Home > Pinot Gris, Wednesday's Meritage, wine, wine quiz, wine video > Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, How To Make Wine Into a Cult, Interesting Videos, Few Reminders and more

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, How To Make Wine Into a Cult, Interesting Videos, Few Reminders and more

Santa MargheritaMeritage Time!

First and foremost, the answer to the weekly wine quiz #67, grape trivia – Pinot Gris, a.k.a. Pinot Grigio.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about Pinot Gris grape – here are the questions, now with the answers.

Q1: Name Italian Pinot Grigio wine which is considered a golden standard of Pinot Grigio in the United States (people really ask for it by name).

A1: Santa Margherita. In the 1979, a few cases of Santa Margherita were shipped to US by Billy Terlato, the wine importer. The marketing campaign in the 1980s happened to be pure genius ( I guess, I didn’t witness the campaign, but I can see the results) – the rest was history. In 2006 Santa Margherita alone sold 8.5M (that’s millions to you) bottles of Pinot Grigio worldwide, 65% in US. Mind-boggling, if you ask me… You can find some additoinal interesting information in this Imbibe.com article.

Q2: Name two famous regions in France which used to make wines out of Pinot Gris, but not anymore

A2: Both Burgundy and Champagne used to make Pinot Gris wines in the 18th century. Nowadays, both regions still grow Pinot Gris, but practically never use it for the mainstream winemaking.

Q3: When do you think Pinot Gris was first planted in Oregon?

a. 1947, b. 1966, c. 1978, d. 1990

A3: 1966. David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards planted first Pinot Gris vines in Oregon in 1966.

Q4: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic. True or False: there are more classically rated Pinot Gris wines than Sauvignon Blanc?

A4: True. There are quite a few Pinot Gris (no Pinot Grigio, of course) with very high ratings, including 2001 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Alsace Clos Windsbuhl Sélection des Grains Nobles, which got 100 points. The highest of Sauvignon Blanc ratings belongs to 2005 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Pur Sang (97 points), and overall there are very few Sauvignon Blanc wines in the Classic ratings range.

Q5: During early 2000s, producers in Alsace had to change the way the Pinot Gris wines were typically labeled (you can still find the old name on the bottles from 1990s and before). Do you know what was changed and why? As an added bonus, please explain the origin of the old name.

A5: As with many grapes, the story is quite interesting. Pinot Gris originated in Burgundy, some time in 12th century. From there, it made it to Hungary, and then in 16th century it made it to Alsace, now under the name of Tokay d’Alsace. At the same time, Tokay ( Tokaj to be precise) is the name used for one of the best Hungarian wines, so in 1993 the agreement was reached in EU to phase out the use of “Tokay” in Alsace, which was completed in 2007.

I’m glad to tell you that we have the winner this time! Jeff, a.k.a. The Drunken Cyclist, nailed all 5 questions – he also did it Google-free, which deserved a special commendation – however I can only offer a double amount of the typical prize – unlimited bragging rights. Double unlimited? Not sure how that should work… but great job Jeff!

Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and web!

First, here is an interesting story for you on how to make the wine into a cult wine. The story was published in the Drinks Business online magazine, so it is written more a trade article, but it makes an interesting reading nevertheless.

Now, I have two important reminders for you:

August 14th – Wine Blogging Wednesday event, #WBW80 – Dry Rosé. All you need to do is to write a blog post pertinent to the subject, and submit it to the host. For all the details please click here. Let’s make it a success!

August 16th – deadline for submission for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #2, with the theme called Trouble. You can find all the rules here. I personally have big trouble with this trouble, so I’m not sure if you will see an article from me… Oh well – I’ve seen a few submissions already, and they were worth the trouble!

Thanks to the tweet from the fellow oenophile Peter L. Zachar (@PeterZachar ), I came across an interesting series of videos about Bordeaux. Recorded by James Cluer, Master of Wine, the series is presenting some of the greatest estates in Bordeaux. Below is the first video of the series, and you can follow it from there.

And this is all I have for you for today. The glass is empty – but the refill is coming. Open something great tonight, and until the next time – cheers!


  1. July 31, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    I was really hoping I was wrong about that Santa Margherita–brilliant marketing? Perhaps. Tasteless wine? Certainly.

    • talkavino
      July 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Yeah, I guess this is why many people like it. A lot of people drink why not because they like it, but because it is considered to be a social necessity nowadays, so they find something which is the closest to the water in the taste…

    • September 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      I find the Santa Margherita to be grossly overpriced. It could be a marketing case study. I would say it is the best marketed PG out there but certainly not the best PG.

      • talkavino
        September 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        Thanks for the comment Amy! Santa Margherita essentially created Italian PG phenomenon, so they continue to rip the results of their brilliant marketing. Unlike many other competing food products (think Coke and Pepsi), the sheer amount of wine choices available in each and every category is simply intimidating, so people tend to go with familiar choice – hence Santa Margherita’s ability to command premium price…

  2. July 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I never saw the Santa Margherita in any wine shop in Italy and Germany but I also never really looked for it because I didn’t know about that wine. Have you tried te Santa Margherita and would you recommend it? I’m a little bit surprised that this out of all the Italian Pinot Grigio has so much success overseas.

    • talkavino
      July 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Julian, just a word of caution – don’t imagine the tastes of the mass of the American wine consumers are similar to the select group of bloggers you are typically talking to. Not even remotely close. Pinot Grigio accounts of about 8% of the total wine consumption in US! And this number decreased slightly in the past few years, it was even higher. yes, wine consumers in US are drinking that stuff a lot. Do you want to know something which is even scarier? The latest craze is with the … nothing else but Moscato! Sweet and insipid Moscato is taking over wine consumers like storm…

  1. August 30, 2013 at 9:20 am
  2. August 31, 2013 at 8:38 am
  3. November 30, 2013 at 9:04 am
  4. June 28, 2014 at 9:19 am

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