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The Grapevine

How did you do on our wine quiz?

By Lisa Airey, thewinekey@aol.com

8:58 PM EDT, August 14, 2012

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Answer time! Let's see how well you did on this year's quiz.

1. What are the sensory characteristics of a "dumb" wine?

A dumb wine shows no more than a little (if any) fruit, plus some chocolate tannins and a kiss of sweet oak. The "nose" is closed. There is not much by way of aromatics or flavor. It needs time in the bottle to evolve.

2. What is the traditional wine to serve with cassoulet, the signature dish of the Languedoc?

Cassoulet is accompanied by the texturous reds of the Minervois wine region near Carcassonne.

3. What red grape variety, planted in both the Loire Valley and Bordeaux , is known for its sweet herbal accents?

Cabernet Franc. The flavor profile is autumnal … full of twigs, dried leaves, wet tree bark, forest floor, tea and moss.

4. How are brandy, Cognac and Armagnac made?

All three are made by distilling wine.

5. Back in the 17th century, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc cross-pollinated to give us what grape variety?

Cabernet Sauvignon.

6. Who crafted the first fruit liqueurs, and why?

Liqueurs are reputed to be descended from herbal medicines concocted by the clergy during the Middle Ages. Back then, many infusions were herbal and used as health tonics.

7. A fruit liqueur has four ingredients; what are they?

Fruit, alcohol, water and sugar.

8. What is an appropriate wine to serve if there is sugar/sweetness in the dish you have prepared?

The rule of thumb is that if there is sugar in the dish, there needs to be sugar in the wine and at parity for the match to work. If the dish is sweeter than the wine, it will make the wine taste sour. If the wine is sweeter than the dish, no harm done.

9. What is vin gris?

Although vin gris translates as "gray" wine, it isn't exactly gray. It's pink and could rightfully be called rose. Gris de Gris or "gray of gray" is also a rose but is crafted from the "gris" or lighter pigmented versions of some dark-skinned grapes.

10. How many calories does the average 5-ounce glass of wine contain?

The average 5-ounce serving runs between 100-120 calories. This figure, excuse the pun, is alcohol dependent. The higher the alcohol content of a wine, the more calories it packs.

11. Which has more calories, a dry wine or a sweet wine?

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. This means that off-dry wines with some residual sugar can actually have FEWER calories per glass than dry wines.

In the fermentation process, grape sugars are converted into alcohol. If a wine ferments to dryness leaving no residual sugar, it has a higher alcohol content than a wine whose fermentation is arrested in order to leave behind a little sweetness. In other words, most off-dry wines have inherently lower alcohol levels because of how they are made.

As alcohol delivers more calories than sugar, the dry wine, despite being "sugar-free," can actually have a higher calorie count.

12. What is a buvette?

In French, a buvette is a drink among friends or a small informal gathering at a bistro where one might spend an hour in conversation, catching up.

13. What French wine region volumetrically leads the world in the production of dry rose?

Provence. In fact, 85 percent of Provence's total wine production is of pale persuasion

14. What financial family has established a brand new champagne house and debuted their first bottling in 2012?

The Rothschild family.

15. At what temperature should red wine be served?

Light-bodied reds should be served between 55-65 degrees and fuller bodied reds between 62-68 degrees. In other words, cool-cellar temperature not room temperature.

16. During the Gold Rush, what was the No. 2 most requested libation? (Whiskey was No. 1.)

Red Zinfandel, a wine often referred to as "whiskey in a wine package."

17. What is the principal ingredient of Calvados?

Apples.

18. Why are there such huge stylistic differences midst the Côtes du Rhône wine category?

The Côtes du Rhône blend, as mandated by law, refers to the percentage of grapes in the ground, not in the bottle. Within this wine category, the producer dictates wine style. The blend is at his discretion.

19. What was the first wine region in France to intentionally and consistently produce a sparkling wine?

Languedoc.

20. What red grape variety was immortalized by the film "Sideways"?

Pinot Noir.