Home > Wednesday's Meritage, wine quiz > Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Too Hot and Too Cold, Grading Wine Ratings and more

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Too Hot and Too Cold, Grading Wine Ratings and more

Meritage time!

I think I have a lot of interesting stuff for you , but – let’s start from the answer to the wine quiz #48, Let’s get a little technical. Considering that I got only one response to the quiz, I can only guess that I went too far – even though I really didn’t see it that way – my hope was that everybody will try to answer at least something – it is definitely fine to say “I have no idea” – makes it as good of an answer as anything else.

Anyway, in that quiz you were supposed to match wines in the list with some of the technical terms, and as a bonus part to explain what the terms mean. These were the terms presented: Appassimento, Estufagem, Flor,  Malolactic fermentation, Noble Rot, Solera, Vintage. Here is the list of wines with the relevant terms and explanations:

A. Cabernet Sauvignon – this was a curve ball, as I warned you. None of the given terms are really associated with this wine.

B. Champagne – Vintage is only declared in the exceptional years

C. Chardonnay – Malolactic fermentation is often used to produce softer-tasting Chardonnay

D. Jerez - flor, solera

E. Madeira – Estufagem

F. Port – Vintage is declared only in exceptional years.

G. Riesling – Noble rot

H. Valtellina Sfursat – Appassimento -  in production of Valtelina Sfursat, Nebbiolo grapes are dried before pressing, sometimes for 100+ days.

I. Vin Jaune – flor

All in all, VinoInLove gets an honorable mention, both for the courage and for providing a number of right answers. Also, this quiz forced me to add a  feature to this blog which I wanted to do for the long time – a Wine Glossary! Now, instead of providing explanation for all the terms one by one, I can simply refer you to my new Wine Glossary page. And as it is new feature, I would love to hear from you – comments, yay, nay, suggestions – anything and everything goes!

And now, to the news!

Boy, so much stuff happens when you get away from the Reader for a while. Some of my “news” might not be new for you at all, but – I still would like to share it here.

First, I found this very interesting article by Dr. Vino, who writes for the Wine-Searcher site – the article hits close to home for all of us who gets wine shipped to them ( and who doesn’t nowadays). Do you know how your wine was stored during the shipping? Was it exposed to extreme heat or extreme cold? Both can equally destroy your wine, but for more details go read the article.

The next interesting article again comes from Dr. Vino and it is dedicated to all the number addicts and Champagne aficionados ( I know I have a few among my readers, but I will not name names).  Want to know how many bottles were made, consumed and broken (okay, I’m pulling your leg here) – take a look at this post.

Can you name the wines which are produced by the iconic Spanish winery, Vega Sicilia? Unico? Yes, of course. Valbuena 5? Very good.  How about some Rioja? No, no Rioja from Vega Sicilia? Well, there is now – two Rioja wines called Macan and Macam Classico from Vega Sicilia, and it looks like they might be even affordable (well, for now, anyway) – but of course, not available in US for now.

Do you know who Antonio Galloni is? If you do, great. If you don’t – you soon will. Antonio Galloni left Wine Advocate (surprise, surprise, after Wine Advocate was essentially sold to the group of Asian investors) to start his own web site. Get ready to look for the new abbreviation next to the wine ratings – AG, I guess. For more details you can click here.

And now, this mention of the wine ratings is a great segway to our last news subject for today – a very interesting Wall Street Journal article by Lettie Teague about the value of wine ratings and overall perception of good and bad wines. Would you actively seek 88 point rated wines, or would you go out of your way to drink only 95+ pointers? Robert Parker alone awarded last year 78 100-point ( perfect! ) scores, where Wine Spectator awarded … zero. Is 100 points losing its value as it becoming a lot more readily available, or famous Robert Parker’s palate is faltering? The article raises a lot of interesting questions and definitely is worth reading.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty. Until the next time – cheers!

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  1. March 7, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Thanks for mentioning me even though I didn’t get the quiz right :)
    It was pretty challenging. I have one question though. Doesn’t vintage refer to the grape harvest, too? According to Wikipedia, which isn’t that great of a source, it is but you are probably right that it refers to wines produced in exceptional years.

    Interesting to see Antonio Galloni leave WA. Some of his reviews for Italian wines were pretty good. Who knows what will happen to WA after those Asian investors took it over but it was probably a good idea of Galloni to leave WA and to make his own thing

    • talkavino
      March 7, 2013 at 7:14 am

      You are absolutely right that Vintage is effectively applicable to any wine which specifies the year on the label (if you will look into my newly minted glossary : ), I mention it as well) – however, with Champagne and Port being listed, I was looking for more specialized usage of the Vintage as it holds a unique value for them. As it is with many quizzes, there is a borderline of correct and incorrect, so I agree that with this question I’m sitting somewhere on that borderline : )
      I’m really curious what will happen with Wine Advocate – I think it might lose its relevance especially in US, and especially with overinflated scores and good people leaving.I think Galloni will make it fine on his own, as James Suckling already did…

      • March 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm

        Thanks for clarifying! I haven’t checked out your wine glossary yet (forgive me :P ) but I will do so now.

        • talkavino
          March 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm

          No worries! It is here to stay : )

  2. March 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I read that WSJ article . . . very interesting. I’ve long struggled with wine ratings. They are, after all, subjective. A wine that’s outstanding to me, may just be very good to someone with a different palate. And vice versa. I’ve wondered for years about Wine Spectator ratings and if they aren’t tied (consciously or not) to advertising dollars. It’s the skeptic in me. And I’ve all but stopped paying attention to WA scores, especially for Spanish reds (among my favorite wines). It seems like there’s no wine in all of Spain under 90 points anymore. :o) Salud!

    • talkavino
      March 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Yes, the ratings are subjective and everyone’s palate is different. I take all the ratings as a reference – this is what professionals thought of that wine – but I don’t buy wine based on the ratings, so it is more of a “aha, so Parker said 92, okay”.
      I’m so happy to find another Spanish wine aficionado out there! Most of the bloggers around are talking about Italy, California or France – and Spanish wines are among my absolute favorite! Do you have a favorite Spanish red or white?

      • March 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm

        My current favorite is Elias Mora Toro and Toro Crianza. And of course the Elias Mora Reserva is exceptional! I find myself seeking out that particular wine every year. I’m also quite fond of the El Nido Clio Jumilla. Salud!!

        • talkavino
          March 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

          very cool! I think I have a slight preference towards Rioja, but overall, it is hard to go wrong with Spanish wines… Cheers!

    • March 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      I am very sure that WS ratings are tied to money. A few years ago, there was a scandal where WS gave their award of excellence for an outstanding wine-selection to a no-existing restaurant in Milan

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