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Weekly [Wine] Quiz #122: What is it?

January 28, 2017 11 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!

Well, today’s quiz will not be about the wine – it is about something which leaves in the parallel universe to wine. But first, let’s talk about last week’s wine quiz #121, where you were supposed to identify the wine producers based on the images of the bottle tops.

The quiz again was not very simple, as for instance, Field Recordings is a very small producer, Horsepower Vineyards wines are literally impossible to find, and Lolonis Winery, an all-organic producer from Redwood Valley in California, closed in 2011. Nevertheless, we had some answers, and I would like to acknowledge  Zak Ginzburg who correctly identified 3 out of the 7 wines – great job, Zak!

Here are the answers:

Today’s quiz will be something we also played before. Below is a picture of some berries. No, those are not grapes, and they are not used to make wine of any sort. However, in the way those berries are treated and regarded by producers and consumers alike, there are many parallels to be made to the world of grapes and wines. So the question is – can you identify those berries and also provide examples of similarities between these berries and their product and the world of wine?

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

Weekly Wine Quiz #121: How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

January 21, 2017 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!

Today we are continuing the theme of the bottle foils and tops in the quiz from the last week – here is the link. In that quiz, you were presented with the pictures of the 6 wine bottle tops, and you were supposed to identify the producers based on those pictures.

Unlike the previous week, the last quiz got zero responses, which makes me sad. Yes, I mentioned that it was a bit harder than the quiz a week before, but was still hoping that at least some of the wine bloggers would be able to recognise the tops as they for sure encountered them on a number of occasions over the past few months. I also was hoping that my hints would be useful – nope. Well, I hope I managed to entertain you at least a little bit, and now it is time to provide the answers:

Today’s quiz should be a bit easier than the last one, most of these producers are better known. Here we go:

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2. dsc_0224

3. dsc_0231

4. dsc_0229

5. dsc_0233

6. dsc_0221

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Even if you recognise only one wine – don’t be a stranger, take it down to the comments line, you have nothing to lose!

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

Weekly Wine Quiz #120: How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

January 14, 2017 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 the weekend and your new wine quiz!

Today we are continuing the theme of the bottle foils and tops started in the quiz last week – here is the link. In that quiz, you were presented with the pictures of the 6 wine bottle tops, and you were supposed to identify the producers based on those pictures.

First, I’m very happy to say that we have a winner! Jeff a.k.a. The Drunken Cyclist correctly identified all 6 wines! Very well done Jeff, you get your prize of unlimited bragging rights! I also would like to acknowledge Zak Ginzburg and Ryan Sorell – they both correctly identified three wines out of 6 – excellent work!

Here are the answers:

Today’s quiz might be a bit harder that the previous one, but please give it a try as you have nothing to lose. Here we go:

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2. img_4543

3. img_4549

4. img_4553

5. img_4752

6. dsc_0214

The wines above represent the USA, Chile and Spain. And quite honestly, one of the wines above might be considered a trick question – but not too much of a trick; I will explain myself when I will provide answers. Another wine was already featured in these quizzes before, but the top looked very different.

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

[Weekly] Wine Quiz #119: How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

January 7, 2017 12 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!” – this was an opening phrase of this long-running feature on the blog – but yes, it had been more than a year since the last quiz post here.

Well, definitely welcome to the weekend, and an occasional wine quiz I managed to put together for you – this wine quizzes used to come out every Saturday, on the various wine-related subjects.

Today’s quiz is on the subject of the wine bottle tops – foils, or sometimes simply the corks themselves. I know, the bottle’s top is rarely something most of us pay attention to. Meanwhile, in a lot of cases, the picture or letters on the top are meaningful, and allow you to identify at least the winery, even if the name is not spelt out. So below are the pictures of 6 of such bottle tops – please see what you can derive out of them.

Here we go:

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  3. img_4750
  4. img_4551
  5. img_4545
  6. img_4556

As this quiz is hard enough, I can offer you a small hint – the wines here represent Spain, US, Australia and Chile.

Please place your answers into the comments section. Remember – you have nothing to lose, and by playing, you can obtain cool bragging rights. The answer will be provided next Saturday – I have enough bottle tops prepared to play another round 🙂

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

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, #MWWC17 Reminder, Chardonnay Day and more

May 20, 2015 5 comments
250px-Waldkauz-Strix_aluco

Tawny Owl. Source: Wikipedia

Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #118 – What Is It?

In that quiz, you were given a picture of the bird (an owl), and the request was to identify the connection between the bird and the wine world.

