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Wine Quiz #137 – How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

April 10, 2021 2 comments

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

Let’s start with the answers to the last quiz #136. Once again, you needed to identify wines (producers) by the fragment of the wine label. Here are the full labels of the wines:

All of these are well-known producers, all from California, and all are mainstream wines.

I’m happy to report that once again, Zak correctly identified all of the wines and he gets the grand prize of unlimited bragging rights. I also want to mention Suzanne who correctly identified The Prisoner. It’s the game that counts – really you have nothing to lose – just give it a try.

And here is a new set of fragments of the wine labels, with the wine producers who should be reasonably familiar, and some even carrying good hints with them:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

There is something in common between all of these fragments – once you will figure it out, the rest should be reasonably straightforward.

Good luck, enjoy the weekend and your new quiz! Cheers!

Wine News and Updates

April 1, 2021 1 comment

It seems that the wine world is moving at an ever-increasing pace, with new wines and wine products continuing to surprise even the most adventurous wine lovers. Today, we want to cover some of the most interesting news and announcements.

Loic Pasquet is the winemaker at Liber Pater, the winery in Graves, producing some of the most expensive wines in the world. He is well known for his unique approach to winemaking, using pre-phylloxera vines and old grape varieties which are not used in winemaking in Bordeaux anymore, thus forcing his wines not even carry Graves appellation on the label. It appears that Loic is also an avid coffee lover. After tasting Kopi luwak, the coffee produced in Asia from the beans partially digested by the rodent, Loic decided to try to replicate the same in the winemaking, training presumably marmots (this work is done in full secrecy, so very little information is available) to eat grapes which they can’t fully digest. We hear that in the blind tasting, the wine made from partially digested grapes showed an immense promise, but I guess it will take it a few more years for those wines to become available to the wine lovers (you can imagine production quantities of a few cases a year, each bottle probably costing around $100K – but at the moment, we can only speculate about it).

Continuing the wine and coffee theme, it appears that Starbucks entered a partnership with E.&J. Gallo Winery to produce wine directly from the coffee berries. The coffee berries (or cherries, as they are properly called) are imported from Guatemala and Costa Rica at the moment. Coffee cherries are crushed and fermented at the E.&J. Gallo facility in Northern California, with some batches undergoing malolactic fermentation. Once fermentation is complete, the coffee wines are aged in ceramic eggs for 9–12 months and additional 6 months in the bottle. Few of the wine critics already had an opportunity to taste the wines and had been wildly raving about them. Starbucks and Gallo are currently in conversation with coffee farms in Kona, Hawaii, to add famous Kona coffee to its line of coffee wines. The new coffee wines, branded CoStarWin, should appear in Starbucks shops next year, first in San Francisco and Seattle, with more locations getting access to the much-desired beverage.

The unbound creativity of Coravin is widely known – the non-stop innovation coming from the maker of the famous wine preservation system is simply incredible. It was recently reported in the news that Coravin partnered with none other than Patek Philippe, a famous Swiss watchmaker, to create a new version of Coravin which allows to age wine for a precise number of years as the wine been poured into the glass. Let’s say you want to drink Opus One, and you only have the current vintage of the wine. Take your trusted Coravin, set the dial to 15 years, pour a glass, and enjoy delicious Opus One in its prime, tasting exactly as it would 15 years from now. The technology behind the new gadget had not been revealed, however, it is known that Coravin filed 16 patent applications with USPTO in conjunction with this new product. The new device, aptly named Coravin Patek WineTime, is supposed to be available in time for Christmas shopping this year and will retail for $1199.

I’m sure you will find the next news update quite surprising – Procter and Gamble is not readily associated with wine, but still. It was recently leaked to the press that Procter and Gamble, or P&G for short, is developing a new type of toilet paper using … yes, grape skins! – as the main source material. The project started out of a desire to find a new use for the abundantly available grape skins, and quickly developed into a major R&D undertaking. The first results are very encouraging, with users raving about the pleasure of using the colored toilet paper instead of just the boring white. It appears also that grape-skin-based toilet paper has excellent skin-soothing properties, so this product definitely has a bright future. It seems that Walmart got exclusive distribution rights for Charmin Grape Magic Ultra, so look for it starting in January 2022, and see how you will like it.

