ANSWERS – Back To School Wine Quiz

Thank you for participating in the Wine Star Back To School Wine Quiz! (If you haven’t taken it yet, go take it and then come read this.) I hope you all rewarded yourself with a nice glass of something for getting in the school spirit.  Here’s a little wine-know about each of the 15 items on the quiz.  Overall, we have some super Wine Knows following this blog!! I’m impressed!!

Cabernet Sauvignon (93% answered correctly!)

Grape Varietal

Cabernet Sauvignon is a well-known grape that often is used to make single-varietal wines (wines that only use this grape). It originates from Bordeaux, France where it is one of the major blending grapes used in red Bordeauxs.

 

Pinot Noir (100% answered correctly!)

Grape Varietal

I guess I don’t even need to explain this one since everyone got it right. But Pinot Noir is also often made as a single-varietal wine. It has some significant characteristic differences from its varied producing regions – fun to taste one from Oregon, from France, from New Zealand, etc!

 

Bordeaux (96% answered correctly!)

Region/Appellation

Bordeaux is a region in France that produces some of those most important – or influential – wines. There are several major blending grapes used in Bordeaux wines – for red they include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

 

Super Tuscan (67% answered correctly!)

This one was tricky… it would be more accurate to answer this one as “neither” a grape varietal or a region/appellation. But it is more closely aligned with a designated appellation than anything.

Basically, “Super Tuscan” refers to a wine made in Tuscany, Italy that most typically includes the grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, and/or Canaiolo. These wines have a lower “quality” designation based on Italian wine laws but only because they don’t follow all the rules in order to be labeled at the higher quality classification step. However, the original Super Tuscan wines are made by some of the most well known producers and have an innovative touch to them – especially when these first started to appear in the the 1970s. So while they are down a step on the classification scale, they are often up a step on price point (especially the more famous Super Tuscans such as Sassicaia, Tignanello, or Ornellaia). You won’t see “Super Tuscan” on a label, but you may see “Toscana IGT” (the appellation). Many restaurants refer to these wines as a “Super Tuscans” on their menu.

 

Chardonnay (81% answered correctly!)

Grape Varietal

This is a grape varietal – it is one of the most widely planted white wine grapes and is often used to produce wine made with 100% Chardonnay. Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, France – so if you’re buying a bottle of white Burgundy, it is Chardonnay!

 

Barolo (74% answered correctly!)

Region/Appellation

Barolo is a designated region within the northwestern part of Italy in Piemonte. You will see “DOCG” after “Barolo” on a label, which is indicative of its quality classification. Barolo is made with the Nebbiolo grape and is one of the few wines that can usually be aged for over 20 years!

 

Burgundy (81% answered correctly!)

Region/Appellation

This is a region in France that produces wines primarily made with Pinot Noir in reds and Chardonnay grapes in whites. So if you buy a red Burgundy, it is most likely Pinot Noir. (But will have some distinct differences from Pinot Noirs made in Oregon, for example!)

 

Riesling (96% answered correctly!)

Grape Varietal

Riesling is a grape that is often thought as one of the most food-friendly white wines. While many times it is used to produce sweet wines, there are plenty of dry or off-dry Rieslings as well!

 

Barbaresco (56% answered correctly!)

Region/Appellation

Like Barolo, Barbaresco wines come from the Piemonte region in northwest Italy and are made with the Nebbiolo grape. You’ll also see these wines with a quality designation of “DOCG” after “Barbaresco” on the label. It’s an indication (or confirmation) that the nebbiolo grapes are grown in this little zone of the Piemonte region and made according to the required practices.

 

Barbera (52% answered correctly!)

Grape Varietal

Barbera is another grape from Piemonte, Italy. These often make delightful, fruity wines that are great with food. You’ll often see “Barbera d’Alba” on the label.

 

Sangiovese (81% answered correctly!)

Grape Varietal

Sangiovese is one of Italy’s – specifically, Tuscany’s – most famous red grapes. If you’re drinking Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or Brunello di Montalcino, it is made with mostly Sangiovese. Interestingly, I’ve had several lovely Arizona Sangiovese wines as well!

 

Moscato (89% answered correctly!)

Grape Varietal

This is a grape that produces the well known “Moscato d’Asti” – a sweet sparkling, or fizzy, wine. If you have tried a $6 bottle of Moscato (as they are often available at that price point) and hated it – try one in the $15+ range. You’ll notice a difference.

 

Chianti (81% answered correctly!)

Region/Appellation

Chianti is a region in Tuscany that primarily uses Sangiovese grapes. It can also be blended with Canaiolo and some others, but generally, when you’re drinking a Chianti or a Chianti Classico (a more specific region), you’re having mostly Sangiovese.

 

Champagne (96% answered correctly!)

Region/Appellation

We all know you can’t call a bottle of sparkling wine “champagne” unless it comes from Champagne, France. That is because it is a specific appellation that has very specific rules for how the wine is made. Champagne is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and/or Pinot Noir.

 

Beaujolais (74% answered correctly!)

