Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #VerdejoDay Tomorrow, French Laundry Story, Generous Pour Is Back!, Of Clones and Varietals, and more
Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #105, Grape Trivia – Blends, Part 9.
For the long time, the grape trivia series was focused on the single grapes. But now we are stirring things up, so all the questions in the quiz are about blends (well, even if it is a blend of one ), as most of the wines in the world are actually blends. As usual, there were 5 questions in the quiz.
Here are the questions, now with the answers:
Q1: Amarone, a powerful dry Italian wine, made out of the sun-dried grapes (appasimento), was actually a result of the accident (complete fermentation of all the sugar) during the process of making of the sweet wine in the same region. This sweet wine is still produced today, albeit in the very small quantities – but it used to be quite famous hundreds of years ago. Can you name this sweet wine?
A1: Recioto della Valpolicella. Recioto della Valpolicella, sweet wine from Valpolicella, was very well known and well recognized way before Amarone was discovered for the first time. While production of Recioto dramatically decreased over the last few decades, currently Recioto is in the revival and it is drawing more interest, both among producers and consumers.
Q2: These two red sweet wines are primarily made out of all three types of Grenache grapes – Noir, Gris and Blanc, but one of them also allows the use of Carignan grape. Can you name these two wines (I’m looking for the name of appellations, not particular producers) and also specify which one of the two allows the use of Carignan?
A2: As it almost became a tradition for me with this Blend series, here is yet another question where I goofed up. Yes, the sweet wines of Banyuls in France are made predominantly from Grenache grapes – Noir, Gris and Blanc, and Carignan is also an allowed grape in Banyuls. But then there are more than one appellation which uses all three Grenache grape types in production of the sweet wines – Riversaltes ( this was my intended answer), Maury and Rasteau would all fit the bill here. Anyway, I keep learning, and anyone who answered “Banyuls” is getting a point here.
Q3: This rare red dessert wine is made out of Nebbiolo grapes, and one of its characteristics is incredible aromatics. Can you name this wine?
A3: Barolo Chinato. This wine is made as Barolo, from the Nebbiolo grapes, but with the addition of aromatic herbs – it is a pure symphony in the glass.
Q4: This sweet wine, while typically made from the single grape variety, might claim the prize of “ultimate blend”, as it represents a blend of wines of many different ages, potentially tracing hundreds years of history in some of the bottling. Can you name this wine and explain about “hundred years of history”?
A4: Sweet Sherry, a.k.a Jerez, is typically made out of grape called Pedro Ximenez, and it is aged using so called Solera method – portion of the wine from the old (or oldest) barrel is bottled, and then the barrel is topped off with the younger wine. The barrel is never fully emptied and never cleaned, which means that even in the trace amount, but the very old wine is still present in the bottles, potentially going back to the year when the winery was built (and some of them are 250 years old…).
Q5: This delicious dessert white wine is made by the famed red wine producer in Napa Valley. The wine is made from the single white grape variety, estate grown in Napa Valley, which is of German/Austrian origin (and it is NOT Riesling). Name the grape, the wine and the producer.
A5: Silly me, I thought this would be a difficult question – nope : ). As many of you correctly answered, this dessert wine, called Eisrebe, is made by Joseph Phelps (the producer of famous red California wine called Insignia), from the grape called Scheurebe. A very delicious wine – try it if you will get a chance.
When it comes to the results, again – good participation and we have winners! Gene Castellino (no blog) and vinoinlove both correctly answered all 5 questions, thus they become the winners of this round and get the coveted prize of unlimited bragging rights! I want also to acknowledge Jennifer Lewis (no web site) who correctly answered 4 questions out of 5. Well done all!
Now, to the interesting stuff around the vine and the web!
Let me start from the bad news – for the second year in the row, Bordeaux vineyards experienced the hail storm, torrential rains and almost hurricane-strength winds. The areas around Médoc had been hit the most. I think we are [again] looking at a dim prospects of the 2014 vintage in Bordeaux… For more information (and the picture of hail, quite impressive) please click here.
And now, on a more positive side…. Tomorrow, June 12th, don’t forget to celebrate #VerdejoDay! As I understood from the comments to my post about upcoming #VerdejoDay festivities, Verdejo wines are not that unfamiliar to many of the wine lovers, so I’m sure you will have no problems either to join the festivities in person or at least find a bottle of Verdejo and have fun! I plan to be at the celebration in New York at Tavern 29, so if you will be there, please let me know – will be glad to meet and raise the glass together!
One of the most fascinating restaurants for me in US is French Laundry, located in Yountville, in the heart of Napa Valley. I never visited it, but I read a lot about the restaurant and its star chef, Thomas Keller. As with most of the other success stories, there is not much magic or luck in Thomas Keller’s success- it is only a lot of hard work and perseverance. The reason I’m talking about Thomas Keller is that I just came across a very interesting article about his recipe for success – you can read it for yourself here. And I really hope one day to write a blog post not just about success of the French Laundry, but about an actual dining experience there.
Wine [and steak] lovers, rejoice! The Capital Grille just announced a comeback of their Generous Pour program for the summer of 2014. Starting July 7th, 7 wines from California and Oregon, hand selected by The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier George Miliotes, will be offered at The Capital Grille locations for $25. I always take advantage of this program, and I can’t recommend it higher to anyone who wants to have a great wine experience with their food.
Last but not least for today, I want to turn (again) to Matt Kramer, the columnist for the Wine Spectator. Matt Kramer recently wrote an excellent series about wines of Portugal, but I just want to bring to your attention one article from that series, where he is talking about the need for the mix of grape varietals in one vineyard, almost a field blend, either clonal or the real varietal, to produce great wines. This might be a very controversial positioning – but read the article for yourself and, of course, feel free to comment.
And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!