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Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #WBC14, Project Genome, What is in the Price

June 25, 2014 7 comments

Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #107, Grape Trivia – Blends, Part 10.

This was the last quiz in the Blends theme of the grape trivia – we  are going back to the single grape quizzes for a while, before changing the subject of the quizzes to something else. But for now, here is the final set of the questions about blends – now with the answers.

Q1: Name the region in France, where total of seven of red and white grapes are permitted, but absolute majority of the wines is made out of three grapes, which includes both red and white. Blend and single grape wines are permitted, and majority of the wines (even made from single grape variety) are blended.

A1: Champagne. While  Arbane, Chardonnay, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir are all allowed grapes in Champagne, absolute majority of wines is made out of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Q2: Name region in France, where multiple red and multiple white grapes are allowed to be used in production of a single red wine.

A2: Châteauneuf-du-Pape. 18 grapes are allowed to be used in production of this famous red wine, a mix of both reds and whites.

Q3: This wine in the old world wine region are traditionally made as a blend of 4 grapes (only 4 are allowed) , with one grape considered to be the major, and 3 others used in various proportions, or possibly none at all. These wines are known to have great affinity to oak and have classification based on the aging time in oak and in the bottle. Flavor profile often includes eucalyptus and cigar box, and wines have great ability to age, especially in the best years. Can you name this region?

A3: Rioja. Rioja wines are made out of the combination of Tempranillo, Mazuello, Garnacha and Graciano, with Tempranillo typically being the main grape.

Q4: This protected (trade mark protected) word came around a bit more than 25 years ago to designate the wine blend (can be both red and white) which resembles in its composition and grape usage one of the most prestigious and best known wines and overall wine styles in the world. Do you know what this word might be?

A4: Meritage! in 1988, Meritage Alliance was created in California by the group of winemakers, to promote creation of the Bordeaux-style blends, both red and white, without infringing on the Bordeaux protected name. According to Wikipedia, the red Meritage wine “must be made from a blend of at least two of the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, or Carmenère, with no varietal comprising more than 90% of the blend”. The same goes for the white Meritage wine: “must be made from a blend of at least two or more of the following varieties: Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon or Muscadelle du Bordelais, with no varietal comprising more than 90% of the blend”. Another interesting fact is that Meritage is a trademark protected word, and any winery using it on their labels must pay the alliance a license fee.

Q5: Wine Spectator’s rating of 100 points ( an “absolute perfection” so to speak), is not easy to get – to the date, there are only 75 wines which got the 100 rating from Wine Spectator. Taking into account only the red wines on the top 100 list, which grape or grape-dominated blend got the score of 100 most often? Different vintages of the same wine should be counted as separate votes.

a. Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Sauvignon based blend, b. Merlot or Merlot based blend, c. Nebbiolo, d. Pinot Noir, e. Syrah or Syrah based blend

A5: Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon based blends are definitely in the lead among this elite group – 17 different wines received the coveted 100 points rating from the Wine Spectator. Merlot and Merlot based wines are trailing behind with 11 different wines receiving the honors.

When it comes to the results, looks like I can never estimate the difficulty of the quiz properly. I thought this was somewhat difficult, but I was proven wrong – today we have 3 winners! Jennifer Lewis (no web site), Gene Castellino (no web site) and benway69 (no web site) all correctly answered 5 out of 5 questions, so they are all the winners of this quiz and they all get the coveted prize of unlimited bragging right. Excellent Work! vinoinlove gets an honorable mention with 4 correct answers out of 5.

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

In the mere two weeks, The Wine Bloggers Conference 2014, dubbed WBC14, will take place in Santa Barbara County in California. More than 300 people have signed up to attend the 3 days event, to meet, greet, talk, learn and of course, drink the wine. I’m very excited as this will be my first WBC event, and of course full report will follow. I’m looking forward meeting everyone there (I know that both SAHMMelier and the drunken cyclist will be in attendance), so if you are going, let’s connect! You can find all the details about the conference at the WBC web site.

While the next interesting read item is geared more towards the wine professionals, I think many of you will find it quite interesting. Constellations Brands, one of the biggest wine producers and distributors in the world, recently published the result of the multi-year study of the behavior of the wine consumers, under the name of the Project Genome. Based on the results of that study, all wine consumers are split into the 6 different categories (Price Driven, Everyday Loyals, Overwhelmed, Image Seekers, Engaged Newcomers, Enthusiasts), with the detailed analysis of buying patterns of all the people in each category. There is a lot of interesting info in this article, so I suggest you will go read it for yourself here.

Last one for today is an interesting article at Wine-Searcher, written by Tyler Colman (who is also known as Dr. Vino). In the article, Tyler is attempting to break up a price of a $100 and then a $2 bottles of wine, to identify  the price elements attributed to the different participants – the winery, distributor and the retailer, as the bottle of wine is making its way to the consumer’s hands. While it is not necessarily 100% precise, it gives you some food for thought. You can find the article here.

And we are done here. The glass is empty – but the refill is on its way! Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Just The Wine Quiz Answer

November 28, 2012 3 comments

Meritage time!

Today’s Meritage will be only about the wine quiz. I had very limited time to find sharing-worthy news – and I failed.

In the last wine quiz #38, you were supposed to play a game of “find the differences” between two labels of the wine. I’m happy to report that we have a winner, vinoinlove – he correctly identified 3 differences between labels – the name of the wine (Tiare Imperiale versus Le Fiarre), ABV listed on the labels ( 14% and 14.5%) and even size of the labels ( there is a small difference in the size). Congratulations!

Quite honestly, I have to admit that I wanted someone to take the comparison a little further. When I saw the two bottles, the similarity between the front labels was almost shocking and it took me a few moments to realize that there are some differences there (okay, call me slow). When I tried to compare the wines, my expectations were that they will taste indistinguishably the same – and they were not! Tiare Imperiale was a lot more round and polished, were Le Fiarre was not bad, but rather rough on edges. Turning the bottles over and looking at the back labels clearly pointed to the fact that these are two different wines – Tiare Imperiale is made out of all 13 grapes allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape  appellation, and Le Fiarre is made out of 4:

 

So in my cryptic comments, I was hoping that someone will say that most likely the wines tasted differently and were made from the different grapes – but apparently I didn’t succeed. Just an additional interesting fact – Le Fiarre wine came from from Trader Joe’s ( at $19.99), and Tiare Imperiale was acquired through Wine Till Sold Out, and purchase price was something like $25 with $55 listed as a retail. I would not recommend Le Fiarre (while $19.99 is a bargain, there are other much better wines in that price category) – but Tieare Imperiale is a good wine in the $25 range – I wouldn’t take it for $55 though. Another interesting fact is that both wines seems to be private labeled for Skalli and have virtually no additional information available on Internet.

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

Weekly Wine Quiz #38 – Children’s Game With Wine Labels

November 24, 2012 8 comments

It was clearly too much turkey, my friends – I couldn’t come up with anything super-creative for this wine quiz, so I decided to go with children’s game of “find the differences”.

When we arrived to the friend’s house on Wednesday, I spotted two bottles of Chateauneuf-du-Pape which looked absolutely identical at the first sight:

Little by little, I was able to realize many differences between these two wines – I wonder how many differences can you think of? Just to give you a few hints, don’t pay attention to the colors of the labels (color difference is just an effect of lighting, they really look absolutely identical in real life), and think about the wine as a whole when you will be answering this question.

Have fun and enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend. Cheers!

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