Which U.S. Founding Father once told Washington Judge William Johnson that wines from the Scuppernong grape “would be distinguished on the best tables of Europe for its fine aroma, and chrystalline transparence?”
Jefferson, who appreciated fine European wine and long toiled (mostly unsuccessfully) to make fine wine of his own at his Virginia Monticello estate, apparently was a homer when it came to predicting the potential of fine wine in America. His generous feelings about the future of Scuppernong (which is largely viewed as not normally being able to create fine wines) seem to be based on wines made from the grape at the time in North Carolina.
Racking is the process of taking clear wine and removing it off of its sediment when aging, usually from barrel to barrel. It's a labor-intensive process, and results in more barrels that then have to be cleaned (requiring yet even more labor!), but one that provides some aeration during the move (which is thought to benefit the potential complexity of some fine wines).
Winemakers and grape growers often use sugar ripeness to help determine when grapes are ready to roll for picking and making wine. What scale is used to measure sugar ripeness in the vineyard?
All of the above
Confusingly, a common standard for measuring grape sugar ripeness across the winemaking world has not yet been achieved. The U.S. and Australia have largely adopted Brix, in France the Baumé is used, and Germany and Austria favor the Oechsle and KMW. Like Fahrenheit and Centigrade scales for temperature, the different sugar ripeness scales can be converted to one another (and all of them to what they're designed to primarily do, which is estimate a finished wine's potential alcohol percentage).
Rosé wine is made in many forms. It can be made exactly as a white wine but using red wine grapes ("vin gris"), as a result of an "abbreviated" red wine vinification with skin contact, or (more commonly in fine wine, and usually with superior results) using the "saignée" method of bleeding off red wine juice to finish a normal fermentation period without further skin contact. Red and white wine can also be blended together to make rosé, though the results are often poor (that last method is actually forbidden in most EU wine producing areas).
Red wine grapes are sometimes placed in vats in entire bunches (stalks and all) under a cover of carbon dioxide, eventually bursting and then fermenting the grapes. Do you know what this method of fermentation is called?
This process is referred to as Carbonic maceration, most famously associated with the production of Beaujolais Nouveau. It results in wines with extracted color but very little tannin, and usually gives off telltale aromas of bananas and cinnamon spices.
Sometimes good wines just go... bad! Meaning, of course, that chemical faults can often ruin an otherwise perfectly good bottle of vino. If a wine smells of rotten eggs, it has been compromised by what compound?
Rotten eggs? Yes, and it's... well, it's really disgusting when you find it in wine. Say hello to Hydrogen Sulfide. During fermentation, yeasts that convert sugars into alcohol need nitrogen, and if they can’t find enough of it in the grape must they’ll get it from any amino acids present, releasing this stinky gas in the process (and ruining your vino).
Sometimes good wines just go... bad! Meaning, of course, that chemical faults can often ruin an otherwise perfectly good bottle of vino. When a wine smells like Sherry, only you didn't actually buy a Sherry, we say that the wine has been...?
When a wine takes on Sherry notes, it's often referred to as oxidized, meaning it has been exposed to (probably too much) air, such as when it has been stored so improperly (leading to the cork becoming compromised and allowing too much oxygen into the bottle as a result), or is actually a Sherry (just a really bad one).
Sometimes good wines just go... bad! Meaning, of course, that chemical faults can often ruin an otherwise perfectly good bottle of vino. Organic compounds known as mercaptans can cause what kind of off-putting stench in a wine?
Onions and cabbage
Mercaptans form when sulfur dioxide and ethyl alcohol combine during winemaking. Usually the result of diethyl mercaptans (which, alas, are untreatable), they result in smells reminiscent of cut onions or even rotting cabbages.
Sometimes good wines just go... bad! Meaning, of course, that chemical faults can often ruin an otherwise perfectly good bottle of vino. Do you know which chemical compound causes what is known as "cork taint?"
Long the bane of natural cork producers and widely referred to as "cork taint," musty aromas in a wine often indicate the presence of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), usually (but not always!) transferred via the cork after the wine is made (hence the name).
Our last cepage synonym quiz is a tough one! What aromatic white wine grape is also known as Mouhardrebe?
Gruner Veltliner, the darling of Austria and one of the best wine matches for vegetables, has some equally difficult to pronounce synonyms, including Mouhardrebe, Zleni Veltinac, Grunmuskateller and Manhardsrebe.