I have to say that a number of people had very good answers, suggesting that owls are used to protect vineyards against various kinds of rodents, obviously in a natural way. However, this was not the answer I was looking for. The particular type of owl is called Tawny Owl, and it is the color of its feathers that gave the name to the Tawny Port. As the Tawny Port ages, the color of the wine becomes reminiscent of the Tawny Owl coloring, hence the name.

I’m glad to report that we have two winners: Margot from Gather and Graze and Gwain609 of Oz’s Travels – they both identified the owl as a Tawny Owl and suggested that “Tawny” is the key word we are looking for here. They both get the usual price of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!

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

First of all, I want to remind everyone that Monthly Wine Writing Challenge number 17 (#MWWC17) with the theme “Epiphany” is in the full swing! There had been a number of entries submitted, and everyone who didn’t submit one yet (you know who you are!) is very much encouraged to participate. For all the official rules and regulations please use this link.

Next, we got a few of the grape and wine region holidays to celebrate  – I’m sure you don’t need a reason to open a bottle of wine, but those holidays solve the problem of choice. Today, I got 3 of them for you. Tomorrow, May 21st, is a Chardonnay Day! Chardonnay needs no introduction – the grape is successfully grown all over the world, a hallmark of Burgundy, Champagne, California and practically any other wine growing country and the region. You should have no problems finding the good bottle to open, and then sharing your thoughts in the social media using the hash tag #ChardonnayDay.

Next we have two distinct regions celebrating its heritage in May – May is an Oregon Wine Month and also an Aussie Wine Month! Oregon today is a lot more than just a Pinot Noir, and Australia is a lot more than just a Shiraz – lots of wonderful wines are made in both places, so you will have no issues finding excellent authentic wines to drink for the next 10 days.

Last but not least for today – the new danger for your wallet had just became a reality. Well, no, I’m not talking about some elaborate wine scam or a new series of emails with unbeatable business proposals from Africa. Last Bottle Wines, one of my favorite purveyors of the fine wines at the value prices, finally joined the 21st century and announced availability of the Last Bottle App for the iPhone – here are the details. Now you can be notified of all the new offerings and will have a better chance to react to them. If you are still not a customer of Last Bottle Wines, I will be glad to be your reference – yes, I will get a $20 credit after your first purchase, and you will get $5 credit on that same purchase – but then you will be able to sign up your friends. And, of course, to thank me again and again. You can click here to sign up for the Last Bottle Wines account.

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

Weekly Wine Quiz #118: What Is It?

May 16, 2015 14 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!

Well, that used to be the ongoing theme for a while in this blog – haven’t done quizzes since January, as I can’t come up with the good theme which will allow for the long run, like the Grape Trivia was. If you can recommend an interesting subject for the wine quizzes – I’m all ears.

Today’s quiz is based on something which I just recently learned. I was fascinated with that small discovery, and thus I would like to pass  the newly acquired knowledge onto you – of course with a little fun, hence the today’s quiz.

Below you see a picture of a bird. That bird has a pretty much a direct relationship with the wine world. Do you know what is the relationship between this bird and the wine?

BirdEnjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!

Weekly Wine Quiz #117: How Well Do You Know Your Wines?

December 27, 2014 13 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…

Yes, I know – it’s been a while since the last wine quiz in these pages. And I can’t promise that this feature is back again on the regular basis. But – as you might judge from the title of the quiz, I have a few more “bottle tops” to quiz you on. Below are the pictures of the bottle tops – and you need to guess to which wines (producer for the most part) they belong.

Here we go:

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2. DSC_0364

3. DSC_0366

4. DSC_0369

5. DSC_0372

All of the wines are from USA – some are better known, some are less, so have fun with it!

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

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, WTSO Fall Cheapskate Marathon, Costco Wines and more

October 1, 2014 4 comments

La Rioja Alta 890Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #116: Harvest Time.

This quiz was dedicated to harvests and vintages, and as usual, contained 5 different questions.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: Which one is missing:

1928, 1945, …, 1959, 1961, 1982

A1: 1947. The years above represent some of the best vintages in Bordeaux.

Q2: What is common between Vega Sicilia Unico, La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Chateau d”Yquem Grand Vin and Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Riserva Barolo?

A2: All of the wines above are made only in the best years – they are not produced every year no matter what.

Q3: This sweet wine is one of the most prized wines in the world, and it had been produced only 3 times in the 21st century – 2000, 2003 and 2011. Do you know what wine this might be?

A3: Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional Port. This Port in not only vintage, but it is also produced only in the exceptional years, without any regards to the Vintage declaration by IVDP. This port was produced only 3 times over the last 14 years.

