Bobal is a dark skinned grape variety native to Spain. It comprises 90% of the wine vines in the Utiel-Requena DO. It has been documented there as early as the 15th century. Bobal can also be found in small amounts in other regions of Spain, Rosellón in France, and Sardinia in Italy. Wines produced from this grape tend to be fruity with low alcohol content and high acidity. It is generally resistant to temperature extremes and grows so vigorously that it requires severe pruning.
Brachetto is an Italian red wine grape that is primarily grown in the Piedmonte region. It is used to make light, sweet wines with flavors reminiscent of strawberries. They are seldom seen outside of Italy, where they are usually drunk young and severed chilled. Branchetto was once thought to be the same as the French grape Braquet but they are now considered two distinct varieties.
I stumbled upon this great quiz on-line yesterday. As I was reading each question, I thought that it would make a great addition to the blog and it would be a fun thing for you all to try. It has a great mix of simple and tricky questions that will get your wine brain going! (I must give credit to The Wine Guy of Roger’s Grapevine, for this beautiful quiz!)
(The answers are at the bottom, but try to do it with out looking at them!)
1. Which still red wine doesn’t like to be blended with others?
A. Malbec B. Sangiovese C. Pinot Noir D. Tempranillo
2. What wine producing country also produces about 2/3rds of the world’s olive oil?
A. Greece B. France C. Spain D. Italy
3. Which American President built a wine cellar under the White House and bought more than 20,000 bottles of European wine?
A. John Kennedy B. John Quincy Adams C. Thomas Jefferson D. Ronald Reagan
4. The vintage date on a bottle of wine refers to the year:
A. the wine was bottled. B. the grapes were harvested. C. the wine was released.
D. when the wine can be first consumed.
5. Zinfandel came into prominence in California and is often called California’s grape but it originated in Croatia. What European grape varietal is almost genetically identical to Zinfandel?
A. Tempranillo B. Trebbiano C. Primativo D.Negromaro
6. A Standard bottle of wine is 750ml, but wine comes in many sizes of bottles. Which is a correct name for a different size bottle of wine?
A. Magnum B. Jeroboam C. Piccolo D. All of these
7. Who sang and popularized the song “That Little Old Winemaker, Me”?
A. Tom T. Hall B. Dean Martin C. Roger Miller D. Robert Mondavi
8. Which President had wine at the White House poured from napkin-draped bottles in order to hide the fact that he preferred French to American made wines?
A. Lyndon Johnson B. Richard Nixon C. Bill Clinton D. George W. Bush
9. The oldest winery in North America still producing wine today is located:
A. in Florida B. in Mexico C. in Texas D. in Canada
10. Pinotage from South Africa is made from a hybrid grape that resulted from crossing Pinot Noir with:
A. Syrah B. Meritage C. Cinsault D. Grenache
11. Which of the following is NOT a popular wine grape in South America?
A. Torrontes B. Podkum C. Bonarda D. Carmenere
12. What is the most common blending grape utilized for Syrah based wines from the Northern Rhone Valley in France?
A. Grenache B. Viognier C. Mourvedre D. Malbec
13. A “punt” refers to:
A. the headstock from an oak wine barrel. B. the straw basket covering some flasks of Chianti.
C. the indentation in the bottom of some wine bottles D. a kick when you’re fourth and long in football.
14. “Soave” is which of the following:
A. an Italian red wine B. an Italian white wine C. an Italian sparkling wine
D. an Italian wine toasting expression
15. Which grape is considered to be the mostly widely grown grape in the world?
A. Chardonnay B. Merlot C. Grenache D. Cabernet Sauvignon
16. Which French appellation has a law that forbids the landing of flying saucers in the region’s vineyards?
A. Bordeaux B. Cotes du Rhone C. Burgundy D. Chateauneuf du Pape
1. The answer is C. Pinot Noir. This grape has a lot of expressions in still red wine but doesn’t play (sic blend) well with other red grapes. There is a notable exception….Give extra credit to any team that points out that when peeled to make a white wine, Pinot Noir is often blended with others in making sparkling wines.
2. The answer is A. Greece. They do well at both!
3. The answer is C. Thomas Jefferson. He grew grapes and made wine on his Virginia estate but he loved the French wines, a hangover (no pun intended) from his days as Ambassador to France from the Continental Congress.
4. The answer is C. when the grapes were harvested. A non-vintage wine will include grapes from multiple harvests. That occurs frequently in ports and sparkling wines but some others, as well.
5. The answer is C. Primativo. It is a virtual genetic twin and has many of the same characteristics. However the terroir and wine making in Italy results in a somewhat different but thoroughly enjoyable wine.
6. The answer is D. All of these. Magnums are 1.5 ltr, Jeroboams range 3 to 4.5 ltr and Piccolo is used in Italy to describe 187.5 ml bottles.