The last one for today is again, somewhat unexpected. Wine is usually associated with gourmet food, and Velveeta, the infamous cheese spread, is as far from gourmet food as it can be. Nevertheless, in an attempt to expand its customer base, Velveeta just announced a new line of cheese products called BoozyV. The BoozyV cheese spreads are made with the addition of the wine directly into the spread. As wine is added at the end of the mixing cycle and right before packaging, it doesn’t lose any alcohol content and offers the best of both worlds for the wine and cheese lovers – the product which instantly combines both together. Initially, the BoozyV line includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel cheese spreads, with a nice buttery Chardonnay version hitting the stores at the beginning of the next year. As BoozyV products contain alcohol at full strength, they will be exclusively available at fine wine retailers nationwide.

That’s all I have for you for today, my friends. Cheers!

Wine Quiz #136 – How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

March 27, 2021 5 comments

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

Let’s start with the answers to the last quiz #135. Once again, you needed to identify wines (producers) by the fragment of the wine label. I’m making an effort to ensure that the fragment of the label will be telling enough to allow for the producer to be identified. Here are the full pictures of the labels so you can compare:

All of these are well-known producers, most from California with the exception of Chateau Ste. Michelle from the State of Washington.

Sadly, nobody attempted to answer this quiz, so I have to keep all the prizes where they are.

Here is a new set of fragments of the wine labels, with the wine producers who should be reasonably familiar, and some even carrying good hints with them:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Good luck, enjoy the weekend and your new quiz! Cheers!

Wine Quiz #135 – How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

February 28, 2021 1 comment

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to your new wine quiz!

Let’s start with the answers to the last quiz #134. That was the second quiz in the new series, where instead of identifying the wines by the top foil or the top of the cork, I’m now asking you to identify the producers by the fragment of the wine label. I’m making an effort to make sure that the fragment of the label will be telling enough to allow for the producer to be identified. Here are the same pictures, now with the producers identified (point to the picture to see):

As I suggested in the last quiz, all of these producers and wines can be called iconic, and they all come from the same region – Washington. Also worth noting that 4 wines here are produced by Christophe Baron (Cayuse, Hors Categorie, Horsepower, No Girls).

Only one player attempted to answer the quiz, and he did it quite successfully – Zak correctly identified 5 wines out of the 6, so he gets almost unlimited bragging rights.

This week, I’m offering you another set of 6 fragments of the wine labels, with a similar hint as before – all wines are reasonably famous/iconic (again, some might be hard to find, though).

Here we go:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Good luck, enjoy the new quiz! Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage #156

February 17, 2021 2 comments

Meritage time!

Once again I’m starting with Open That Bottle Night. February 27th, rain, snow, or shine, will be the time to open that special bottle. If you are not familiar with Open That Bottle Night, please check the previous issue of Meritage or this post. I plan to have a virtual OTBN with friends – anyone who is interested in joining, please send me a message (email, Twitter, Insta – all work), and I will let you know how to connect. Now, I need to make up my own mind and decide what I’m going to open – easier said than done, believe me.

Next, in a bit of a “local news”, I would like to promote the series of posts which I had been running for a long time on this blog – the wine quizzes. These wine quizzes used to be a weekly endeavor until they became just a few a year and then stopped completely. I restarted the series about half a year ago, with the hope of posting a new quiz once every two weeks. I had a number of the wine quiz themes over the years, with one of my favorites asking the readers to identify the wine producer by the image of the top of the bottle – foil, cork, or wax – here is an example of such a quiz. But now I have a new twist on that theme, asking the readers to identify the producers by the fragment of the image of the label, which should be easier than doing it using the bottle tops. Here is an example of such a new quiz. So all I want to do is to encourage all of you who are reading this right now to give it a try – you have nothing to lose!

And now, for the real, global wine news, how about some global wines, or maybe rather “Wines of the World”? It appears that Penfolds, one of the most iconic Australian wine producers (Grange, anyone?), just unveiled the line of California wines. The wines are made from the grapes coming from the vineyards in Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles. Continuing Penfolds naming tradition, the wines are identified by the bin numbers, starting from Bin 600 Cabernet-Shiraz, priced at $50, and going to the flagship Quantum Bin 98 Cabernet Sauvignon at $700 per bottle. The top two wines, Quantum Bin 98 and Bin 149 have some of the Australian wine as part of the blend, hence the “Wine of the World” moniker. For more details, you can read the whole story in the Wine Spectator here.

That’s all I have for you today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

Wine Quiz #134 – How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

February 13, 2021 4 comments

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

Let’s start with the answers to the last quiz #133. That was the first quiz in the new series, where instead of identifying the wines by the top foil or the top of the cork, I’m now asking you to identify the producers by the fragment of the wine label. I’m making an effort to make sure that the label fragment will be telling enough to allow for the producer to be identified. Here are the same pictures, now with the producers identified (point to the picture to see):

As I suggested in the last quiz, all of these producers and wines can be called iconic, and they all come from the same region – California.

