Quiz #3; Washington State

Here are the answers for last week’s quiz:

1) What percent of U.S. wine is made in California? The state of California contains 85% of vineyards in the U.S. and produces a whopping c)90% of U.S. wine!

2) Where are over 50% of California wine grapes grown? To get the answer to this question you have to think in terms of quantity, not necessarily quality. Yes, every wine country has its bulk wine region that often produces 50% of the country’s wine grapes. Ours is the a)Central Valley.

3) About how many wineries are there currently in Napa? As of 2010, there were over b)300 wineries in Napa. Napa is, however, only the third largest county in terms of wine grape acreage.

4) What county in California produces the most wine grapes? The answer to this question can be deduced by the answer to question #2. d)San Joaquin produces the most wine grapes. Second is Sonoma, and third, as mentioned in question #3 is Napa.

5) What is Sonoma’s most widely planted grape? This answer won’t surprise anyone, as everyone got it right. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics service, Sonoma has 15,000 acres of c)Chardonnay. Its second most planted grape is Cabernet Sauvignon at 11,500 acres. As an interesting comparison, Napa has 19,000 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and only 7,100 acres of Chardonnay.

There are no winners for this quiz, but everyone who participated should treat himself to a glass of California wine. I hope the questions aren’t too boring. Frankly, I find numbers fascinating, sometimes downright jarring. 90%! Holy smokes!

Here’s the Washington State quiz:

1) Where does Washington state rank in terms of producer of vinifera wine in the U.S.?
a) 5th largest
b) 2nd largest
c) 4th largest
d) 3rd largest

2) What is the name of the mountain range that divides Washington state?
a) Sierra
b) Dividing Range
c) Cascades
d) Coastal

3) How many AVA’s are there in Washington state?
a) 16
b) 24
c) 7
d) 11

4) What is the geographically largest AVA in the U.S.?
a) Columbia Valley
b) Yakima Valley
c) Central Valley
d) Horse Heaven

5) What are the five most important grapes of Washington state?
a) Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay
b) Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay
c) Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling
d) Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Riesling

Answers will be posted next week.

Quiz for Winerds #2: California Wine Stats and Numbers

1) What percent of US wine is produced in California?
a) 60%
b) 25%
c) 90%
d) 75%

2) Where are over 50% of California wine grapes grown?
a) Central Valley
b) Central Coast
c) North Coast
d) San Francisco Bay

3) About how many wineries are there currently in Napa?
a) 103
b) 300
c) 56
d) 1200

4) What county in California produces the most wine grapes?
a) Napa
b) Santa Barbara
c) Sonoma
d) San Joaquin

5) What is Sonoma’s most widely planted grape?
a) Cabernet Sauvignon
b) Zinfandel
c) Chardonnay
d) Pinot Noir

‘He Who Knows He Has Enough is Rich’ -Lao Tzu

(This month’s wine-writing challenge as put forth by Sally of MyCustardPie is on the theme of ‘possession.’ Here is my submission:)

Benziger Family WineryIn her book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, Francine Jay takes a famous Claude Debussy quote, ‘Music is the space between the notes, ‘ and re-purposes it to illustrate her minimalist philosophy, ‘Life is the space between our things.’ It isn’t that possessions in and of themselves are bad. They have their place, many of them a necessary place in our lives. However, while possessions can give our daily lives structure, they cannot give our lives purpose.

Recently, I visited Benziger Family Winery in Sonoma. The Benzigers are a leader in the Biodynamic movement in California. They were certified in 2000 and released their first Biodynamic wine in 2001. They use principles from sustainable, organic and integrated pest management along with Biodynamic principles in farming.

Upon entering the property, one cannot help but notice the Scottish Highlander cows grazing in an open pasture. They are there to replace chemical fertilizers. The various plants that grow all over the property are there to attract the natural predators of the grapevine pests. They have replaced chemical pesticides. The wastewater from the winery is used to feed those plants. The Benzigers do not simply own a vineyard; they have created a diverse habitat full of varied plants, birds, insects and animals. In doing so, they are caring for the land and all that is on it. Everything is there for a reason. They have created a healthy environment for the plants and the animals. From that land comes a more vital, textured and interesting wine. It is what is between the vineyards that makes the wine interesting.

Simply owning things does not make our lives rich. It is in how we care for our possessions that determines how much our possessions will add to our lives.

A Private Conversation About Meiomi with Multi-Discipline Descriptors

Meiomi Pinot Noir, 2012A blend of Pinot Noir grapes from three different counties, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Sonoma, Meiomi, 2012 is a deep garnet red color with aromas of blackberry, earth, sage and wood. It is savory and silky with its smooth tannins and long, elegant finish. This is all true, but do these words seem old and stale? Jeff, the Drunken Cyclist, in his passing comment that there aren’t enough descriptors available in the wine world, has inspired me to look to other disciplines for some lexicon enhancing. Let me try again…like the key of D Major, not common like the C scale, but without many sharps and absolutely no flats Meiomi flows elegantly with structured intervals. Perhaps, that’s not very informative. Let me try something else…With tannins as smoothly fibrous as a corpus callosum, this wine does a beautiful job of integrating the art and science of both hemispheres. Maybe not.

Wine reviews, like song lyrics, are unspoken conversations. So are blogs for that matter. Talking to ourselves on line, thinking out loud, we’re the bag ladies of the internet, only, hopefully, more coherent. Does it matter whether or not anyone is listening? Would it change what we write? Does Dave Matthews write lyrics for his fans, or is he having a private conversation with someone from his past; a conversation that was never spoken out loud? And why do we want to listen in? Is it a conversation we could have had at some point in time? Is all writing giving voice to feelings in silence, the solitude of a half dialog that can be superimposed onto and replayed into different lives at different points in time?

These aren’t questions that are meant to be answered definitively; they’re just some things to thing about, perhaps exchange one-sided conversations on. Now, if anyone has suggestions for a source of new, useful wine descriptors, please let me know.

Depth in Daily Living

“If meaning and value are to be recaptured in our lives, it must penetrate everyday life.” –Dwight Furrow

It is in what we notice in everyday life, the connections we make between past experiences and present observations, in these intersections we find art. To sip a wine is pleasant, but to really think about what that wine reminds us of, or what memories, maybe even hopes that it conjures up, that is to truly experience the wine, to look at it artfully.

Villa Antinori, 2009

Villa Antinori, 2009

Villa Antinori, 2009 is a super Tuscan IGT made from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. In the glass it is the color of an old-time movie theater curtain. The tannins are as velvety as said curtains. The aromas are blackberries and oak, but in the mouth this wine is like bright cherries on satin. It is smooth, crisp and beautifully integrated, indeed, a super Tuscan.

“I have grown weary of the poets…they all muddy their waters to make them appear deep.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

When we refrain from layering on our own perspective when discussing wine, when we just observe objectively, rate the balance and structure, is that a more honest evaluation? Does the figurative language of wine writing make the wine more interesting than it is, muddy the waters or does it get at a deeper truth in the wine?

“I like to compare making wine to raising children, because both are long-term procedures where you make decisions on a daily basis. And the sum of those decisions makes the final product.” -Marketta Fourmeaux

The more we observe and add to our simple daily living, the richer our lives become.