Q4: Below is the list of some of the exceptionally good vintage years for this red wine – do you know what wine that might be?

1948, 1955, 1964, 1982, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2004

A4: Rioja. The telltale sign here are the 2001 and 2004 vintages, which were generally not the amazing years in most of the other regions, but exceptional in Rioja.

Q5: This wine was released for the first time in 1978, at the age of 100 years. It continues to be released every year since that time, always at the age of 100 years. Do you know what wine this might be and which country produces it?

A5: Seppeltsfield Seppelt Para 100 Year Old Tawny Port.

When it comes to the results, once again, the participation was rather low. But – this was a difficult quiz, so I think 4 correct answers out of 5 is a very good performance, thus we have a winner –oenophilogical, who gets the prize of unlimited bragging rights. Well done!

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

WTSO is on it again – the Cheapskate Marathon. Tuesday, October 14th, starting at 6 AM Eastern in the morning until midnight, the rules are usual – one wine at a time, offered for 15 minutes or until sold out, prices are from $7.99 to $18.99, 4 bottles minimum to get free shipping, no notifications of any sort except twitter. Yes, you know the drill. Happy hunting!

Do you ever buy wines at Coscto? Actually Coscto is the biggest alcohol retailer in US, with the 2013 sales totaling $3.1B, about 50% of which are wine sales. I thought you might be interested to read this interview with Annette Alvarez-Peters, an assistant GM for mechanizing, to learn what sells, what doesn’t sell at Costco, and what the future holds.

Next up – one of my favorite subjects for W’M – wine in numbers. Wine Market Council, a non-profit association, released the research about wine drinkers in the US, just in time for holidays. According to the research, out of the 230 million of adults in US (drinking age adults it is), 35% don’t drink any alcohol at all (if you ask me, I think at least 10% is lying, but never mind that statement). Another 21% drink alcohol, but not wine (pour souls), and only 44% drink wine. Those 44% are divided into two groups – 15% drink wine more than once a week (yay!), and 29% drink wine occasionally. There are more numbers in the research, of course, but I will leave it up to you to explore.

Last one for today is about nanotechnologies. Okay, fine. Wine and nanotechnologies. As reported by Dr. Vino, scientists in Denmark are working on the electronic tongue, which will take the difficult task of analyzing wine upon itself, and you will be left with the like/don’t like results, and of course,  the rating which will make Robert Parker green with envy. Anyway, I will let you be the judge of it.

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

Weekly Wine Quiz #116: Harvest Time

September 27, 2014 3 comments

wine quiz pictureThe 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!

We might be reaching the logical end of the grape trivia series, at least concerning the individual grapes. Most of the grapes I can think of at this moment would be hard to create a reasonable quiz around. Don’t get me wrong – there are still plenty of the grapes worth talking about – but I need to think of a good approach there.

So for today, as we are in a middle of the harvest (in the northern hemisphere, it is), I thought – why don’t we play around vintages and harvests? Every harvest time is associated with an early assessment of the vintage – how are the grapes? Are they healthy enough? Is there acidity good? Is there good level of sugar and phenolic ripeness? How will this vintage pan out? Will people be actively seeking these wines? Will that be a vintage of the century? Well, I’m sure you got the picture and you are well familiar with it. Below I have the usual 5 questions for you, about harvests, vintages and wines. Some regions and wines are just more associated with all that “vintage” talk, so the questions might be skewed – but you should be the judge of it.

And now, to the quiz!

Q1: Which one is missing:

1928, 1945, …, 1959, 1961, 1982

Q2: What is common between Vega Sicilia Unico, La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904, Chateau d”Yquem Grand Vin and Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Riserva Barolo?

Q3: This sweet wine is one of the most prized wines in the world, and it had been produced only 3 times in the 21st century – 2000, 2003 and 2011. Do you know what wine this might be?

Q4: Below is the list of some of the exceptionally good vintage years for this red wine – do you know what wine that might be?

1948, 1955, 1964, 1982, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2004

Q5: This wine was released for the first time in 1978, at the age of 100 years. It continues to be released every year since that time, always at the age of 100 years. Do you know what wine this might be and which country produces it?

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

[Wednesday’s] Meritage – Wine Quiz Answer, Merlot is Back, Harvest Everywhere, About Yelp and more

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment
Botani Moscatel Seco Sierras de Malaga DO 2008

Botani Moscatel Seco Sierras de Malaga DO 2008

Meritage time!

Let’s start with the answer to the wine quiz #115: Grape Trivia – Muscat.