Now, I”m happy to say that there were more players this time, and even more importantly, we have a winner – Zak correctly identified all 6 producers, so he gets the unlimited bragging rights. Mika correctly identified 3 producers, so he definitely gets an honorable mention.

This week, I’m offering you another set of 6 fragments of the wine labels, with the same set of hints – all wines come from the same region, and all are quite famous/iconic (some might be hard to find, though).

Here we go:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and enjoy your weekend! Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage #155

February 3, 2021 1 comment

Meritage time!

I know it is somewhat early, but let’s start with one of my most favorite wine events of the year – OTBN. We are in February already, and that means that OTBN – Open That Bottle Night – is around the corner. OTBN is an event which is more than 20 years old, invented by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, wine writers behind the “Tastings” column in Wall Street Journal, to help wine lovers to part with those special, cherished, treasured bottles which all of us try to hold on to for as long as possible – and thus often missing an opportunity to drink the wine at its prime. OTBN is celebrated on the last Saturday in February – February 27 this year.

For many years now OTBN had been an important event in my book, as I’m unquestionably one of those hoarders who can never decide on the right time to open the special bottle. Celebrating OTBN paved the way to experience some truly special bottles such as the 1982 Olga Raffault Chinon or 1999 Soldera Brunello. This year, however, will be very different, as it is hard to get together in person. So I would like to suggest that whoever wants to join the virtual OTBN celebration on February 27, please send me a note (you can use the Contact Me form, email, or DM on Twitter) so I will be able to get you a meeting invite closer to the date. And you can already start thinking about that special bottle you will pull from your cellar to celebrate OTBN 2021.

OTBN only happens once a year, but then if you need help deciding what to open, you can turn your attention to the “grape holidays”, as I like to call them – a celebration of individual grapes that are taking place throughout the year. To help you keep track and make sure none of the grapes will be upset with you, here you can find a full list of the dates and grapes to celebrate. Actually, I already missed the Furmint day on February 1st, so yeah, time to focus…

A few more interesting tidbits. James Suckling published the list of all 100 and 99 points wines from 2020. There are 133 wines on the list, 52 of them are 100 points, and 81 are rated at 99. In order to see all the tasting notes you need to be a subscriber, but the list itself is available for free.

On an unrelated note, Wine Spectator produced a video introducing the Spanish wine region of Cariñena, the second oldest winemaking region in Spain and “the region to watch”. The video is short but contains a good amount of information about the history of the region, grapes, winemaking, and more.

That’s all I have for you today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

Wine Quiz #133 – How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

January 30, 2021 7 comments

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

Let’s start with the answers to the last quiz #132. In that quiz, you were given a set of pictures of the top of the bottles and you were supposed to identify the producers. Here are the same pictures, now with the producers identified (point to the picture to see):

We didn’t have a lot of players, but Zak did extremely well correctly identifying 5 out of 6 producers, so he gets the honorable mention and unlimited bragging rights which come with it.

At the moment, I don’t have a new set of pictures of wine bottle tops to play another round, so I decided to start a variation of this game and turn your attention to something which might be easier to identify – the labels themselves.

For all of us, wine geeks, lovers, and aficionados, labels are special. It is often enough to have a glimpse of color, lettering, or an image, to be able to instantly identify the producer, the winery, or maybe even the wine. So below you will find images of fragments of the labels, which hopefully will be enough for you to identify the producers.

Let’s go:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

All of these wines can be called iconic, and they come from the same region – these are all the hints I can offer. But I expect many of you to do very well with this quiz.

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and enjoy your weekend! Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage #154

January 20, 2021 2 comments

Meritage time!

Today’s issue might be a bit geeky, but let’s roll with the punches, shall we?

