Posts Tagged ‘#MWWC3’

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC3 Winner, The Way You Pour, Wine and Shutdown, and more

October 2, 2013 6 comments

Meritage time!

As usual, let’s start from the answer to the wine quiz #75, grape trivia – Marsanne. In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Marsanne. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Name the grape, typical blending partner of Marsanne in Northern Rhône

A1: Roussanne.

Q2: True or False: Plantings of Marsanne in Australia far exceed Marsanne plantings in France.

A2: True. Actually, about 80% of worldwide plantings of Marsanne are located in Australia

Q3: Solve the riddle and explain: Part of 8, but not part of 18

A3: Marsanne is one of the 8 white grapes officially allowed in the Rhône appellations. At the same time, Marsanne is not a part of the 18 grapes officially allowed to be used in Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation

Q4: Marsanne is known in Switzerland under the name of …

A4: Ermitage [blanc]

Q5: Name major wine producing country which doesn’t make any Marsanne wines of notice

A5: Italy. Yes, Italy makes no wines out of Marsanne – at least no wines which can be easily accessible or found on the internet.

I’m glad to report that we have a winner! Jeff of the drunken cyclist fame correctly answered all 5 questions, so he is our uncontested winner and he gets the coveted prize of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!

And now, to the interesting stuff around the web and the vine!

First of all, we have a winner for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #3! The Wine Kat wrote the winning story, which you can find here. Congratulations to the winner! Now we are all eagerly waiting to learn the theme for the challenge #4 – hopefully it will be announced soon…

Do you know that the way you pour the wine affects how much you drink? Here is the link to the post on the subject. Weather you hold the glass, tilt the glass, pour red or white – all of this factors affect the amount you consume – according to this study, of course.

Wondering about the connections between US Government shutdown and wine? I had no idea there is one, until I read this post by Dr. Vino. TTB, the government agency which approves all the new labels, is part of the shutdown. On one side it makes perfect sense as it is seemingly not-essential. At the same time, as opposed to many other parts of the government, this one actually makes money… Anyway, read the article for more details.

Actually, there is another small post by the same Dr. Vino, which I want to bring to your attention. Before you read it, I have a question for you. Which country do you think might request to put the words “wine kills” on the labels? No, it is not United States. Interestingly enough, it is France, which is concerned with the fact that people drink wine, so this was one of the proposals as a way to reduce wine consumption. Another, similarly bright proposal, was suggesting to ban all the internet writing about the wine – brilliant, isn’t it? You can read the post here – it is short and interesting.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC3 Vote, Greenwich Food and Wine Festival, [In]decent Wine Labels, and more

September 25, 2013 6 comments

wine quiz answerMeritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #74, grape trivia – Trebbiano.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about the white grape called Trebbiano (known in France as Ugni Blanc). Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Ugni Blanc is a main grape in the production of what famous spirit?

A1: Cognac.

Q2: Name the wine, in which Trebbiano was a required part of the blend, and it was considered to be the reason for a bad, flabby quality of that wine (it is no longer required to be used in that wine).

A2: Chianti. For the long time, Trebbiano was a mandatory part of the Chianti wines, rendering them dull and uninteresting.

Q3: Trebbiano is often a foundation for the popular food product (containing no alcohol). Do you know what food product it is?

A3: Balsamic Vinegar! Yes, of course when you look at the literally a black-colored balsamic vinegar, it is hard to imagine that it is made out of the white grape juice – but all the color comes from the ageing in wood. Trebbiano is a popular choice due to its neutral taste characteristics.

Q4: Contrary to the name, Trebbiano di Lugano is not considered to be a part of the Trebbiano family, but rather related to another Italian grape. Do you know what grape is that?

A4: Verdicchio. Based on genetic analysis, it is established that Trebbiano di Lugano is a close relative of Verdicchio grape from Marche region in Italy.

