Wine Wednesday Quick Quiz Answers
Here are the correct answers for the Quick Quiz:
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QUESTION 1 ANSWER
What grape is Beaujolais made from?
- Pinot Noir
- Petit Verdot
The Beaujolais wine region is most well-known for its red wines, which are crafted from the Gamay grape variety.
There are four key red wine categories from Beaujolais: Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, and Beaujolais Cru. They are all from the Beaujolais wine region, but their origins and styles are notably different. Beaujolais Nouveau is a fresh, fruit-forward wine with light (and often barely perceptible) tannins and a more or less straightforward style. The winemaking technique of carbonic maceration, which is most familiarly used for Beaujolais Nouveau, results in the grapes fermenting within their skins, allowing the winemaker to produce a red wine of freshness and vibrancy.
Wines labeled Beaujolais are made from grapes grown throughout the Beaujolais region, especially in the south. These also tend to be quite fruit-forward, and are meant to be enjoyed early on. Beaujolais-Villages wines are based on Gamay grapes that were grown in the northern part of the Beaujolais region, specifically 38 permitted villages. And Beaujolais Cru — also called Cru Beaujolais — are grown in any of ten specific locales whose typically granitic soils (though they are far from uniform in composition and character) can produce the most age-worthy and complex of all red wines from Beaujolais.
The ten villages, going from north to south, are: Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly.
QUESTION 2 ANSWER
Which country is Sherry from?
Sherry (Spanish: jerez) is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. Sherry is produced in a variety of styles made primarily from the Palomino grape, ranging from light versions similar to white table wines, such as Manzanilla and fino, to darker and heavier versions that have been allowed to oxidise as they age in barrel, such as Amontillado and oloroso. Sweet dessert wines are also made from Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel grapes, and are sometimes blended with Palomino-based sherries.
Under the official name of Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, it is one of Spain’s wine regions, a Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP). The word sherry is an anglicisation of Xérès (Jerez). Sherry was previously known as sack, from the Spanish saca, meaning ‘extraction’ from the solera. In Europe, ‘sherry’ has protected designation of origin status, and under Spanish law, all wine labelled as ‘sherry’ must legally come from the Sherry Triangle, an area in the province of Cádiz between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. In 1933 the Jerez denominación de origen was the first Spanish denominación to be officially recognised in this way, officially named D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and sharing the same governing council as D.O. Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
QUESTION 3 ANSWER
True or False? When grown in hot climates, grapes will have less acidity!
Acids are very important structural components of wine. If a wine is too low in acid, it tastes flat and dull. If a wine is too high in acid, it tastes too tart and sour. Usually, the winemaker can easily manipulate the acidity.
What does it mean when a wine label states the total acidity is 0.60 % (0.60 grams acid per 100 mL) and the pH is 3.5? What follows is a primer on the role of acids in wine and an explanation of concepts such as total acidity (TA) and pH.
THE PRINCIPAL ACIDS FOUND IN WINE
The principal acids found in grapes, and therefore wine, are tartaric acid, potassium hydrogen tartrate (cream of tartar), malic acid and potassium hydrogen malate. Tartaric acid and potassium hydrogen tartrate predominant in wine. Since potassium hydrogen tartrate and potassium hydrogen malate are derivatives of tartaric and malic acids, respectively, only tartaric and malic acids will be discussed with the understanding that their derivatives are also present in wine. The relative amounts of tartaric and malic acids vary depending on the grape variety and on where the grapes are grown. For example, in Burgundy, the Chardonnay has a lower concentration of malic acid than the Chardonnay grown in the Napa Valley of California.
Both tartaric and malic acids are nonvolatile which means that they do not evaporate or boil off when the wine is heated. This is to be distinguished from volatile acidity (VA) in wine that represents acetic acid (vinegar). Acetic acid does boil off when heated, and high VA is undesirable in a wine. A VA of 0.03-0.06% is produced during fermentation and is considered a normal level.
CLIMATE: ACID vs. SUGAR
Tartaric and malic acids are produced by the grape as it develops. In warm climates, these acids are lost through the biochemical process of respiration. Therefore, grapes grown in warmer climates have lower acidity than grapes grown in cooler climates. For example, Chablis (France) produces grapes with high acid because the climate is very cool, while Napa Valley produces grapes with lower acidity because the climate is warmer.
Sugar production is the complete opposite of acid production. The warmer the climate the higher the sugar content of the grapes. Sugar content of grape juice is expressed in percent (%) or ° Brix (e.g., 24 % sugar is equal to 24 ° Brix).