First, an interesting ruling from the TTB in regards to the allowed bottle sizes. Until now, the only approved (standard) wine bottle size was 750 ml. Yes, you could go to half (375 ml), or a quarter (187 ml), or up to a liter (1000 ml), and also 500 ml were permitted, but that was about it – for the “standard” bottles, of course, because there are many large formats, such as 1.5L, 2.25L, 3L and so on, which we are not discussing here. Now, to accommodate a fast-growing category of wine in the can, new sizes were introduced – 355ml, 250ml, and 200ml. However, the ruling allows new wine packaging sizes without restricting them to bottles or cans. So now it would be possible to see a 355 ml bottle of wine. While it is only 20 ml less than a standard 375 ml, it is still an option to give you a smaller bottle and keep the price. The level, of course, is not the same as for the typical orange juice cartons, which went from 64 oz to 52 oz while keeping the same price, but still, there is an option for an implicit price increase and some of those “half-bottles” can go into the hundreds of dollars…

Next, I found a few interesting articles in the Wine Spectator. The first one is the story of the Witch’s Wine, which I don’t want to regurgitate just to give an opportunity to read it in its entirety. Then there are a couple of good news in regards to the health benefits of wine.

First, it appears that the consumption of wine and cheese can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. The study seems to be reasonably founded: “Analyzing data from the UK Biobank, a biomedical research database, the study followed more than 1,700 participants, ages 46 to 77, over the course of 10 years.” This sounds to me like a good number of subjects and the duration of the study, so I’m sure no wine lover will be upset at the prospect to consume wine with cheese on more occasions. The second study once again looks at the anti-aging effects of resveratrol, an anti-oxidant usually found in red wine. While establishing the long-term benefits of consuming a glass of red wine every day, the study also suggests that consumption of higher amounts of wine doesn’t increase the health benefits of resveratrol, but quite on the contrary can lead to negative consequences.

And the last one for today is all about wine games. Wine Enthusiast summarized 6 games available to wine lovers with different levels of skills and expertise. I only played one of those, Wine Wars, and it was somewhat interesting, depending on the level of the audience. SOMM Blinders sounds really interesting, and I would love to play a Wine-opoly, however, I’m sure I would never win as I can’t take the risk, and thus my son always beats me in Monopoly. Oh well, we need to be able at least to see each other to play any of these, so I’m definitely looking forward to that happy moment…

That’s all I have for you today. The glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

Wine Quiz #132 – How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

January 16, 2021 6 comments

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome your new wine quiz!

Let’s start with the answers to the last quiz #131. In that quiz, you were given a series of questions related to our favorite festive beverage – Champagne.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Question 1:  A typical pressure inside of the Champagne, and for that matter, most of the Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine bottles, is 6 atmospheres (this is why you need to take special care while opening the bottle of Champagne). However, some of the wines produced under the same Méthode Traditionnelle are deliberately made to have a lower pressure of 5 atmospheres – can you find this wine in the list below?

  1. Trentodoc
  2. Cava
  3. Cremant de Jura
  4. Franciacorta Satèn
  5. Méthode Cap Classique

Answer 1:  Franciacorta Satèn (Satèn means “silk” in Italian, and it is a trademarked term), while made using Méthode Traditionnelle, were created to offer silkier (pun intended) mouthfeel compared to traditional Champagne/sparkling wine, so they are bottled at 5 atmospheres to achieve that gentler experience.

Question 2: You know that to remove the cork from a Champagne bottle, you need to untwist the wire (which is called Muselet). While untwisting, how many turns do you have to make:

  1. 3
  2. 4
  3. 5
  4. 6
  5. 7

Answer 2: You always have to make 6 twists, no matter where this Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine is coming from. For more info, click here.

Question 3: Riddling (remuage) is a process where the bottles of Champagne are turned little by little, also with the change of an angle, while inserted upside down into the vertical “table” called Pupitre, to gradually force the sediment to concentrate in the neck of the bottle for easy removal. Do you know who is credited with the invention of the Pupitre?

  1. Dom Perignon
  2. Dom Ruinart
  3. Madame Clicquot
  4. Claude Moët

Answer 3: Madame Clicquot. For more information, please click here.

Question 4:  The foil covering the top of the Champagne bottles was originally intended to:

  1. Hold cork in its place
  2. Just for looks and marketing
  3. To protect the cork from a variety of insects and rodents while wine is in storage
  4. To cover wire cage imperfections

Answer 4: To protect the cork from a variety of insects and rodents while wine is in storage. Here is a Wine Spectator article offering some insight.

Once again, we didn’t have a lot of players, but Lynn answered all 4 questions correctly, so she gets the prize of unlimited bragging rights! Well done!

Our today’s quiz is one of the “classic” ones here. Below you will find the pictures of the tops of the bottles (foil capsules for most of the cases). You need to identify the producer based on those images.

Let’s go:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

These are reasonably well-known producers from around the world, with maybe some exceptions – not sure I can give you more of the hint.

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and enjoy your weekend! Cheers!

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