Q5: When used for the wine production (as opposed to the distilled spirits), Ugni Blanc is rarely used on its own – it is typically a part of the blend.  Name 3 grapes, traditional blending partners of Ugni Blanc.

A5: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Sémillon. While other combinations are possible, I was looking for classic Bordeaux lineup, which are these three grapes.

Now, when to comes to declaring the winners (or not) of this quiz, the becomes somewhat of a challenge. Both Michael (who has no web site) and Eat with Namie answered first 4 questions correctly, and provided a different answer to the question #5, compare to what I was looking for, but I can’t fully disqualify their answer. So we don’t have an absolute winner this week, but both Michael and Namie get an honorable mention. Well done!

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

First and foremost, 3rd Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC3) concluded with 15 entries, taking on a difficult theme “possession”. Now it is your time to chose the host for #MWWC4, a.k.a. The Winner of #MWWC3. Here is the post from Sally, the winner of #MWWC2 and the host of #MWWC3, which summarizes all the entries. Your job is simple: 1. Get glass of wine. 2. Read. 3. Vote. Yes, don’t forget to vote!

Now, if you live in a close proximity of Greenwich , Connecticut, or plan to visit the area, here is the event you don’t want to miss – Greenwich Food and Wine Festival, taking place over 3 days, October 3 – 5. In its third year, the festival brings together more than 90 restaurants and vendors, chefs, musicians, sommeliers. You will find great food, great wines, cooking demos by celebrity chefs such as Duff Goldman, live music, BBQ, beer, competitions (had enough?) and more. For the schedule of events and tickets please click here.

Next – do you think some wine labels are going too far? Too suggestive, too sensual, simply indecent? May be some are. Take a look at Tyler Colman’s, a.k.a. Dr. Vino, blog post on the subject. Make sure to check the link to his article in the Details magazine – you will find some interesting labels there.

And the last one for today – another installment of Wine in China is available for your reading pleasure on the Wine Economist blog. This time you can learn about Chinese government involvement and its role in shaping up the Chinese wine industry.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Chinese Terroirs, #MWWC3 Last Chance, [again] Wine Reviews and more

September 18, 2013 10 comments

Y d'YquemMeritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #73, grape trivia – Sémillon.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Sémillon. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Name a grape, primary blending partner of Sémillon

A1: Sauvignon Blanc. While Muscadelle is also allowed as part of the blend in Bordeaux, the most popular combination worldwide is Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Q2: Below is the list of years. There  is something common between all of them (and of course it has a relationship with Sémillon) – do you know what is common among those years?

1930, 1952, 1964, 1974, 2012

A2: This is a partial list of years when Château d’Yquem Sauternes, the most famous Sauternes wine, was not produced. Since 1825, there were only 10 years when d’Yquem Sauternes was not produced: 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1992 and 2012.

Q3: Ture or False: Sauternes produces only sweet wines

A3: False. Dry wines are also produced in Sauternes, under a designation of Bordeaux Supérieur. Example – “Y” by Château d’Yquem, 50% Sémillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc.

Q4: Name a key factor for the great tasting dry Sémillon wines

A4: Bottle age. While acidity is important, dry Sémillon wines, such as those produced in the Hunter Valley in Australia,  are known to fully develop and really blossom after about 10 years of age in the bottle.

Q5: What is Semageddon?

A5: Semageddon is a new annual event in Napa Valley, created to celebrate Sémillon grape. You can read more about the event here.

This was somewhat of a difficult quiz. We don’t have a winner, but we have three people who get an honorable mention – the drunken cyclist, EatwithNamie and Vinoinlove.

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

What do you know about wine in China? Do you think China will be able to produce the wines we will all crave? Well, can’t tell you about the craving yet, but the hard work already started. Here is an interesting blog post from The Wine Economist blog, talking about the Chinese Terroir quest which is already under way.

