small and 95% are family owned. Regarding mountains, vineyards have existed in the mountains around Napa Valley for well over a hundred years. Today, however, forest land is tightly protected in the valley, and planting on steep slopes is prohibited. As a practical and legal matter, it’s extremely difficult to plant a vineyard from scratch in the mountains. And finally, while vineyards are the dominant form of agriculture in the valley, all types of agriculture are welcomed (except for commercially-grown cannabis, which is not allowed).

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A. An internationally styled wine made outside of the denomination regulations for Chianti

B. An internationally styled wine made outside the denomination regulations for Tuscany

C. A wine that was crafted to appeal to the American palate

D. An internationally styled wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo

A.

Many of Italy’s superstar wines were first made in the Chianti and Chianti Classico regions in Tuscany in the 1970s and 1980s. They were not wines of a place, but rather, wines of a style: flamboyant, highly structured with lots of tannin, ample bodied, and generally wrapped in new oak’s vanilla robe of flavor. Based on red grape varieties only, they were wines that, by Italian wine law at the time, could not be labeled Chianti or Chianti Classico but only be designated vini da tavolatable wines. But their sky-high prices and fanciful proprietary names gave them away. Wine writers nicknamed them the Super Tuscans. Since that time, Italian DOC/DOCG laws have been revised and some of the original Super Tuscans are now classified as Chianti Classico DOCG or Bolgheri DOC; other Super Tuscans today carry the status IGT. But the stylistic term Super Tuscan is still helpful to wine drinkers, for it gives us a sense of what we might expect once we pull the cork.

 

 

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A. Pretoria

B. Johannesburg

C. Cape Town

D. Lusaka

C.

South Africa has six large wine zones—referred to as geographical units. Of these, only one is important for fine wine: the Western Cape, located in the most southwesterly part of the continent. The Western Cape is divided into five regions: the Coastal Region, Cape South Coast, Breede River Valley, Klein Karoo, and Olifants River.  Spreading out like a fan from the charming city of Cape Town, the Coastal Region includes the fine wine districts of Swartland (Dutch for “black land,” a reference to the local plant known as rhinoceros bush which turns black after it rains), Paarl, Franschhoek Valley, Stellenbosch, and Constantia (the latter is technically a ward within the Cape Town District). Here, there are no African savannahs. The climate is largely Mediterranean, with a beautiful growing season free of frost and rain.

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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.