Well, it is Wednesday again, and time for the Weekly Wine Quiz. Last week, the Quiz was comprised of a few general wine knowledge questions, which we need to address first.
1. Legally, what does “Reserve” mean on a bottle of wine produced in the United States?
a. Chosen from the best barrels. b. Aged an additional amount of time on oak. c. Held for an additional time in bottle before release. d. Nothing.
D. Nothing. The key word here is “legally.” Many wineries have special wines that may be described as either A, B, or C but there is no legal criteria to meet to label a wine as a “Reserve.”
2. Which of the following odors is an indication that a wine is off, or bad?
a. Cat pee b. Gasoline c. Old, damp newspapers d. All of the above
C. Old, damp newspapers. All of the responses are odors/aromas that are found in wine, but only C is considered to be a fault. Specifically, it is a sign that the wine is “corked” meaning that the cork itself was tainted with a fungus called 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole or TCA.
3. What does “toast” refer to in wine making?
a. Wine that reached too high a temperature when fermenting. b. The treating of oak barrels with heat. c. The left over grape skins after crushing. d. None of the above.
B. The treating of oak barrels with heat. Oak barrels, before wine is added are often charred on the inside with an open flame. This “toasting” imparts different flavors into the wine and can be done to differing degrees (the most basic are “light” “medium” and “heavy”).
4. What is carbonic maceration?
a. Whole cluster fermentation. b. Introduction of carbon monoxide to stabilize the fermentation. c. Fermentation in a closed tank. d. A and C.
D. A and C. Carbonic maceration, or allowing the grapes to start fermenting before crushing them is done to preserve the fruitiness of the wine and to limit the influence of the grape skins (particularly the introduction of tannin). It is performed in a anaerobic (closed) environment where carbon dioxide is pumped in to eliminate the effects of oxygen and to stimulate fermentation. It is not a very common practice, but is widely used in Beaujolais.
Bonus Question: What wine describes this picture?
Opus One. The picture is of Robert Mondavi and the Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton Rothschild. In 1980 they joined together to start making the famous Napa wine.
That means we have a record seven winners this week! It also means that either a). the quiz was too easy, b). the quiz was easy enough to encourage more participation, or c). there are a bunch of cheaters who read this blog and just copy the first answer. I will go with “b”. Those winners are: The Food and Wine Hedonist, Talk-a-Vino, Armchair Sommelier, Vino in Love, Foxress (From Vinho Verde to Barolo with Love), binNotes©, and aFrankAngle. Congrats all and thanks for playing!
On to this week’s quiz. Once again, instead of focusing on one wine region, the quiz this week is a hodgepodge of wine trivia. So in no particular order:
1. Of the following, which would benefit the most from decanting?
a. 1950 Bordeaux b. 2012 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc c. 2008 California Cabernet Sauvignon d. 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau
2. Which major wine growing country has never experienced significant issues with the phylloxera louse?
a. Australia b. Chile c. New Zealand d. United States
3. Which of the following best describes a “harsh” wine?
a. Excessive acidity b. Excessive alcohol c. Low Tannin d. A corked wine
4. What do you call someone who collects the metal caps that are on the top of a champagne cork?
a. placophilatelist b. placomusophile c. placonumismatist d. placodufus
Good luck answers next week!