Another interesting post is coming from the Joe Roberts of a 1WineDude fame. Joe is bringing up a well beaten subject of the wine reviews, relevance of the wine critics, collective wisdom of the crowd-sourced wine reviews (yep, of course the CellarTracker) and more. You can read the post here, and of course please make sure to read through all the comments.  I personally don’t understand why is it so popular and necessary to return to this subject over and over again. I might respond with the rant of my own – if I do, you will be the first to know.

Next important subject: Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #3 is almost over! You need to make a final effort to convert your obsession into possession, and finally publish that blog post. Submission deadline is September 23rd, and for more details please check this formal announcement with all the rules and dates.

As I mentioned last week, Spanish Wine Festival is coming to New York City. If you love Spanish wines and want to taste something amazing, don’t miss this event! For more details and tickets please click here.

And one more event I want to bring to your attention. If you love (or at least like) whiskey, this is the right event for you. WhiskeyFest is coming to New York on October 11-12. For more details and tickets, please use this link.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!


How Possessive Are The Wine Lovers?

September 17, 2013 32 comments

MWWC_logoIf you are following wine blogs, you might have noticed the theme “possession” showing up here are there. Yes, this is no accident – the common linking factor is the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (MWWC for short), in its third incarnation.

The theme for the first challenge was “transportation” – it was relatively easy to tie up to the wine both directly and allegorically. The theme for the next challenge was “trouble”, which sent me home scrambling  – “trouble” is not the first thing which comes to mind when you are looking at a glass of wine. In the end of the day, many bloggers successfully found the connection and produced a lot of interesting posts. The current theme, “Possession”, is a whole different game. On one side, it has a direct connection to the wine – but it is too direct for the nice intricate piece. “I possess wine. Sometimes, wine possesses me. The end”. On another side, it is almost forcing you to go into pretty much the exorcism route, which can be played, but this is not necessarily pretty (need examples? Do a google search for “wine possession” – you will find some stuff which might make you afraid to visit your cellar when it is dark).

So as you can deduce from my rant, I don’t have a good play on the theme. What you will find below is rather a collection of random thoughts, centered on the wine appreciation, with the nod towards the “possessive” relationship of wine lovers with the subject of their love.

So how possessive the wine lovers are? We can find few different types of “possessiveness” among the wine lovers as such. First, there are wine collectors (of course, that is an obvious one). But even among wine collectors there is one extreme group which I would like to exclude from the actual category of the wine lovers. That is the group which rather collect the money than anything else. Wine is strictly an investment for them, and they never think about bottle of wine in terms of the actual content. For this group, the wine is only an object which will appreciate in value, and at some point it will be exchanged for cash and profit. This group also includes the worst possible type – the wine-possessive ego-maniacs. For this group the wine which they stock in their cellars is intended to be an ego-booster – “I spent on that bottle 10 times more than you did”, and “my bottle is bigger and more round than yours”. In the end of the day, I’m not even sure if this group even belongs to the true wine lovers category.

Then there are those who love wine, but don’t care to possess it at all. Folks in this group happily drink the wine at any occasion, they serve the wine at their parties, and they buy a bottle on the way home when they feel like it. But they really don’t “possess” wine, as they don’t keep much wine in the house, and most importantly, they don’t assign any special attributes to any bottles.

And then comes the rest. The group of wine lovers who possesses the wine and actually, is possessed by the wine at the same time (I’m including myself in this group, so I’m continuing here from the collective of “we”). We keep the wine. We make the wine special by associating special mementos with those bottles – “ahh, this is the year we got married”, “remember we had this wine in Tuscany”, “this is the year our son was born”, “remember that winery visit”. We do our best to keep those bottles cool, quiet and comfortable. And then we wait. While buying the wine with mementos, we are also investing, of course. We are investing into exciting anticipation of how special this wine will taste when we will finally open it. While we hold on to the bottle, we can re-live that future moment over and over. We are possessed with finding the right moment for that special bottle. But what is important, that right moment also includes the right people. How many times have you thought “ohh, if they (whomever “they” are) are coming over, I got this special bottle we have to open”. Yes, we are possessed with wine. But we don’t buy it just to enjoy by ourselves. We are also possessed to share. We  want to share the experience. We want to share the special moment. We don’t want to keep it to ourselves. Without special moment or a special company, that bottle never gets to be opened.

