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Red, White and True (or False)

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No matter how much or how little you know, wine is an undeniable conversation starter. Whether you’re looking to heighten your expertise, avoid embarrassment on your next wine bar date, or just happen to have someone cute looking over your shoulder at the moment… crack open a bottle of something light and thought-provoking (a Muscadet Sur Lie comes to mind) and have a go at this quiz.

Test your wine savvy with these eight questions.

1) White wine is always less alcoholic than red wine.  Tor F?

2) You should never drink red wine with fish. Tor F?

3) You can tell a Chardonnay by the oaky aromas. Tor F?

4) Zinfandel is a native California grape variety. Tor F?

5) Chianti is a grape grown exclusively in Tuscany. Tor F?

6) Burgundy is a French red wine. Tor F?

7) Rosé is a sweet wine made by mixing red and white wine. T or F?

8) Champagne is to oysters as Vodka is to caviar.  Tor F?

Answers:

1) White wine is always less alcoholic than red wine.  Tor F?

False. Alcohol knows no color. Alcohol is the result of sugar fermentation, so the more sugar you begin with, and assuming you allow fermentation to run its course, the higher the alcohol content. Plenty of white wines from hot climates (think Sicily) begin with sugary, sun-ripened grapes, and thus result in a high alcohol content wine.

2) You should never drink red wine with fish. Tor F?

False. The world of wine pairing is full of misconceptions. This one is not all together unfounded, as white wine is often lighter-bodied and less intense than red wine, so there’s less chance it will overwhelm delicate seafood flavors. But every rule has its exceptions. Sicilian cuisine, for example, serves tuna steaks with a local variety called Nero d’Avola, an easy-drinking red, with very little tannin, and a balanced acidity. Seafood dishes prepared with tomato sauces and spices like paella or cioppino can definitely pair with a lighter red. 

3) You can tell a Chardonnay by the oaky aromas. Tor F?

True and False. Chardonnay in its purest form—that is, without any aging in wood barrels—typically displays aromas of apple, citrus, and occasionally banana and pineapple. Chardonnay also tends to pick up the aromas of wherever it grows and ages which makes it an interesting and adaptable grape worldwide. The degree of oakiness in a Chardonnay can give you a hint as to where it comes from. New World wine production (California, Australia, etc.) tends to use a lot of new wood which bestow a noticeable aroma and flavor unique to Chardonnay produced in these areas.

4) Zinfandel is a native California grape variety. T or F?

False.  Zinfandel is simply another name for the grape variety Primitivo, which is native to Puglia, the boot heel of Italy. White Zinfandel is the rosé version of wine made from the same grape.

5) Chianti is a grape grown exclusively in Tuscany. T or F?

False. Chianti is not a grape at all. It’s actually a region of Tuscany. Wine produced there contains at least 80% Sangiovese and a blend of local red and white grapes.

6) Burgundy is a French red wine. T or F?

True and False. Burgundy, like Chianti, is a region. It’s located in the East Central France. Burgundy wines come in both a red and a white version – made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively.

7) Rosé is a sweet wine made by mixing red and white wine.

Mostly False. Rosé is traditionally made by crushing red grapes and removing the skins shortly after. The lighter the color the less exposure to skin.  The sweetness depends on the wine-maker and when he stops the fermentation process. European rosés are traditionally dry as a bone unless they are classified as dessert wines.

8) Champagne is to oysters as Vodka is to caviar.  T or F?

True. These are both examples of age-old pairings that work for the mere fact that they are traditional combinations.  Both Vodka and Champagne have a strong character that could mask the delicate flavors of caviar and oysters, yet the couplings have grown up over the centuries. In the case of oysters and Champagne, both are renowned aphrodisiacs – making the pairing a tried and true delight.

Annie Shapero is the Founder/CEO of DiVino wine events planning and wine consulting, currently operating in New York City.
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