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Test Your Wine Savvy: The Answers (July 31, 2003)

Here are the answers to the the "Test Your Wine Savvy" quiz. How did you fare?

  1. Does Canada make champagne?
    No. Only sparkling wines from the Champagne region of northern France can legally to be called champagne. No others can, even if they're made by the Champagne method – secondary fermentation in the bottle.
  2. Is it wrong to drink red wine with fish?
    No. You would usually choose a white wine with fish because you need the acidity to refresh the palate, but some chillable red wines from cool climate regions have good acidity. Examples: Beaujolais, young red Burgundy, Ontario Gamay.
  3. Is there a difference between a table wine and a fortified wine?
    Yes. A table wine can contain anywhere from 7% to 14.5% alcohol by volume. A fortified wine will contain 16% to 22% alcohol. Wines are fortified by the addition of grape spirit (brandy) usually to stop the fermentation – as in port – which leaves a significant amount of residual sugar in the wine.
  4. Is it desirable to have a "corked" wine?
    No. "Corked" refers to a wine tainted by the cork. A fungus from the roots of cork trees can interact with the chlorine used to bleach corks to produce trichloranisole, a compound that makes the wine smell like a musty basement.
  5. Would you say "no" to wine diamonds?
    Not necessarily. When a wine is subjected to sudden cold it can precipitate potassium bitartrate crystals. They stick to the cork or sink in the wine. They are completely harmless and are no reason to send the wine back. In fact, they're a sign of quality; they show the wine has not been cold stabilized at the winery to remove them, a process that can diminish flavour.
  6. Are red wines best with "runny" cheeses?
    No. White wines such as Chardonnay or Pinot Gris go better with mature Camembert and Brie.
  7. Does "Meritage" on a wine label mean it's a great wine?
    No. The term "Meritage" was coined in California for red or white Bordeaux-style blends – reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot; white: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. They can be great, but are not necessarily so.
  8. Does a champagne cork travel faster than a greyhound when it leaves the bottle?
    Yes. With a pressure of 90 lbs. per square inch behind it, a cork will travel initially at 65 kilometers an hour, marginally faster than a greyhound.
  9. Is there a difference between Late Harvest Vidal and Vidal Icewine?
    Yes. Grapes for Late Harvest Vidal are left on the vine several weeks after the normal harvest to concentrate their sugars. Icewine grapes are left until the temperature drops to –8° Celsius. Harvested frozen the grapes are then pressed.
  10. Is tastevin a synonym for sommelier, someone who tastes the wine before you do?
    No. It's the shallow silver cup sommeliers wear around their necks – more as a badge of office than the tasting cup used in Burgundy cellars.

 

 

 

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