Region/Appellation

Beaujolais is a region in France that uses the grape, Gamay. Almost all the production from this region is for red wine. We often see “Beaujolais Noveau” in the fall – it is a young wine meant to be enjoyed immediately. But it is far more simple than a Beaujolais (non-noveau), so give them both a chance!

 

We’ll eventually explore all of these in more detail… are there any you’d like to know more about sooner than later?!

Divine Wine Sunday: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

Everyone needs a “go-to” wine… one that is enjoyable with or without a meal… one that you can bet you’ll find in most stores that sell wine… and one that isn’t going to wreck your budget.  This week’s Divine Wine is one that I’ve enjoyed a number of times for the reasons listed above.  Most recently, I sipped on it a few days ago to make sure it was fresh in my mind for today’s post.  So, for a go-to wine, may I suggest….

Divine Wine of the Week: Beaujolais Villages, Maison Louis Jadot Winery, Burgundy, France

Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

Price Range: $8-12 in most stores (in Arizona), $8.47 at Total Wine, available in most grocery stores as well as Costco.

Wino Assessment…

I would describe this lovely bottle as a light-bodied red that is a little watery, but I don’t mean that in a bad way…  More in a way that just makes it easy to drink.  It is fruity – strawberries come to mind.  But it isn’t overly sweet.  It’s almost like having a cup of juice (the alcohol free kind) and this Wino has to be careful not to take too many sips too quickly.  I usually buy this one in multiples because it is nice to enjoy on Saturday afternoon or on Tuesday evening.

The Grape…

French wines are known by their regions whereas most other wines of the world (though not all) are known in name by their grape(s).  So a Beaujolais wine indicates it is from the vineyards in Beaujolais which is located in the southern region of Burgundy, France. Beaujolais wines are made from the gamay grape, which is a soft, fruity, purple grape.  The Wine Bible describe gamay as follows:

“Gamay’s flavors are virtually unmistakable: a rush of sweet black cherry and black raspberry, then a hint of peaches, violets, and roses, followed by a smidgen of peppery spiciness at the end.”

Coffee Talk Interlude: Note there is a red wine known in California and referred to as a gamay Beaujolais that is neither made from the gamay grape nor is it related to Beaujolais.  It is a pinot noir clone.  Discuss amongst yourselves….

The Wine…

“Beaujolais has been called the only white wine that happens to be red.”  (The Wine Bible)  Oh my gosh, this line describes this wine so perfectly to me!! Something about this noticeably red wine is so distinguishably white.  So to all you white wine Winos out there, give this red a try!  (And here I was feeling bad that I was being unfair to white wines given the quantity of reds I’ve blogged about vs whites on Divine Wine Sunday… I feel better now.)

The grape description above translates into the flavors one will taste in a Beaujolais wine, which is what makes it so enjoyable and easy to drink.  While the flavor of the grape plays a huge role in the outcome of htis wine, it is also obtains some of its character via the “carbonic maceration” process.  That means that whole grapes (in clusters) are put into a fermenting tank and the fermentation takes place inside each grape.  It then rests in the tanks for 5-9 months and then is bottled and sold.  This carbonic maceration process can be used for any grapes, but apparently is best with super fruity grapes, like gamay.

What does Maison Louis Jadot (the winemaker) say about this wine?

Strong red purple colour. Fresh red fruits on the nose with a hint of dark cherry. Slightly spicy with a touch of grey pepper, liquorice and a touch of rose flower. The whole wine is very well balanced with a nice acidity and the tannins presence on the finish invites food pairing such as with Terrines, Charcuteries, Grilled red meat, white fish, cheese or simply as the sole wine of a meal.

!ALERT!: New phrase added to Wino’s favorite phrases list (which doesn’t yet exist, but it will): “Sole wine of a meal.”

Ok, so I’m a bit thrown off by the “spicy” description (made both by the general description of gamay and Beaujolais from The Wine Bible as well as from the winemaker’s website).  I will have to try this wine again with new taste buds to see if I can find the “spiciness”.  But I clearly agree with the “sole wine of a meal” comment!

The Region…

As noted above, Beaujolais is in southern Burgundy stretching 35 miles long and 9 miles wide with 96 villages total.  There are three categories of Beaujolais: (1) Beaujolais, (2) Beaujolais-Villages, (3) Beaujolais Cru.  (The latter being the highest quality.)  So all wines from this area are identified as one of these three categories.  Wine categorized as Beaujolais-Villages comes from one of 39 villages in the middle of the Beaujolais region and is often a blend of grapes from a few of the said villages.  In contrast, plain ol’ Beaujolais is made from “less distinguished” vineyards in the southern part of the Beaujolais region, and Beaujolais Cru is made from the 10 most distinguished villages.  (I smell future blog post diving into this topic a bit more.)

Tidbit extra of Wine Know: Beaujolais Nouveau is different than the Beaujolais wines… (another future blog post)… but don’t get it confused, Winos!

So hopefully you Wine Know a little more about Beaujolais in general.  If you run out to buy a bottle of Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais Villages, let me know what you think!

 

[Source for all Wine Know in this post is, unless otherwise stated, from: The Wine Bible.]