And that is what I want to leave you with. Possessed by wine. Possessed to share.

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Oh No, Don’t Lose The Bottle, Wine Prices, Reminders and more

September 11, 2013 5 comments
Donna Paula Torrontes

Donna Paula Torrontés

Meritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #72, grape trivia – Torrontés.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Torrontés. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Name three varietals of Torrontés growing in Argentina

A1: Torrontés Riojano, Torrontés Sanjuanino, and Torrontés Mendocino

Q2: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 90-94 range Outstanding. True or False: there are no Torrontés wines with Outstanding rating?

A2: True. The highest rated Torrontés from Bodega Colomé has a rating of 88 points.

Q3: As established by DNA analysis, Torrontés is a cross of two grapes. One of them is Muscat of Alexandria. The second grape played an important role in the early days of winemaking in the United States. Do you know what grape it is?

A3: Mission. Torrontés is a cross of Muscat of Alexandria and Mission grape, which used to be widely planted in California in the 1800s.

Q4: Most of the Torrontés is growing in pretty unique conditions, for most of the plantings being at a high altitude. Name one problem which needs to be controlled for the production of the high quality wines.

A4: Overproduction. Torrontés enjoys almost ideal growing conditions, with dry mountain air, no diseases and plenty of water – but that doesn’t allow grapes to concentrate the flavor and produce high quality wines.

Q5: True or False: Torrontés produces both dry and dessert wines

A5: True. Santa Julia, Susana Balbo and number of others produce Late Harvest Torrontés wines.

Talking about the results, I was glad that there we people who said that they had Torrontés before and they like it. And of course there were those who said that they never had it before – I hope this quiz will make at least one person curious enough to go and find a bottle of Torrontés to try – this shouldn’t be difficult at all. We have only one person who attempted to answer the questions – while Linda from Foxress didn’t answer all the questions correctly, she definitely gets an honorable mention for attempting to solve the quiz.

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

Boy, there are lots of things to talk about. First, I came across an interesting article by Chris Kassel, who writes an outstanding blog called “Intoxicology Report” – if you enjoy the high level of language sophistication almost to the point of reading challenge (for me it is), read Chris’s blog, I promise you will not regret. In this article, Chris shared his view on the latest series of commercials themed “Lose the Bottle” and produced by Black Box Wines. I don’t want to take away from your pleasure of reading Chris’s hilarious comments, so I recommend you will read the article first, and then watch the commercials.

Next, Steve Heimoff ponders at the high prices of the brand new wines in their first release (here is the link to the blog post). Steve is talking about new Central Coast wine made by Raj Parr (famous sommelier at RN74 in San Francisco) and released at measly $90/bottle; he is trying to figure out the logic and reason behind such a high introductory price. My personal view on the price of wine is that any price is possible, but in the free market, you have to have enough people willing to pay the money, and if you do – good for you, and if you don’t – you are out. The post is definitely an interesting read, and make sure to read through the comments, some of them being quite interesting.

Another post from Steve Heimoff is an excellent set of instructions for the perfect day in Napa Valley. I like his take on the tasting at the most of Napa vineyards nowadays (“slurp 3 of something for $25”), so if you are planning a Napa getaway, make sure to read this post which will help to improve the experience.

Now, a friendly reminder: you need to possess your possessions – the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #3 with the theme “Possession” is still on, with the deadline for submissions on September 23rd. Get possessed and write. All the rules and other important information can be found here.

Do you like Spanish wines? Do you live in New York City or in a close proximity of? Don’t miss Spanish Wine Festival 2013, taking place on October 4th at The Metropolitan Pavilion. This will be your great opportunity to experience Vega Sicilia, Emilio Moro, Clos Mogador, Clos Martinet, multiple Rioja verticals and many other outstanding wines. Click here for all the details.

