The World's Most Difficult Wine Quiz: Burgundy Grand Cru

Okay, so maybe this isn’t actually the most difficult wine quiz in the entire world, but it is extremely challenging. I created these 20 questions in order to help study for the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) exam in 2010. thirstybottlesTherefore, at the risk of sounding elitist, this test is geared towards those who are already familiar with the 33 Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy. If you don’t have that particular list committed to memory, then the following questions will be total Francophile gibberish. On the other hand, I would expect any Master of Wine or Master Sommelier to breeze through this test. For those looking for advice regarding the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) exam, please keep in mind that these questions transcend the scope of that test by a large margin. Answers for each question are typed in white, so you can reveal the information by swiping each area with your cursor.

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Q1. Which of Burgundy’s Grand Cru vineyards is the largest vineyard in the Côtes de Nuits?

A: Clos de Vougeot. Once a single 125-acre parcel owned by Cisterian monks, the vineyard has now been divided among nearly 80 different owners. It is the only Grand Cru vineyard in the Vougeot commune, and although it is classified by the boundaries of its ancient vineyard walls, there remain significant geological variations within.

Q2. Which of Burgundy’s Grand Cru vineyards can produce both red and white wines under AOC regulations?

A: Musigny produces 90% red wine, and is the only Grand Cru vineyard in the Côte de Nuits that can produce AOC white wine. Likewise, all other AOC-approved white wine producers are located in the Côtes du Beanue, and none are permitted to produce red wine, except for Corton, which produces 95% red.

Q3. Under AOC regulations, how much white wine is allowed within a Burgundian red wine blend, and which white grapes are permitted?

A: Perhaps surprisingly, Burgundian reds may contain up to 15% in total of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris, although blending is extremely rare among Grand Cru vineyards.

Q4. What is the name of the mountainous region that separates Chablis from the Côte d’Or?

A: The Morvan, which puts 62 miles between the two regions (although officially part of Burgundy, Chablis is actually located closer to Champagne, and was once considered part of that region).

Q5. What is the maximum production for a Grand Cru Chablis vineyard?

A: 54 hectoliters per hectare.

Q6. Name the seven Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis, and point out the largest one.

A: Bougros, Les Preuses, Vaudésir, Grenouilles, Valmur, Les Clos and Blanchot. All seven are distinguished by their Kimmeridgian soils, and collectively account for about 3% of Chablis production. Les Clos, with 61 acres, is the largest of the group.

Q7. Aside from Musigny, what Grand Cru vineyard shares space in the Chambolle-Musigny commune?

A: Bonnes Mares, which also crosses into the Morey-Saint-Denis commune. The wines from the Chambolle-Musigny portion of the vineyard tend to be more elegant than the wines from the Morey-Saint-Denis portion.

Q8. What is the smallest de facto production of all Burgundy AOCs?

A: Charlemagne, which produced only about 900 bottles of wine in 2008. Producers entitled to use the “Charlemagne” AOC can also use the “Corton-Charlemagne” AOC, and almost all producers choose the latter.

Q9: Which is Burgundy’s largest Grand Cru vineyard?

A: Corton, which sits atop a large hill that is shared by the communes of Ladoix-Serrigny, Pernand-Vergelesses and Aloxe-Corton. The vineyard features 95 hectares, or 234 acres, under vine. Because of its size, Corton is unique in Burgundy in terms of labeling, and a bottle of Corton will typically indicate the specific climat within the Corton AOC.

Q10: Name the nine Grand Cru vineyards of the Gevrey-Chambertin commune, and identify which one is also known as Mazoyères-Chambertin.

A: Chambertin-Clos de Bèz, Charmes-Chambertin (also known as Mazoyères-Chambertin), Chapelle-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin, Latricières-Chambertin, Le Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, and Ruchottes-Chambertin.

Q11: Aside from Chambertin itself, which of the other eight Grand Cru vineyards in the Gevrey-Chambertin commune are permitted to use the Chambertin AOC?

A: Only Chambertin-Clos de Bèze may be sold under the Chambertin AOC, although this is rarely practiced since Chambetin-Clos de Béze has a superior reputation.

Q12: Of the the nine Grand Cru vineyards in the Gevrey-Chambertin commune, which one is located the closest to the town of Gevrey-Chambertin itself?

A: Mazis-Chambertin, sometimes seen as Mazy-Chambertin. Sorry, I know this question was particularly nasty.

Q13: Which two Grand Cru vineyards in the Gevrey-Chambertin commune have the greatest restrictions on production?

A: Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos de Bèze are restricted to 35 hectoliters per hectare, while the other seven Grand Cru vineyards can produce 37 hectoliters per hectare. It is worth noting, however, that 35 hectoliters per hectare tends to be the more common AOC limit for red wine in Burgundy.

Q14: Name the five Grand Cru vineyards located in the Morey-Saint-Denis commune, and identify any monopoles. Which of the five was awarded Grand Cru status most recently?

A: Clos de Tart (the only monopole), Bonnes Mares, Clos de la Roche, Clos Saint-Denis, and Clos des Lambrays (awarded Grand Cru status in 1981).

Q15: Name the six Grand Cru vineyards of Vosne-Romanée, and identify any monopoles. Which of the six has been most recently promoted to Grand Cru status?

A: Romanée-Conti (monopole), La Romanée (monopole), La Tâche (monopole), Richebourg, Romanée-Saint-Vivant, and La Grande Rue (monopole, and Grand Cru since 1992, although status is retroactive to prior vintages).

Q16: What is the smallest AOC in France?

A: La Romanée, at 0.85 hectares or 2.1 acres. In 2008, an estimated 3,700 bottles were produced from this appellation, making these wines extremely scarce.

Q17: Within the communes of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet, which Grand Cru vineyards are located within both villages?

A: Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet. The other two Grand Cru vineyards located in Puligny-Montrachet are Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet, while the third Grand Cru vineyard of Chassagne-Montrachet is Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet.

Q18: What is the typical maximum production for the wines of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet?

A: 40 hectoliters per hectare, which offers slightly more production than the 35 hectoliters per hectare allowed for most of Burgundy’s red wine producers.

Q19: Among the nomenclature for French wine labels, what is the difference between “Montrachet” and “Le Montrachet”?

A: The former wines are produced in the Pugliny-Montrachet commune, while the latter wines are produced in the Chassagne-Montrachet commune.

Q20: Aside from Clos de Vougeut, which is Burgundy’s most “owned” vineyard?

A: Échezeaux was divided among 80 owners by the early 2000s, while Grands Échexeaux was divided among 25 different owners.

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