The World's Most Difficult Wine Quiz: Bordeaux

As part of my on-going preparation for the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) exam in 2010, I’ve continued to compose a few short quizzes that really test the depth of knowledge for the world’s most important wine-growing regions. thirstybottlesAgain, this quiz may not actually be the most difficult in the world, but it’s not amateur hour, either. Much like the 20-question quiz I created for Burgundy Grand Cru, these 25 questions concerning Bordeaux require much more than a superficial knowledge of the region. For the most part, this quiz looks beyond the five First Growths, and delves into the lesser-known appellations.

Once again, answers for each question are typed in white, so you can reveal the information by swiping each area with your cursor. For the easiest readability, it may help to change your highlight color to black in your computer’s control panel. If you wish to share this test with someone else, you can use any of the “sociable” icons at the bottom of the post. Just keep in mind that this test is strictly for wine geeks.

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Q1. What is the most common pruning and trellising system in Bordeaux?

A: Guyot, with single guyot being more prevalent on the Right Bank, and the double guyot being more prevalent on the Left Bank.

Q2. What two rivers contribute to the unique climate of Sauternes?

A: The Garonne and the Ciron. In the early-autumn, when the cool waters of the Ciron merge with the warmer waters of the Garrone, this creates the mists that help foster botrytis in the vineyards.

Q3. What region is the home to the appellations of Fronsac, Néac, and Côtes-de-Castillion?

A: Libourne, which is far more known for its appellations of Pomerol and St-Émilion.

Q4.What is the largest estate in St-Émilion?

A: At 40 hectares, Château Figeac is St-Émilion’s largest property, and it is one of the few estates in the region to plant a dominant percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Q5. What is the name for Cabernet Franc in Pomerol, and where does this varietal rank among total acreage planted?

A: Bouchet is planted second only to Merlot in Pomerol, while Cabernet Sauvignon is the third-most widely planted varietal.

Q6. What is the official AOC classification for Chateau Pétrus?

A: Although Pétrus is highly regarded, the region of Pomerol does not have a classification system, and therefore Pétrus remains unclassified. That was a trick.

Q7. What are the respective second labels of St-Émilion’s Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) wines?

A: Le Petit Cheval for Château Cheval Blanc, and Chapelle d’Ausone for Château Ausone.

Q8. Name the 13 châteaux that comprise St-Émilion’s Premier Grand Cru Classé (B) wines, and identify the two that were promoted in 2006.

A: Château Angélus, Château Beauséjour, Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, Château Belair Monange, Château Canon, Château Figeac, Clos Fourtet, Château La Gaffelière, Château Magdelaine, Château Pavie, Château Pavie-Macquin, Château Trottevieille and Château Troplong-Mondot. The most recently promoted châteaux are Château Pavie-Macquin and Château Troplong-Mondot.

Q9. Name the nine appellations of Entre-Deux-Mers.

A: Entre-Deux-Mers, Graves-de-Vayres, Premières-côtes-de-Bordeaux, Cadillac, Loupiac, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, Haut-Benauge, Côtes-de-Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire, and Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux.

Q10. Aside from any regions devoted exclusively to red wine, name all of the other classified appellations in Bordeaux.

A: Graves is the only appellation permitted to produce dry white wine in Bordeaux; however, Graves can also produce sweet wines under the Graves Supérieur AOC, which covers the same region as the Graves AOC; other sweet wine appellations include Sauternes, Barsac, St-Croix-du-Mont, Monbazillac, Cérons, Loupiac, Cadillac and Premières Côtes de Bordeaux.

Q11. Name the five communes of Sauternes, and identify the labeling possibilities for each commune.

A: The five communes of Sauternes are Barsac, Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues and Preignac. Each of these communes is permitted to bottle wine under the name Sauternes, while Barsac can also bottle under its own name.

Q12. In Bordeaux, why is Chaptalization more common on the Left Bank than it is on the Right Bank?

A: Cabernet is the prevalent varietal on the Left Bank, and since this varietal tends to ripen later than the Merlot on the Right Bank, the Left Bank naturally sees more instances of Chaptalization in cooler years.

Q13. What is the maximum allowed production for Sauternes?

A: 25 hectoliters per hectare.

Q14. Which Left Bank commune has the highest percentage of classified châteaux?

A: As the smallest of the four main communes in the Médoc, St.-Julien does not feature any First Growth cháteaux, but 80% of its vineyards is devoted to Second and Third Growths.

Q15. What are the key difference between the St-Émilion AOC and the St-Émilion Grand Cru AOC?

A: St-Émilion Grand Cru mandates a maximum production of 40 hectoliters per hectare, and the wines must also pass a taste test 12 months after aging. Since both AOCs cover the same territory, wine producers can choose to make wine at either level.

Q16. In the region of Libourne, what four villages share a name with St-Émilion?

A: The “St-Émilion satellites” are Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion, Lussac-Saint-Émilion, and Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion.

Q17. Which appellation is the site of communes such as Cadaujac, Tallac, Martillac, and Villenave d’Ornon?

A: Pessac-Léognan, which was officially designated in 1987, and is home to all 16 wines in the 1959 Graves classification.

Q18. According to the Classification of 1855, what are the top growths of St.-Estéphe?

A: St.-Estéphe does not contain any First Growth châteaux, making its two second growth châteaux, Château Cos d’Estournel and Château Montrose the top-rated in the commune.

Q19. Which Left Bank commune is home to the most Second and Third Growth wines?

A: Margaux, which is also home to the First Growth, Chateau Margaux.

Q20. What AOC regions are entirely bound by the Graves AOC and the Garonne River?

A: Sauternes, Barsac, and Céron.

Q21. Name the First, Second and Third Growths of the Pauillac.

A: First Growths: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Mouton Rothschild; Second Growths: Château Pichon Longueville Baron and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande; there are zero Third Growths in the Pauillac.

Q22. Among the 11 estates designated as Sauternes Premiers Crus, which ones are in Barsac?

A: Château Climens and Château Coutet.

Q23. In the production of a dry white wine from Graves, what is the minimum amount of Sauvignon Blanc permitted in the blend?

A: 25%.

Q24. What do the following five estates have in common:  Couhins, Latour-Martillac, Malartic-Lagravière, Fieuzal and Pape-Clément?

A: They were added to the Graves classification of 1959, therefore expanding the original list of the Graves classification of 1953.

Q25. What are the general soil characteristics of the Left Bank versus the Right Bank?

A: The Left Bank — which was originally marshland until it was drained by the Dutch in the 17th century — features mostly gravel. The Right Bank is a mixture of limestone and clay, the former component being dominant.

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