Which grape variety below has a name whose etymological origin means to speak badly of another person?

A. Catawba

B. Malbec

C. Ugni Blanc

D. Alicante Bouschet


Ok this was probably pretty easy if you know a little French, since mal is French for “bad,” and bec for “mouth.” But allow me to explain further. Although it is now famous in Argentina, malbec’s ancestral home is Cahors, a tiny, ancient wine region in southwest France. Here, the wine is known as le vin noir, “the black wine,” not only because of its dark color, but also because of its severe, tannic, dark flavors. The word malbec is actually a nickname for the grape’s true ampelographic name: côt. But in the nineteenth century, malbec became a slang term for someone who spoke badly of others. There must have been a lot of malbecs in Cahors, for the word became a common surname—and an affectionate term for the local grapes.

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