In the quiz, you were supposed to answer 5 questions about one of the oldest cultivated grapes – Muscat.

Here are the questions, now with the answers:

Q1: This Italian wine, made out of the Muscat of Alexandria grapes (which has a different local name), is quite unique in having a given vintage receive top ratings from all main Italian wine publications, including Gambero Rosso, Slow Wine, Bibenda and Veronelli. Can you name this wine?

A1: Donnafugata produces dessert wine called Ben Ryé, made out of Zibibbo grapes, which is the local name for Muscat of Alexandria. Ben Ryé typically gets awarded highest ratings by various Italian publications, year in and year out.

Q2: This Muscat wine was the last solace of exiled Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. Can you name the wine and the country where it was made?

A2: This legendary wine is Klein Constantia Vin de Constance from South Africa

Q3: Which one doesn’t belong and why?

a. Banyuls, b. Beaumes de Venise, c. Frontignan, d. Rivesaltes

A3: Banyuls – while Banyuls is known for its dessert wines, same as the three other AOCs, Grenahce Noir is the main grape used in Banyuls, not the Muscat which dominates the others.

Q4: Muscat wines often get very high ratings from the reviewers. Based on Wine Spectator Classic wines (95 – 100 rating), which country do you think has the most Muscat wines rated as Classic:

a. Australia, b. France, c. Italy, d. Portugal,

A4: It might come as a surprise, but this country is the Australia – 9 out of 10 Muscat wines with topmost ratings are from Australia, including a 100 points Campbells Muscat Rutherglen Merchant Prince Rare NV.

Q5: Which should be excluded and why?

a. Muscat of Alexandria, b. Muscadelle, c. Moscato Giallo, d. Muscat of Hamburg, e. Morio Muskat

A5: This was a bit of a tricky question – actually 2 grapes don’t belong – Muscadelle, which has nothing to do with Muscat, and Morio Muskat, which is a blend of Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc.

When it comes to the results, we had no winners, unfortunately, but I’m glad to see Oliver the winegetter back in the game. There is always the next time!

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

Let’s start with … Merlot! Merlot is back, and to make sure everyone will notice, October is designated as the  Merlot month! If you think about it, Merlot never left, and Chateau Petrus didn’t switch all of a sudden to  the Cabernet Sauvignon as a main grape. Still, Merlot wines are now demanded by name, so it is definitely a reason to celebrate. Drink it, talk about it, write about it – just don’t be indifferent about it. Here is the web site which will help to plan your Merlot festivities.

Harvest is under way in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, so here are few of the updates. Long stretch of a warm weather in September greatly helped vintners in Burgundy and Bordeaux. The summer was cold and rainy in both regions, and the hailstorms didn’t help either. However, warm and steady September weather greatly improved the overall outlook; while the 2014 vintage is not expected to exceptional, both Bordeaux and Burgundy expecting good results. White Burgundy look especially promising in many appellations, including Chablis. Here are the links with more details – Burgundy and Bordeaux. California weather was quite opposite compare to France – very hot and dry summer forced an early harvest start in the Northern California, with some estates picking up grapes as early as July 29th – one of the earliest starts in a decade. Here is the link with more information about California harvest.

When I’m looking for the good restaurant, especially in the unfamiliar area, my first choice of information source is usually one and the same – Yelp. I generally can’t complain, and for majority of the cases I’m quite happy with Yelp recommendations – I’m sure it saved me from the number of a bad experiences. This is why it is even more upsetting to read about the issues businesses face with Yelp forcing them to take advertizing deals or be punished by artificial manipulation of ratings. Unfortunately, this is what happens when shareholder value becomes the purpose of business existence and trumpets the relationship with the real customers (which eventually drives company out of business). Case in point – the restaurant called Botto Bistro in San Francisco, which refused to badge with Yelp’s demand for advertizement placement, and instead started fighting back with Yelp by undermining the core of the Yelp’s existence – the rating system. The restaurant requested all of their patrons to leave negative one-start reviews, which people did. Take a look at the this article which lists a lot of examples of such a one- star “negative” – or rather super-funny – reviews. Yelp have to get its business integrity together, or it will disappear.

If you are actually a writer, how often do your read your writing, edit it, then read again and edit again? You don’t need to answer this question, but the number of the read/edit cycles is better be substantial if you want to end up with the quality outcome. Here is an interesting article by Jo Diaz, where he talks about the importance of the editor and the editing process. It is clear that most of us are not going to hire an editor for our “labor of love” blog posts – however, the editing still remains an essential part of the “writing well” process, and you really should find the way to implement it.

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