Wine Trivia Wednesday–5/29/2013

It is Wednesday again and it is time for another installment of Wine Trivia Wednesday. Before we get to this week’s quiz, we need to get to the answers from last week. The last few weeks, the focus has been on Champagne. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this summer I will be heading to the region to lead a bike trip as a Tour Guide with Blue Marble Travel (be sure to go check them out, it is a fun company). I am very excited about the trip–even excited to drink Belgian beers.

I have been re-reading Richard Juhlin’s book, 4000 Champagneswhich is an absolutely fantastic resource for Champagne, but it is also loaded with great information about wine in general (the new version of the book 8000 Champagnes is due out in November, so if you were looking to get me a gift….). Here are a few questions I derived from the book:

1)   True or False: Malolactic Fermentation raises the overall acidity level of a wine.

False. The process of fermenting malic acid into lactic acid actually results in a loss of about a third of the overall acid level. This is at least part of the reason why wines that have gone through a full malolactic fermentation tend to be less tart than those that have not. Imagine the difference in acidity between apple juice (malic acid) and milk (lactic acid)–a bit over simplified, but you get the idea. 

2)   Which of the following Champagne Houses commonly use oak in the production of their champagnes?

a)   Veuve Clicquot

b)   Krug

c)   Moêt et Chandon

d)   Bollinger

e)   Gosset

A bit of a trick question: there are two answers. Both Krug and Bollinger use oak rather extensively.

3)   Oxidized wines can best be described as:

a)   smelling like a musty basement

b)   smelling and tasting like Sherry

c)   have the odor of a barnyard

d)   tasting overly jammy

Oxidation results in wines that smell and taste like Sherry.

Well, we had one winner last week who answered all questions correctly, but she notified me via email, so I am not quite sure she wants her identity known. As for people who left a comment, both Damon at and MyWeeklyWine came really, really close so they get the bragging rights for this week.

On to this week’s quiz.

I am continuing to peruse through 4000 Champagnes by Richard Juhlin and came up with these questions for the week:

  1. What are the two most common ways to prevent a wine going through malolactic fermentation?
  2. Other than the stylistic changes to the wine (e.g., flavor profile), what is the main advantage to having a wine go through malolactic fermentation?
  3. Almost all red wines go through malolactic fermentation, with a couple of notable exceptions. Can you name a red wine that does not?
  4. Bonus Question (that has nothing to do with wine): Where was the picture taken?

Have fun with the quiz–answers next week!

Thanks to all those who voted in the Wine Blog Awards! The awards are next weekend!


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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11 Responses to Wine Trivia Wednesday–5/29/2013

  1. I will have to read 4000 Champagnes vicariously through you . . . I looked it up just now on Amazon, and the USED copies are going for $300!

    1. By adding sulfur dioxide or a malolactic-inhibiting enzyme before bottling. I also read something about filtering — seems like that would be a heck of a filter.
    2. To enhance stability and complexity.
    3. Beaujolais nouveau??
    4. Chartres Cathedral . . . who would have thought all those Art History classes I took in college would come in handy? They took all the stained glass out of Chartres during WWII (and hid it in the countryside) so it wouldn’t get destroyed by the Germans.



  2. Damon Levy says:

    1. SO2 or cold stabilization with fining. You can add stuff to kill the bacteria that converts the acid, but it isn’t as “natural”.
    2. stabilization so that secondary fermentation doesn’t happen in the bottle.
    3. Beaujolais Nouveau
    4. Chalons-en-Champagne?


  3. gabe says:

    1- the first step to preventing ML is sulfur immediately after primary fermentation…or the “rack & smack”, as i like to call it. a filter will prevent ML from happening in the bottle, and the armchairsom is right, it’s a heck of a filter. A 0.45 micron absolute filter will remove all yeast from your wine, making secondary fermentation impossible.

    2- in my opinion, the biggest advantage to putting a wine through ML is that you can bottle it unfiltered. in my experience, unfiltered wines have more intense flavors and aromas, but are not as crisp and bright as filtered wines.

    3 – these two beat me to beaujulais neauveau. i bet there are some kooky spanish & italian wines that are bottled prior to ml. i’ll take a wild guess and say refosco


  4. ewgreenlee says:

    I’m a wine novice, so I will follow and see if I can get up to speed on the variations of the malolactic and masochistic fermentation process. Just kidding. Thanks for stopping by my blog.


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