Posts Tagged ‘Conundrum’

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, WTSO Magnum Marathon, #MalbecWorldDay, Can Wine Critic be Objective?, Pinot Noir #winechat

April 16, 2014 4 comments

Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #98, Grape Trivia – Blends, Part 2.

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: This grape was created as a cross between Cinsaut and Pinot Noir. Can you name the grape?

A1: Pinotage, the famous grape of South Africa

Q2: Take a look at this list of the grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, ?, Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris. Two questions:

a. Name the missing grape

A2a: Pinot Meunier. Listed above are the names of all grapes allowed to be used in the Champagne region in France, so the missing grape is Pinot Meunier

b. What wine is made most often by blending some of these grapes?

A2b: Champagne!

Q3: Which grape is missing?

– Tempranillo, Garnacha, ?, Graciano

A3: Mazuelo. This is the list of the grapes typically blended in production of the Rioja wines.

Q4: This dry red wine from California is related to famous Caymus, and made out of the unknown, secret blend of grapes. Can you name this wine?

A4: Conundrum. The famous Caymus wines are made by Wagner family in California. The same Wagner family produces the wine called Conundrum, both white and red, where the exact composition of the blend of grapes is kept secret.

Q5 Carménère to Merlot is the same as Douce Noir to ?

A5: Bonarda/Charbono. Carménère grape (originally from Bordeaux), was mistaken for Merlot for the very long time in Chile. Similarly, the popular Argentinian grape Bonarda, which happened to be identical to the Charbono grape in US, was actually the almost forgotten french grape called Douce Noir in Savoie region.

When it comes to the results, I’m glad to report that again there was good participation in the quiz. We also have a winner – Wayward Wine , who correctly answered all 5 questions, and thus gets the coveted prize of unlimited bragging rights. Jeff the drunken cyclist and Suzanne of apuginthekitchen get honorable mention for correctly answering 4 questions out of 5. Well done all!

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

WTSO is on it again- the time has come for the famous Wine Til Sold Out Marathon! Mark April 22nd in your calendar – it will be go big or go home day – WTSO Magnum Marathon. Starting from 7 AM Eastern until midnight, WTSO will be offering wines in the 1.5L or 3L format. Each wine will be available for 30 minutes or until it will be sold out. All new wines will be announced only on Twitter, so make sure you follow @WTSO if you want to get real time notifications about new wines.

Do you like Malbec? There is a good chance you do, as many other people around the world. Just two easy references for you – shipments of Argentinian Malbec to US increased from 1.9 million cases in 2008, to over 4 million in 2013. Argentinian wines are also most popular wines among people of 25-34 years old in UK – for more interesting details on Argentinian Malbec, here is an article for you to read. Why all of a sudden we are talking about Malbec in the news section? Because tomorrow, April 17th, is Malbec World Day! Get the bottle of your favorite Malbec, pour the glass and join the celebration! Oh yes, and don’t forget to tweet about your favorite Malbec using the #MalbecWorldDay hashtag.

With hundreds of thousands of different wines produced around the world every year, we need to have some guidance as to what is new, what might worth our attention, what might not. This is where the wine critics come into a play – to help us navigate that ocean of wine by writing the wine reviews and rating the wines. Here comes an interesting question – can the wine critic be 100% objective, or can her work be influenced by personal preferences? Here is an interesting post on Jamie Goode’s wine blog, which raises this question – be sure to read the post and all the comments, it is quite a lively discussion.

Few more updates regarding the #winechat (if you are not familiar with the concept of #winechat, here is the blog post which will explain it). Last Wednesday, the #winechat was focused on Lenné Estate Pinot Noir from  Yamhill-Carlton AVA in Oregon. Continuing the Oregon Pinot Noir theme, the subject of tonight’s #winechat is biodynamics of Youngberg Hill vineyards. The next week’s #winechat subject is wines of J Wrigley Vineyards from Willamette Valley in Oregon. All #winechat take place on twitter on Wednesdays at 6 PM Pacific/9 PM Eastern time. You can always participate using the #winechat hashtag. Join the conversation, it is fun!

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

Daily Glass: Great Red, Interesting White and Amusing Pairings

September 5, 2010 1 comment

Let me start with a little disclaimer. When I use the word “interesting” in conjunction with food, typically it’s a bad sign. I use that word really to say “well, yes, it is probably not that bad… but I don’t like it!”. The reason I need the disclaimer is that this is how I would describe white wine called Conundrum – interesting. The wine is made our of 5 different grapes, all grown in California, with the different proportions every year. The grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli and Viognier, all blended together of course. So the bottle we had over the weekend was from 2007, had being rated 88 by Wine Spectator in the May 2009 issue. The wine is extremely aromatic, with fresh flowers, honey, white peaches and pear on the nose. But my challenge was that all those great aromatics on the nose where not integrated with the rest of the flavors on the palate, so the wine was not balanced – and hence the “interesting” disclaimer comes to play. This is the second time I fail to fall in love with this wine ( feel kind of bad, as wine gets a lot of great reviews) – but the great thing about wine is real unpredictability – every year is a different year! As I do have a bottle of 2008, I will definitely make another attempt, but for now, the verdict for 2007 is…

Drinkability: 7-

Now, let’s talk about different experience. Burgess Cellars had being making wines in California since 1972. One thing which I find very interesting (ok, just to be very careful – here “interesting” is a good thing ), is a Library program, started ion 1980, where the wines would age at the winery before being released to the market. So this weekend we had a chance to try Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage Selection 1997, which was recently released (and I have to thank Wine Till Sold Out for an opportunity to get it at a great price, $24.99). As I’m referring to Wine Spectator ratings in this post, this wine had a rating of 90. Also, if anyone is curious, this wine consists of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cab Franc and 9%Merlot. Now, in the terms of my “pleasure”-centered ratings, this was a great wine – it had a layered complexity with dark fruit, such as black currant and blackberries, hint of earthiness, eucalyptus and cedar, all supplemented by fresh acidity and round tannins. The wine is ready to drink now, but will continue to evolve for another 5-7 years,  and I’m looking forward to that experience.

Drinkability: 8

Now, talking about amusing pairings  – of course chocolate and red wine is a classic combination, what’s so amusing, right? Take a piece of a good dark chocolate, glass of Cab or Syrah, and you practically guaranteed a good time (I have to note that I usually fail to identify with Port and chocolate, which is also considered classic, but doesn’t work for me). Now, if your chocolate is called Mo’s Bacon Bar made by Vosges Chocolate, the story get’s more interesting – can you dream of such combination on your own? May be not? Mo’s Bacon Bar is a milk chocolate (45% cocoa) with addition of tiny pieces of applewood smoked bacon and applewood smoked salt – and it effectively tastes like that, each and every element is noticeable and surprisingly well integrated together. So this chocolate is fine by itself, now what about wine pairing? It actually did work quite well with the Burgess Cab! I would think that the reason for the tasty pairing is in the ability of Cab to work well with the steak, so it was cutting through the fatty component of the bacon and bringing in fresh acidity to the total combination. In the interest of full report, we also tried the same chocolate with nice LBV Port ( Quinta do Infantado LBV 2000), and the pairing didn’t work all that well – but there is always next time…

So here is your call for action for today: be amused, try something new – and make sure to share your experience!

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