Theory Test: Sparkling, Brandy, Mexico and More

Theory nerds unite!

Test your knowledge below, on some advanced wine and spirits questions. These topics assume some entry-level knowledge, and are meant to be challenging.

Questions and answers have been carefully researched, but errors can happen. Feel free to comment with any corrections.

Alcohol Levels
What is the minimum level of alcohol for “wine”, as stated by the OIV (International Organization of Wine and Vine)?8.5%.
With certain style exceptions, what is the EU alcohol range for “wine”.8.5-15%
If any “grape wine” made in the USA is 7-14% AVB, what is its category called, largely for tax purposes?“Table Wines”
If any “grape wine” made in the USA is 14-24% AVB, what is its category called, largely for tax purposes?“Dessert Wines”
Are PDO/PGI wines in the EU allowed to have actual abv that differs from the label?Yes, +/- 0.5%
Are imported and domestic wines in the US allowed to have actual abv that differs from the label?Yes, +/- 1.5% for wines at 14% abv or less, and +/- 1.0% for wines above 14% abv.
Sparkling, non-Champagne
Is all German Sekt made in the Russian Continuous Method or Charmat (tank) Method?Most are. The very top tier of Sekt is made in the traditional method.
Name the traditional method sparkling wine made by a famous Champagne producer, in the Anderson Valley.Roederer Estate.
What grapes are allowed for Franciacorta Satèn?Chardonnay and a maximum 50% Pinot Bianco.
Aside from Franciacorta, name a traditional-method DOCG wine.Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG, Vermentino di Gallura DOCG Spumante Metodo Classico, Gavi (Cortese di Gavi) DOCG Spumante Metodo Classico
What are the allowed production methods for Cava?Only Traditional Method is allowed.
Name any Lambrusco DOC regions.Emilia Romagna, Modena: Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce DOC, Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC. Lombardy, Mantova: Lambrusco Mantovano DOC
What is the sweetness allowed for Franciacorta Satèn?Brut only.
Name the 7 regions for Crémant production, from North to SouthAlsace; Loire; Bourgogne; Jura; Die; Savoie (proposed); Bordeaux; Limoux
Name sparkling wine producers from 5 states in America.Iron Horse (CA), Argyle (OR), Dom Ste. Michelle (WA), Gruet (NM), Chateau Frank (NY).
Where is the producer Ferrari located?Trento DOC, a Traditional-Method-only appellation in Trentino Alto-Adige.
Geographic Icons
What is the large lake near Bardolino and Valpolicella?Lake Garda
Name the two rivers of the Tokaj region.The Tisza River and Bodrog River.
What is the highest mountain range in Portugal?Serra da Estrela, or “Star Range”, a granite formation in NE Portugal near the Dão.
Where is the Van Duzer corridor?In the Coastal Mountains of Oregon, funneling Pacific Ocean winds into Willamette Valley, between McMinnville AVA and Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
What is the estuary of the Bordeaux Region? What else has this name?The Gironde is both the estuary and the political département.
Which mountain ranges flank the Napa Valley?The Vaca Mountains to the East, and Mayacamas Mountains to the West.
Canada and Mexico
Where is the oldest winery in the Americas?Casa Madero, found in the Mexican state of Coahuila near Texas, established in 1597.
What is the most important viticultural region of Mexico?The best wines come from maritime-influenced Baja Peninsula, where Rhône excel.
What are the “viticultural areas” of Ontario?Prince Edward County, Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore
What are the “regional appellations” of the Niagara Peninsula?Niagara Escarpment and Niagara-on-the-Lake
What is the maximum harvest temperature for Icewine in BC and Ontario?Grapes must be naturally frozen on the vine and harvested at no higher than -8° C.
What is Vidal Blanc?A French hybrid grape that is allowed for VQA Icewine. Vidal is a hybrid of Ugni Blanc and Rayon d’Or.
Iconic Producers
Who make the iconic Hill of Grace wine?Henschke is the producer, located in Eden Valley, Australia.
Aside from Martha’s Vineyard, name single-vineyard wines made by Heitz Cellar.Trailside, Bella Oaks, Ink Grade, Fay.
Who are the producers of Clos Rougeard, from Samur Champigny?Two brothers, Charly and Nady Foucault.
What is the dry wine of Château d’Yquem?“Y”, also known by the letter’s full spelling Ygrec.
Name some iconic producers of Amarone della Valpolicella.Tommasi, Allegrini, Cesari, Bertani, Giuseppe Quintarelli.
Name some iconic producers of Tokaji.The Royal Tokaji Wine Company, Oremus, Királyudvar, István Szepsy.
South and Central Italy
What are the grapes of Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG?Frappato (30-50%) and Nero d’Avola (50-70%)
What are the aging requirements for Agliancio del Vulture Superiore DOCG (normale and riserva)?Normale: 12 months barrel + 12 months bottle, released after 3 years. Riserva: 24 months barrel + 24 months bottle, released after 5 years.
What is Tintilia del Molise DOC?A rosso/rosato appellation in Molise based on one grape, Tintilia.
Which DOC is found at the toe of Italy’s boot?Greco di Bianco DOC, for Bianco Passito wines made from Greco Bianco.
European Spirits
Name the 5 Armagnac AOPsArmagnac AOP (general appellation), Blanche Armagnac (non-oak aging), Bas Armagnac, Haut Armagnac and Armagnac Ténarèze (3 subregion AOCs of Armagnac)
Does Scotch Whisky have a minimum age?All Scotch must be aged 3 years in oak, barrels not to exceed 700L in size.
Name the Marc appellations of France.Marc d’Alsace AOC (Gewurz), Marc de Bourgogne AOC (Blends), Marc du Jura AOC (Savagnin based blends)
Names for Brandy in Eastern EuropeMirabelle, yellow plum, France; Quetsch, red plum, France; Prunelle, sloe berry, France; Boukha, fig, Tunisia; Pálinka, stone/tree fruit, Hungary; Pálenka, stone/tree fruit, Slovakia/Czech Republic; Rakia, stone/tree fruit, Balkans; Slivovitz, Damson Plums, Balkans


Data sourced from the Guild of Sommeliers, Jancis Robinson World Atlas of Wine, Jancis Robinson Oxford Companion, and Wikipedia.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!