About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Wine Quiz on Signature Grapes!

Your quizmaster: The Wine Guy
    Back in March of 2010, The Wine Guy did a blog on Wine Trivia.  It has turned out to be one of the most popular blogs I’ve ever posted (2,000+ visits to date and my tracking metrics was off for six months during the past year!).  Several readers have either written or asked if I would do another “wine quiz” usable for the entertainment of their wine-drinking friends.  It will also give astute readers a chance to correct and qualify my responses (no matter, how much you think you know about wine, you always find that there’s something new to learn or even unlearn). 
A vineyard on Canada's Vancouver Island

    Today’s offering is a wine quiz that deals with some well known and some lesser know grape varietals.  The objective of the quiz is to identify the country or region most identified with that varietal.  For the lack of a better term, these are “signature varietals", ones who have come to be closely identified with a particular wine region even though they probably are not limited to that area.  In my answer section, I’ve tried to fill in some the gaps with information I’ve gleaned in my reading and studying about wine.  Please recognize that my comments are probably well short of being the definitive information on these varietals…they reflect only what I’ve learned thus far.   Do feel free to ask, to add info, to comment and do some learning on your own.  Sharing the background and stories associated with wine, as well as the taste, is, after all, is one of the pleasures of sharing wine with good friends.

 O.K. fans, here goes: Match each wine listed below with the country, locale or region with which it is most commonly associated:

            A: Mexico   B: Croatia  C: California  D: Australia
2) Tannat:
            A: Austria  B: Uruguay  C: Australia  D: South Africa
3) Bonarda:
            A: Argentina  B: Romania  C: Sicily  D: Greece
4) Podkum:
            A: India  B: Israel  C: Malta  D: Thailand
5) Carmenere:
            A: Burgogne  B: Tuscany  C: Portugal  D: Chile
6) Torrontes:
            A: Spain  B: Santorini  C: Argentina  D: Corsica
7) Pinotage:
            A: California  B: Serbia  C: Burgogne  D: South Africa
8)  Norton:
            A: Missouri  B: Virginia  C: Texas   D: All Three
9)  Nero d’Avola:
            A: Provence  B: Sicily  C: Puglia  D: Languedoc-Roussillon
10) Dornfelder:
            A: Hungary  B: Slovakia  C: Alsace  D: Germany
11) Vidal:
             A: Loire Valley  B: Otago, New Zealand C: Canada D: Piedmonte
12)  Furmit:
             A: Hungary   B: Naousa  C: Malta  D: Portugal
13) Brunello:
             A: Tuscany  B: Abruzzo  C: Alto-Adige  D: Barossa Valley
14) Mencia:
             A: Spain  B: Portugal  C: Greece  D: Italy
15) Nebbiolo:
                     A: Cote d’Azur   B: Paso Robles  C: Umbria  D: Piedmonte

 Here are your answers:

  1. Correct answer is “C”.   Although found in some form in all the areas listed, Zinfandel is considered most closely associated with California.   The Californian Zinfandel is directly descended from the Croatian Crljenak Kastelaski and has been found to be genetically identical to Italian Primitivo.

  2. Correct answer is “B”.  Tannat originated and is still utilized in southwest France, mostly as a blending grape, but is considered the national grape of Uruguay where it is the dominant red wine grape after being bought there by Basque settlers.  It can also be found in small amounts in Australia, Brazil, Peru and Italy.

  3. Correct answer is “A”.  Bonarda is Argentina’s number two red grape behind Malbec. It can be found there as a single varietal or as a major player in red blends.  It can also be found in Italy and France where it plays a small role as a blending grape.

  4. Correct answer is “D”.   Podkum was developed in Thailand specifically to grow in their climate.  It is often found there blended with Shiraz.

  5. Correct answer is “D”.  One of the original seven Bordeaux varietals, Carmenere was, for a number of years mis-identified in Chile as Merlot because of its similarity on the wine.  It is much more suitable to the Chilean climate than it ever was to the French Bordeaux region.  It can also be found in Italy and is gaining some usage in Washington and California.

  6. Correct answer is “C”.  Three types of Torrontes are utilized in making Argentina’s number one white wine.  All are considered to be distant relatives of the Mission grape and Muscat Alexandria.  It is believed their usage dates back to Spanish missionaries.  There is a grape called Torrontes in Galicia, Spain that has been found to be unrelated to the Argentine varietals so Torrontes is considered to be virtually unique to Argentina.

  7. Correct answer is “D”.   It has long been considered that this grape was first developed in 1925 at South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch and it is “the” red wine of South Africa.  (A previous comment in this section was in error and deleted.  Thanks to Peter May of The Pinotage Club for his email correcting my error)

  8. Correct answer is “D”.  You may want to give your participants credit if they answered “A”.  Norton is, after all,  the official “State Grape” of Missouri and prior to prohibition Missouri was the number one wine producing state in the U.S. and back then the Norton wine from Missouri won gold in international wine competition.  Today more acreage of Norton is planted in Virginia and the grape is also popular in Texas.

  9.  Correct answer is “B”.   The “black one from Avola” refers to a region in Southern Sicily and this wine has come into its own in its Sicilian bottlings of recent years.  It may be of either Greek or Arab origin.  Sicily has an interesting and varied wine history that dates back to the earliest days of wine trading in the Mediterranean.

  10.  Correct answer is “D”.  A relative latecomer to the German wine scene (it was given varietal protection and released for production by authorities in 1979), this red wine grape has become Germany’s second most planted varietal.  It produces fruity, somewhat sweet red wines and, much as skinless Pinot Noir is utilized in Champagne, Dornfelder is utilized in the German sparkling equivalent “Sekt”.

  11. Correct answer is “C”.  Vidal comes from a cross of Ugni Blanc and Rajon d’Or. It was developed in northern France for utilization in the production of Cognac but it found a home in the cold climate of southern Canada (and also the U.S. Northeast).  It is utilized in producing some fruity floral and crisp dry whites but is most renowned for its role in Canadian Ice Wines.

  12. Correct answer is “A”    Furmit is the key grape varietal utilized in Hungarian Tokaji, considered by many to one of the finest dessert wines produced in the world.  The grape can also be found in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, and Russia.

  13.  Correct answer is “A”.   Brunello is the name applied to Tuscany’s famous Sangiovese Grosso and to the wine, which became Italy’s very first D.O.C.G.

  14.  Correct answer is “A”   Consider giving partial credit, as well to those of your quiz takers who answered “B” since the Portuguese grape known as Jaen has been found to be identical to Mencia.  Mencia can be found in three to four regions in Spain but reaches its best expression in the wines from Bierzo.

  15.  Correct answer is “D”    This noble grape from Italy’s Piedmont region finds its home in  Barolo and Barbaresco wines.  These are considered by some to be Italy’s most prestigious wines.  They are certainly among the most difficult to produce well.  The largest usage of Nebbiolo outside Italy is in northern Baja, Mexico and the wine produced there has garnered some acclaim.  There are also small plantings of this hard to grow grape in Australia and Argentina.

   There’s your quiz, have fun with it.  Hopefully you can find many of these wines and offer them to your quiz takers as part of your fun.  Try having them taste the wines “blind” and then match with the varietals on the quiz.    As always, enjoy your wine!

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