And the last update for today. I changed my Top Wine Ratings page ( I mentioned it in the post yesterday), and I also added the menu links for my top dozen wines for 2010, 2011 and 2012 – for all of you who likes the lists, these are a few more to play with.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC2 Winner, #MWWC3 Theme, Cabernet Day and more

August 28, 2013 7 comments
Mar de Frades Albarino

Mar de Frades Albarino

Meritage time!

First, let’s start with the answer for the wine quiz #71, grape trivia – Albariño.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about white grape called Albariño. Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Explain the origin of the name Albariño

A1: The theory is that the Albariño was brought to Spain from Germany’s Rhine region and it is a relative of Riesling. Thus Alba-Riño stands for “white from Rhine”

Q2: What kind of food is typically expected to be paired with Albariño?

A2: Seafood! Rias Baixas, the region where Albariño strives, is fully embraced by the Atlantic ocean, so seafood is a local specialty, and Albariño is known to perfectly complement it.

Q3: When Albariño was first planted in California?

a. 2000, b. 1996, c. 1992, d. 1988

A3: b, 1996. In 1996, Kathryn and Michael Havens of Havens Wine Cellars visited Rias Baixas and fell in love with Albariño. They brought it back to the US and started the first plantings. Albariño was officially registered in California in the year 2000.

Q4: For the long time, winemakers in Australia thought that they are making Albariño wine – until it was recently found that due to the mistake, what they thought they planted as Albariño is not Albariño at all, but a totally unrelated grape. Do you know what grape it was?

A4: Savagnin.

Q5: Val do Salnés is one of the sub-regions in Rias Baixas, making wines from Albariño grapes. True or False: to be labeled Albariño Val do Salnés, the wine must contain 100% Albariño grapes

A5: False. Interestingly enough, for the wine to be labeled Rias Baixas DO, it should be 100% Albariño, but for any other sub-regions, it is enough to use only 70% of the Albariño grapes.

I’m glad to report that we have a winner this time! Linda from Foxress is taking home the unlimited bragging rights today. Well done!

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

I’m sure you’ve seen this already, but our Monthly Wine Writing Challenge has a new Queen! Sally from My Custard Pie won the #MWWC2 with this blog post. Congratulations!

Let me ask you a question. How possessive you are? Do you possess your wines, or maybe your wines possess you? Or may be your wines are possessed? If I were you, I wouldn’t go down to that cellar…yeah. Why am I all of a sudden so possessed with the possession? Because Possession is the theme of the #MWWC3! Here is the formal announcement with all the rules and dates. Sharpen your mind and your pencil, blow the dust off your keyboard – and write, write, write! The submission deadline is Monday, September 23rd.

Last minute reminder – tomorrow, August 29th, is 4th annual Cabernet Day! Open the bottle of Cabernet and join the festivities. Hope you will enjoy whatever you will be drinking, and if it will be extra good – let the world know about it – blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – there are so many ways today to let the world know that you are happy!

I also have two articles to share with you. Interestingly enough, I just realized that these two articles are essentially completely opposite to each other. In the first article, Harvey Steiman, Wine spectator’s Editor at Large, talks about scientific advancements in the world of wine. He talks about DNA testing being used to detect faults in wine, and then he also talks about micro-oxygenation, that makes the wines more soft and round. Fault detection might be good, but do you want your wines to be soft, round and … the same? I personally would prefer the wine with character over the dull and round, but of course you can decide for yourself.

Second article talks about the archaeological project in Italy, where the group of scientists it trying to recreate the way the wine was made thousands of years ago – no chemicals, no reverse osmosis, no micro-oxygenation – just the pure goodness of nature. Somehow, I like this. But again, read the article and decide for yourself.

That’s all I have for you for today, folks. The glass is empty – but refill is on its way. Until the next time – cheers!

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