7. The answer is B. Dean Martin. Mrs. Wine Guy has the song on one of her Dean Martin albums.
8. The answer is B. Richard Nixon. Lyndon Johnson was the first President to have only American made wines served at the White House. Nixon didn’t want to publicly overthrow the practice but he loved French wines. He didn’t get the nickname “Tricky Dick” Nixon for nothing, did he?
9. The answer is B. Mexico. The winery is called Casa Madero and production there dates to the late 1590’s. They make a very respectable Merlot and a Merlot-Nebbiolo blend that The Wine Guy enjoys.
10. The answer is C. Cinsault. This grape was called Hermitage in South Africa thus the name Pinotage to the newly created varietal.
11. The answer is B. Podkum. Podkum is a grape varietal developed to grow in the tropical lowlands of Thailand, a country that has a rising wine industry and is one of the leaders in “New Latitude” wines.
12. The answer is A. Viognier. Grenache and Mourvedre are commonly blended in Syrah but mostly in wines from the Southern Rhone Valley (it’s o.k. to throw one or two trick questions). Viognier is one of the few white grapes that behaves well when blended with reds and even the Australians are utilizing it as a blending finisher in their Shirazes.
13. The answer is C. the indentation in the bottom of some bottles of wine. (Also found in the bottom of many decanters) It is thought by some to be a tradition holdover from the days of glass blown bottles and by others to be utilized in trapping sediment. Sommeliers and waiters love it as a great place to put their thumb for one-handed pouring and twisting of a bottle of wine.
14. The answer is B. an Italian white wine. This wine hails from the Veneto region of Italy and Gargangea is the informing grape. It’s dry, crisp, and meant to be drunk very young. It has sometimes been almost lacking in flavor but recent expressions with care to some good blending and moderate use of oak have produced some excellent value priced wines.
15. The answer is C. Grenache. Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most consumed varietal but Grenache is grown in more places and appears in the greatest number of wines. It finds its way into a lot of wines as a blending and finishing grape. It finds its best expression as a dominant or single grape in many of the wines from Spain.
16. The answer is D. Chateauneuf du Pape. The law was passed in 1954 during the beginning of the UFO craze. To the best of my knowledge, there’s never been an arrest made.
When it comes to deciding which glass or set of glasses to purchase for your wine drinking, it is always difficult to decide because there are so many out there. There are so many different shapes, sizes, and colors its enough to make your head spin. With that said, I am going to give you a couple guidelines which may help you in buying the “right” glass.
Now, personally I have found bigger bowls to be more preferable and practical. Any thing that is 20oz or more will hold a “good” amount and will feel better in your hands (depending on how you like to hold the glass). Next, a clear glass is the way to go, you want to be able to see your wine. You want a clear view of the clarity and hue of the wine you are drinking. Also a long stem is always a sure deal. It allows for you to hold the glass comfortably and keeps your fingers free of constraint. On occasion I do enjoy those stemless tumblers for parties or for more versatile usage. Another thing to look for is the rim of the glass, you should look for a glass whose rim curves in slightly. This curve allows for the aromas to be concentrated at the top and focus them right to your nose. Last but not least, price is something that worries a lot of people. Now, if you have the means please feel free to purchase some exquisite Baccarat glasses! But if you are like me and do not posses those means then you will not have a hard time finding a great glass for under $20. Try Villeroy & Boch, or head on over to William Sonoma and Sur La Table. With these simple guidelines I am sure that you will have no problem finding the perfect glass for you.
Well, here it is finally the first official wine review of the Amateur Sommelier:
Andre Tremblay (Petit Chablis) / 2010 / $20 / 12% Alcohol
This is the first wine that I had during my recent wine country excursion. The 2010 Andre Tremblay, Petit Chablis. First of all I must say that I was quite surprised at this wine, I wasn’t expecting this particular Chablis to “pack the punch” that it did. Alcohol content 12.5% and a price of about $20, its a pretty sweet deal. At first glance the color depth is somewhat watery to a slight pale, as to be expected from a Chablis. The hue was a great straw(ish) yellow and gold, quite interesting in the light. This particular glass carried good clarity, which hooked me from the start. However one thing that I was not so keen on was that the aroma intensity was lower than what I would have liked it to be. But, I did pick up subtle hints of floral, and fruits such as guavas and papayas. The taste much like a chardonnay, providing the fact that Chablis comes from the same grape, was somewhat off dry to a medium sweet. This in particular had a lighter body which was great because I was enjoying crab with it quite well. Also it had a nice fresh acidity, it was very smooth on the tongue. The overall flavors of the mouth were mostly symbiotic with the flavors from the nose, floral, lightly fruity, and acidic. The finish was a solid medium of about 5 seconds. This wine in particular can be found in most “higher-end” markets such as, Whole Foods, Woodland Market, and Trader Joe’s. All in all I would recommend this wine to someone who needs a good bottle for a light dinner party or just a night by yourself with a great film to watch. I really enjoyed it and I think you will too!
