Wine Wednesday Quick Quiz Answers

Here are the correct answers for the Quick Quiz:

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What is an Amphora?

  • It’s a ceramic vessel sometimes used in wine making
  • It’s a type of shoe worn when stomping / pressing grapes with your feet
  • It’s a local French musical instrument made using 3 Champagne bottles
  • It’s a type Portuguese grape used exclusively in the production of Douro / Port

Wine aged in clay, or amphora, has grown in popularity in recent years. But this technique is far from new. In fact, the practice originated in what is now modern-day Georgia, around 6,000 years ago.

Clay pots have long been used in other Old-World regions. For example, in Alentejo, Portugal, it’s believed that amphorae, or talhas as they’re known in the country, have been used for more than 2,000 years. However, Dr. Patrick McGovern, science director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, thinks the practice in Portugal may date back 1,000 years earlier than historians previously believed.

Amphorae have been experiencing a renaissance across the globe and can now be seen in places like the United States and Australia.

Clay can be thought of as a middle ground between steel and oak. Stainless steel allows for an oxygen-free environment and doesn’t impart any flavours into the wine. Oak, on the other hand, allows for ample oxygen to reach the juice, and the wood’s tannins can also affect the aromas and flavours of the wine.

Like oak, clay is porous, so it does allow for some oxygen giving the wine a deep and rich texture, but like steel it’s a neutral material that won’t impart any additional flavours.

From New- and Old-World wine regions alike, here are some amphora-aged wines you will want to seek out.

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What does the term Bâttonage mean?

  • The process of stirring the settled lees (sediment that forms in the wine after fermentation) back into the wine
  • The process of infusing French Meringue, wrapped in puff pastry with Bordeaux wine
  • The process of adding high-alcohol spirit to stop fermentation when making Port
  • The process of putting Brandy into wooden casks, to age for several years before being bottled

Bâtonnage is the French term for stirring settled lees back into wine. ‘Lees’ are the sediment of winemaking, usually made up of dead yeast and bits of grape seeds and solids. Winemakers sometimes like to keep some of these solids in contact with the wine as a way to extract flavour, aroma and texture. The solids can then be filtered or fined out before bottling, or the wine can be racked, leaving the solids behind.

As you might imagine, if left alone, these solids will settle to the bottom of a barrel, which can be bad. If the lees are left undisturbed, they run the risk of stinky hydrogen sulfide forming. Bâtonnage helps prevent this, as well as extract some of the texture and complexity the lees can offer. Just like when you put sugar in your coffee, it’s a good idea to stir that sugar in, instead of just letting it sit on the bottom.

But a winemaker can’t just keep stirring the lees endlessly—all that stirring will eventually make the wines taste less fresh, so it’s a bit of a balancing act. A winemaker can use a specially designed tool, a long baton that will fit in the hole of a barrel to bâtonnage, but I’ve also heard of barrels designed to be rolled or rotated to upend settled lees.


Which of these is a Tastevin?

The top Image is correct

A Tastevin is a small, very shallow silver cup or saucer traditionally used by winemakers and sommeliers when judging the maturity, quality and taste of a wine.

The saucer-like cups were originally created by Burgundian winemakers (where a very high-level wine society called the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, was named after the tasting cup) to enable them to judge the clarity and colour of wine that was stored in dim, candle-lit wine cellars. The Tastevin cup can vary in size but is typically 7-8 cm in diameter.

The wine would be poured into a shallow layer over the brightly reflecting silver, tasted and swirled by the connoisseur and spat out into a bowl. By definition a taster, “tasse a vin” or tastevin would only hold a small amount of the wine. It needed to be made of a material strong enough to withstand the rigors of daily use as well as being made of a material (Sterling silver) that would not taint the wine in any way.

Regular wine glasses were too deep to allow for accurate judging of the wine’s colour in such faint light. Since it is flat like a saucer, it is almost useless for smelling the wine. Tastevin are designed with a shiny faceted inner surface. Often, the bottom of the cup is convex in shape. The facets, convex bottom, and the shiny inner surface catch as much available light as possible, reflecting it throughout the wine in the cup at various angles at once, making it possible to see through the wine. Clarity is less of an issue than it used to be in wine, and with the advent of modern electric lights, glasses are much more effective, so the tastevin has mostly been relegated to novelty.

Although Sommeliers often wear them around on a ribbon or chain around the neck as a sign of respect to tradition.

There are references to the use of Tastevin’s in old manuscripts of the 14th and 15th centuries and the earliest English tastevin is dated 1603. The tastevin remains today as the acknowledged ceremonial symbol of Burgundy, France.

Old Fashioned


What grape variety is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc?

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sauvignon Franc
  • Bouchet
  • Bordo

The world’s most popular red wine grape is a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux, France. Cabernet Sauvignon is loved for its high concentration and age worthiness.

The rich flavour and high tannin content in Cabernet Sauvignon make it a perfect partner to rich grilled meats, peppery sauces, and dishes with high flavour.

Wine drinkers today can find many Cabernet Sauvignon options in the market. Some Cabernet Sauvignon wines are sumptuous and fruity, others are savory and smoky. It all depends on where the Cabernet Sauvignon grows and how it’s made into wine.



What is Sancerre and where is it produced?

  • Sauvignon Blanc, produced in the Loire Valley in France
  • Sparkling wine, produced in the Champagne region of France
  • A red wine grape varietal grown exclusively in the Italian region of Tuscany
  • Fortified wine, produced in the Douro Valley of Portugal

Sancerre is a French wine Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) for wine produced in the area of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley, southeast of Orléans.

Almost all of the appellation lies on the left bank of the Loire, opposite Pouilly-Fumé. It is well regarded for and primarily associated with Sauvignon blanc. Some Pinot noir is also grown, accounting for around 20% of the region’s production, making mostly light red wines under the designation of Sancerre Rouge. A rosé style from Pinot noir is also produced in a style similar to Beaujolais, which is produced from the Gamay grape

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The Team at The Wednesday Wine Club