Saturday, July 31, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The CSW credential assesses and certifies “that the holder has attained a broad base of knowledge about wine equivalent to a mid-level wine professional.” The CSW credential is awarded to individuals who answer at least 75 out of 100 questions on a comprehensive exam within 60 minutes. They say that this exam does not require an in-depth knowledge of any particular wine area but a basic understanding of the full spectrum of wine topics. This knowledge can be achieved through self-study, though the SWE offers a 250-page study guide and an online wine academy to prepare candidates for the exams. The exam gauges knowledge in a variety of wine themes: physiology of taste and tasting procedures; wine composition and chemistry; wine faults; grape varieties; viticulture (grape growing); wine production (still, sparkling and fortified); wine labels and laws; world wine regions (including France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, central and eastern Europe, U.S. and North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa); the U.S. wine industry; wine and health; wine service and etiquette; and food and wine pairing.
Well, I thought to myself that this sounded easy enough. After I took a sample test, I realized that I had a lot of studying to do before my exam at the end of August! Do you think that you know a bit about wine? Try for yourself. Here is the first half of the sample test. I will post the answers and the second half of the test in a few days. If you answer at least 7/10 correctly, you are on your way to possibly being a Certified Specialist of Wine!
1. Which of the following is a commune appellation in the Beaujolais?
a. Fleurie2. The process by which sugars and malic acid are broken down by the grapevine and used as energy is called:
a. Photosynthesis3. All of the following are subregions of Chianti DOCG except:
a. Colli Fiorentini4. All of the following are subregions of Rioja except:
b. Colli Sensei
c. Collio Goriziano
a. Rioja Alavesa5. Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc:
b. Rioja Alta
c. Rioja Baja
d. Rioja Classico
a. Ripens earlier6. All of the following sugars are found in grapes except:
b. Has more tannin
c. Has more pigment
d. Is less herbal
a. Fructose7. What are the four categories of place of origin for classified wine in Germany, in order from largest to smallest?
a. Anbaugebiet, Bereich, Einzellage, Grosslage8. Most of the vineyard acreage in Argentina is located:
b. Anbaugebiet, Bereich, Grosslage, Einzellage
c. Bereich, Anbaugebiet, Einzellage, Grosslage
d. Bereich, Anbaugebiet, Grosslage, Einzellage
a. In the east around Buenos Aires9. Which of the following is located in Western Australia?
b. In the north along the border with Bolivia and Paraguay
c. In the south in Patagonia
d. In the west in the foothills of the Andes
a. Yarra Valley10. Which of the following appellations is only allowed to produce white or sparkling wine under AOC law?
b. Margaret River
d. Eden valley
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
2008 Canyon Wind Tempranillo, Grand Valley AVA
A brilliant deep purple yields to a dark rose rim. Pronounced fruit and floral aromas fill the glass. Red cherry, strawberries, violet and dried cranberries entice you to take a sip. Good acidity is matched with dried strawberries, plum, leather and a minerality in the mouth. Well balanced but with a short/medium finish. Get this one now because a freeze killed the vines to the ground this past winter and they have been replaced by Malbec. 13.4% abv. Sample (retail $20). Good (tasted 7/19/10)
2007 Canyon Wind Petit Verdot, Grand Valley AVA
The glass is filled with an opaque black/purple wine. The nose is very subtle with blueberry, violet and graphite detectable. Robust yet velvety tannins are balanced with medium-plus acidity. Blackcurrant, cocoa and charred wood highlight this full-bodied beauty. This unique varietal is concentrated, very complex and offers a long finish. 13.1% abv. Sample (retail $25). Very Good (tasted 7/19/10)
2006 Canyon Wind Cabernet Franc, Grand Valley AVA
Clear red juice. Attractive aromas of wild strawberry and hints of spices. Fruity flavors of mulberry, strawberry, black currant complement the tobacco and herbaceousness. A well-balanced wine with good acidity and complementary fruit and spice leave a long finish. 14.3% abv. Sample (retail $18). Very Good (tasted 7/19/10)
Saturday, July 17, 2010
The wine pours into a dull dark black garnet from the core to the rim. The nose is quite light with some spices, cola, and a bit of toasty vanilla. The palate yields little fruit, low acid and minimal tannins. Bitter chocolate, leather and tinned vegetables show through the light/medium body. An acceptable wine, if not a bit past its prime. 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot. Purchased $14. Average (tasted 6/28/10)
2008 Two Rivers Riesling, Mesa County
This clear pale lemon wine packs a punch on the nose. Powerful aromas of honeysuckle, nectarine and citrus peel emanate from the glass. I want to just keep smelling this glass. The light body provides less intense flavors of gooseberry, tart nectarines and wet slate. The slight sweetness is countered with zesty acidity. A bit on the sweet side for my taste, but overall a lovely wine. 100% Riesling. Sample (retail $12). Average/Good (tasted 7/12/10)
2008 Balistreri Merlot, Barrel 212, Bennett Vineyard, Colorado
A deep purple core yields to a violet rim. The nose shows blueberry pie and blackberry liqueur with a hint of clove. Ripe and fine-grained tannins combine with complex slight jammy flavors of black plum, tobacco, lavender and a trace of black pepper. A very good, concentrated and complex wine. 100% Merlot. Sample (retail $26). Very Good (tasted 7/12/10)
2008 Plum Creek Palisade Red, Colorado
A clear ruby color. The nose is quite floral dominated by violet and dried cranberry. A light body with low acidity and light supple tannins yields red currant, black cherry, cinnamon, mint and a hint of pepper. These complex flavors supply a long finish. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. Sample (retail $12). Good (tasted 7/12/10)