Hello Everyone, off the bat I just want to say how sorry I am for not posting a single thing in such a long time. I have been ridiculously busy with just about everything, in preparation for the summer and so forth. Last post I informed you all that I was heading to Napa valley and to San Francisco for my spring break. Just so you all know, I had a great time and got dive into delicious wines and culinary goodies! It was a wonderful time with my family and friends. I must say that it was also a strange feeling being back in the place where I had grown-up, it almost felt as if I had never left.
On the other hand, I wanted to let you know that more posts are coming as well as few wine reviews. Also I will be posting much more over the summer, once things settle down and I am not going crazy. If you are al up for it, I think I might stat to post a little more about food and pairings that I try, or think are good. Basically, I just wanted to sort of apologize and check in as well with all of you. You shall be seeing more posts very soon. See ya!
Hello everyone, sorry it has been a while since I have put up new post for you all to enjoy. I have been extremely busy in preparation for my trip, in 2 days, for San Francisco. You will be glad to hear that I plan on spending a good portion of my time there, tasting wine. I plan on going to Napa Valley as well. So, either when I come back or while I am there I will be posting reviews of the wines that I taste. I will give an in-depth “synopsis” of each wine for your reading pleasure. Also if able, I will try to post pictures as well so that you can get a visual of exactly what I am talking about.
Well, again I am quite sorry for not posting in a little while, but there are more to come. Stay tuned for wine reviews and much more with in the next week or two!
There has been a lot of talk, or should I say debate, about whether or not a cork or screw top (cap) is the better option for a wine bottle. Some will say that due to the lack of “presentation” with a screw-top the wine is not as good. Others will say that a screw- top does not preserve the wine as well as a cork would. With all of this chatter and debate it is difficult to decipher the truth, so here is my take on it all.
Over the past couple of years or so, the screw-top phenomenon has “blown up” all over the world. The first to get on the screw-top bandwagon was the southern hemisphere, especially Australia. Then, this “trend” soon moved to the U.S and now 4 out 5 of todays wines are screw-tops. Even though there are so many bottles with screw-tops, a lot of people seem not to like them at all. I , on the other hand, am a fan of them. A lot of people don’t like screw-tops because they are snobby, snotty, and simply just don’t understand. Sure, a cork is much more…”profound” then a piece of plastic or aluminum, but lets take a look past whats a face value. A cork can get tainted and bring bacteria into the wine as well as spoil the wine. So, when people judge or taste a wine that may not be tasting the perfect cuvee of that wine or type of wine, and therefore could deter from the true flavors of such. The screw-top on the other hand, does not do anything, which could harm the wine in any way, it is just your old-fashioned screw-top. Plus it is very easy to open. Now I don’t think that the corkscrew industry is too happy about that, but the reality is that it keeps it fresh and you get exactly what the wine maker intended, which is the main goal for any maker.
Now although I do prefer a good ole’ cork, and the process of using a corkscrew to open the wine and let it take its first breath, I am quite a fan of screw-tops. People just have to get rid of the snobby pretense when looking for new wines to taste. Do not by any means let the closure of the wine deter you from trying it. Whether it’s a cork or screw-top, open that bottle and enjoy!
For this post I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to talk to about. At first I thought that I was going give you all another “How to”, but instead i decided to talk about something that really interests me and is also an extremely pivotal moment in the wine industry.
The Judgement Of Paris, or The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, was a wine competition organized in Paris on May 24th, 1976. The tasting was put together by Steven Spurrier, a British wine expert, and wine merchant in Paris, France. A group of French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). This was carried out with the constant notion that California wines did not stand a chance against wines of the French, but that assumption was soon diminished.
After the tasting of many French and California wines, the results were not as expected. At the end of the red wine blind tasting, each judge had ranked a California wine in the top of their list, however, the most shocking results were that of the white wine blind tasting. The winner of the white wine tasting was the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. The judges were absolutely dumbfounded at the fact that a wine from California could possibly be better than a wine from France. This result put not only Montelena, but California as a whole on the map. This showed the world that California was and still is a top producer for fabulous wine.
If you are interested in this event and want to get a different perspective on it, then I highly recommend watching the film Bottle Shock. It is one of my favorite films, and truly captures the gravity of the judgement and the events that lead up to it. Enjoy!
Here are some fun and interesting conversions that I stumbled upon. These are really interesting, and put things into perspective. Enjoy!
1 grape cluster = 1 glass
75 grapes = 1 cluster
4 clusters = 1 bottle
40 clusters = 1 vine
1 vine = 10 bottles
1200 clusters = 1 barrel
1 barrel = 60 gallons
60 gallons = 25 cases
30 vines = 1 barrel
400 vines = 1 acre
1 acre = 5 tons
5 tons = 332 cases