In summary, warmer climates result in high sugar and low acid whereas cooler climates result in low sugar and high acid. The Chablis region of France is a very cool region and normally produces grapes with low sugar and high acid. The big concern in Chablis is getting enough sunlight and warmth to get reasonable sugar levels. In low sugar years, they are allowed to add sugar to the grape juice. The process is called chaptalization.
The addition of sugar in winemaking is not allowed in California. However, the addition of tartaric acid (and others acids) is allowed to increase the acidity of the wine.
ROLE OF THE MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION
The malolactic fermentation (MLF) is an important natural process for adjusting acidity. The MLF lowers the acidity by converting malic acid to lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Many white wines are encouraged by the winemaker to undergo MLF and almost all red wines “automatically” undergo MLF. Although it is usually difficult to stop in red wines, many winemakers inoculate to control the timing of this important secondary fermentation. The acid is so high that Chablis requires a malolactic fermentation (MLF) to lower the acidity. Since some wines have less malic acid in them than others, the MLF is not as significant in shaping the wines as in those with a higher malic acid content. For example, a White Burgundy typically contains less malic acid than a Napa Valley Chardonnay. Therefore, when a white burgundy undergoes MLF, very little acidity is lost and the character of the wine is preserved. On the other hand, a California Chardonnay contains more malic acid so when it changes to lactic acid the acidity can change appreciably.
The problem in cool climates is too much acid whereas the problem in warm climates is too little acid.
QUESTION 4 ANSWER
True or False? The heavier the bottle, the better the wine!
This is becoming an important point in the wine world, especially in the context of the environment…..
Because of environmental concerns, consumers (at least in Europe and amongst younger buyers) are reluctant to buy wine in heavy bottles because it costs more to ship, thereby increasing the carbon footprint of the wine. In the UK, Tesco, the largest supermarket chain, uses the lightest glass bottles for its own label – 300 grams as opposed to around 500 grams – saving 3,500 tonnes of glass every year and over 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide
Some producers and retailers go even further to insist packaging wine in plastic bottles that only weight a fraction of glass, thus significantly reducing the shipping cost and carbon footprint. Wolf Blass Green Label from Australia appeals to green consumers by bottling in plastic.
Other more environmentally-friendly packaging options being adopted include Tetra Pak, pouches, aluminium tins and even kegs. Before, winemakers were reluctant to use them because they allowed more air to penetrate, thus making the wines vulnerable to oxidation. However, technology advances have greatly improved the quality of these packaging options, and more winemakers are willing to bottle their quality wines in these packaging.
For now, status-conscious consumers and producers may be reluctant to adopt lighter-weight glass bottles, let alone plastic or other alternative packaging. However, in view of the burden we human beings put on the environment, we will see more producers replacing their heavy bottles in future.
Therefore, while ‘heavier bottles imply better-quality wine’ may still be true, it doesn’t mean that lightweight bottled wine is not good. Consumers have to try the wine and assess the quality rather than judging the wine from the packaging.
QUESTION 5 ANSWER
A wine is described as ‘hot’ when it is:
- high in alcohol
- made in a hot climate
in wine tasting, the term ‘hot’ refers to a wine that has the perception of overly pronounced or high levels of alcohol.
The extra alcohol will not only warm the palate, it will finish with a burning sensation making the wine seem unbalanced. Mostly in reds, with abv [alcohol by volume] levels often exceeding 15%.
Wines described as ‘hot’ often share flavour profiles, like overripe, cooked fruit or fruit compote.
“Unidimensional, these wines generally lack balancing acidity,” says Wanda Cole-Nicholson, advanced sommelier. “They have a very heavy mouthfeel and may even burn a bit upon consumption… Any mineral or earth character is often drowned out by the heaviness of the alcohol and the braggadocious fruit driving the bus.”
Hot wines tend to come from grapes that have “been picked at higher brix for more phenolic ripeness,” says Tonya Pitts, wine director / sommelier at One Market Restaurant, and founder of Tonya Pitts Wine Consulting.
Brix is a measurement of the sugar levels in grapes that indicates the potential alcohol level of the final wine. The riper the grape, the more sugar, the more alcohol.
Hot wines can also result from climate. If grapes are grown in a hot, sunny area without cooler evening temperatures, the fruit will “ripen the grapes to very high sugar levels, which become high alcohol levels in the winery,” says Cole-Nicholson.
Without cooling temperatures to develop grapes’ acidity, wines can taste boozy or flabby.
“Direct, intense sun develops dense, rich flavors, which exaggerates the ‘heat’ on the palate,” says Cole-Nicholson.
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