Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC8 Theme, Water into Wine???, Wine in Numbers, About Champagne and more
Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #93, Grape Trivia – Norton. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about the red grape called Norton.
Here are the questions, now with the answers:
Q1: Which of the following are synonyms of Norton?
a. Cynthiana, b. St. Croix, c. St. Vincent, d. Virginia Seedling
A1: While looks standard, this was a tricky question – did anyone noticed the plural on the “synonyms“? The correct answer here is Cynthiana and Virginia Seedling – both are synonyms for Norton, even though it seems that Cynthiana might be a slightly different clone rather than identical grape under a different name.
Q2: The winery in which state holds the trademark The Real American Grape®:
a. Arkansas, b. Missouri, c. Pennsylvania, d. Virginia
A2: This phrase was trademarked by Chrysalis winery in Virginia
Q3: Norton is an official State Grape of:
a. Arkansas, b. Mississippi, c. Missouri, d. Virginia
A3: Norton is a staple of wine production in Missouri, so yes, the correct answer is c, Missouri.
Q4: Norton grape generally classified as:
a. Vitis Aestivalis, b. Vitis Cinerea, c. Vitis Labrusca, d. Vitis Vinifera
A4: While there are some competing opinions, it seems the Norton is generally classified as Vitis Aestivalis (Summer Grape), which according to definition in Wikipedia is a “species of grape native to eastern North America from southern Ontario east to Vermont, west to Oklahoma, and south to Florida and Texas”.
Q5: As you know, Riedel is the best known wine glass maker, which creates wine glasses designated for different varietals. True or False: Riedel makes a special varietal glass designated to Norton
A5: Riedel created a Norton-specific glass (a stemware, to be called properly) in 2009
I’m glad to report that we had good participation in this quiz. Nobody was able to provide a full answer to the first question – but then again, it was somewhat of a tricky question so I’m accepting the partial answers here as well. Thus we have three winners – Suzanne from apuginthekitchen, Kirsten The Armchair Sommelier and Julian from Vino in Love – they all get the prize of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!
Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!
First of all, the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, now in its 8th reincarnation, has a new theme. As announced by Kara The Sweet Sommelier, winner of the round #7, the new theme is Luck. You might need some luck to connect it to the wine, unless you have a lucky bottle, lucky cork or may be a lucky corkscrew – but in any case, put your lucky hat on and start writing. For all the details, including submission and voting timeline, here is the link to Kara’s post.
Remember Jesus? Yep, The One. Supposedly, he was able to make wine out of water, and this was definitely the miracle. So the new startup, called The Miracle Machine (hint, hint), intends to do exactly that – bring that miracle to all of us, mere mortals. A special device, a little bit of magic and, of course, an iPhone to control the magic, and the founders promise the wine which will rival Screaming Eagle, all done on your kitchen countertop, at a fraction of a fraction of a price. You can read more about the miracle device and watch the video here – as for me, I will take my chances with the local liquor store.
Number junkies, rejoice – I have a new set of numbers for you. As many times in the past, they come from Mike Veseth, who writes the blog The Wine Economist. The point of the numbers is really to illustrate the economic concept called disintermediation, which here has to do with a simple question – how many people does it take to produce a bottle of wine? Some wine businesses prefer to own vineyards, and the whole process of winemaking, and some are “outsourcing” as much of the process as possible to the other specialized businesses (like mobile bottling line, for instance), and this is what disintermediation is all about. The numbers are very interesting, if you think that it takes 4,000 people at E&J Gallo Winery to produce about 85M cases of wine worldwide, and then it takes only 95 people to produce 1.7M cases at Bogle Vineyards. But – take a look for yourself here, I think this is a very interesting read.
Next up – a very interesting article by Jancis Robinson, talking about what the wine drinkers are asking to have more and more in Champagne – in a few words, the demand is to have Champagne more complex (longer aging time on the lees), and more dry (like no added sugar at all). Of course you are better off reading it for yourself here.
Last, but not least at all, I want to bring to your attention an article about wine serial entrepreneur, Charles Banks. I’m always fascinated by the stories of the people who are told that they better give up, and they achieve their best results despite all odds ( Charles Banks was told that asparagus is all he can hope for to grow on the patch of land he acquired – and he managed to produce a great wine on that patch of land). I suggest you will find 5 minutes in your busy day and read this article – definitely worth your time.
And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!
Today was my wife’s 19th anniversary of coming to US, so I was looking for the appropriate wine to celebrate. I didn’t have anything from 1993. There were ’86, ’88 and ’90, but somehow opening those wines didn’t make too much sense. And then I saw a bottle of Norton. No, it was much younger than 19, but Norton is often called a True American Grape, so it should be perfect for the occasion.
So I pulled this bottle of 2005 Chrysalis Vineyards Norton Estate Bottled from Virginia (12.8% ABV), which I got during our visit to Chrysalis Vineyards about two years ago (here is the post about it). Somehow, from the moment the cork was pulled, the wine worked perfectly. It had that hint of barnyard aroma, just a hint, as much as you get from the well made Loire Cabernet Franc – a bit of explicit earthiness on the nose. On the palate, it was very restrained and balanced, quite dry – somewhat similar to Barolo, only without a bear claw grip of tannins, with some leather and again earthy notes. As the wine warmed up, it showed more fruit, some raspberries and plums, with good acidity, and it stayed very balanced until, well, the bottle was empty. In terms of rating, I will put Drinkability at 8.
I’m sure this wine will continue evolving – but this was my only bottle, so it is what it is. Oh well, at least it was a good bottle of wine, so no regrets here. Cheers!
P.S. I’m purposefully avoiding mentioning the debates, which were also an all American event today – let me only tell you that the wine was far more superior than the 5 minutes of debates I watched…
When I create a wine quiz, my goal is to strike a balance (hmmm, how strange, isn’t “balance” my favorite characteristic of a good wine?). If 10 people answered the quiz, and they all answered correctly, it probably was too easy. If out of the same 10 people nobody got it right, or even worth, there are 0 answers instead of 10, it was either too difficult or too boring. Considering this criteria, this wine quiz #14 was one of the most successful ones – on the date of this writing, 3 answers out of 7 were correct, and even incorrect answers seems not to be randomly chosen.
Anyway, the correct answer for the wine quiz #14, True American Grape, is Norton. Norton’s history goes all the way back to beginning of 19th century, when it was created as a result of hard work of Dr. Daniel Norton in Virginia (you can read the book by Todd Kliman, The Wild Wine if you want to get a full story). The grape was a staple of the winemaking in Virginia and Missouri until the Prohibition hit, and now it is slowly trying to restore to its old glory. I had an encounter with Norton wines at Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia about two years ago (you can read my blog post here), and the wines were very good.
That’s all I have for now, folks. Until the next wine quiz coming out on Saturday – cheers!