It is time for trivia again this week, which was inspired a bit by last week’s quiz (as well as by Snoop Doggy Dogg, but no real need to get into that right now). Before we get to this week’s question, a quick review of last week’s quiz, which seemed rather straight forward:
True or False: Zinfandel and Primitivo are two names for the same exact grape variety.
Most alcoholics would answer this question rather quickly and definitively as ‘True’ without even the slightest of hesitation. I was certainly in that camp before I made my trip to Washington during the holiday. There, while visiting one of the wineries, I was informed that one of the wines was a blend of many grapes, including Zinfandel and Primitivo. Since I did not want to look like a complete pedantic tool, instead of correcting her, I asked “Aren’t those one and the same?” To which she replied, “No, not exactly the same, they are different clones of the same variety.” I was a bit floored, so I did a little research.
"Although the DNA profiles for Zinfandel and Primitivo appear to be identical, some clonal divergence seems to have resulted over time, most likely attributable to the lengthy period of independent development of the two grapes in California and Italy, respectively. (DNA profiles are excellent for distinguishing between grapevine varieties but cannot be used to identify clones.).... Primitivo berries are slighter smaller than Zinfandel; the size discrepancy is noted if the two grapes are simultaneously viewed together or if one measures the berries. Both Primitivo and Zinfandel have tight clusters and thin skin, which favors bunch rot with this genotype. However, Primitivo has looser clusters than Zinfandel, and consequently less rot." (Foundation Plant Services, 2007) "Genetically, these two grapes are extremely similar—it took some DNA fingerprinting to figure it out—but Primitivo and Zinfandel are actually both clones of a Croatian grape called Crljenak.... U.S. labeling laws don’t allow them to be used interchangeably..." (Dr. Vinny on WineSpectator.com)
I intended that the question stump you, so my answer was ‘False’ they are not the exact same grape variety–they are genetically the same, but different clones. Feel free to argue if you like, I might be sympathetic to your plight (I don’t think any of my former students would characterize me as a particularly harsh or unfair grader).
On to this week’s quiz:
As I stated above, this week’s quiz was somewhat inspired by last week’s ‘puzzler’ (a slight nod there to Wil Shortz and NPR). Like Zinfandel/Primitivo, there are many other instances of essentially the same grape being called different names in different regions. The most obvious, perhaps, is the Syrah/Shiraz example.
For today’s quiz, here are a list of several common varieties, you need to provide the less common name and the region associated with it.
- Chenin Blanc
Good luck! Answers next week!