Sunday, November 21, 2010

The WSET / ISG Challenge Number 4: Beaujolais

As the clock in France strikes midnight on the third Thursday of every November, Beaujolais becomes the undisputed diva of the wine world – at least until thirsty Beaujolais Nouveau lovers around the world have savoured the first of that year’s release.

In his witty and information-packed book, I’ll Drink to That, Rudolph Chelminski describes the origin of what is arguably one the best known, annual wine rites in the world.

It began in 1970 when two Englishmen, Joseph Berkmann (owner of a wine distribution company among other business ventures and weekly wine correspondent for the London Sunday Times) and Clement Freud (a friend and rival who happened to be in Romaneche as wine correspondent for the London Sun), shared supper and a number of bottles of Duboeuf Beaujolais over dinner.

“Only the Brits, that admirably odd people, could have given birth to the monument, the cathedral of nonsense that these two gents constructed from a tiny spark of an idea, or carried it off with such surrealistic virtuosity,” writes Chelminski. “As bottle succeeded bottle and

midnight drew nigh, Berkmann and Freud found themselves becoming keener of insight, bolder, more intelligent and more certain of their own virtues and capacities. The germ of an

idea took shape; jovial boast became affirmation; affirmation became insistence; and insistence became challenge. The glove was hurled: I can get my cartons of primeur to London before you can. Some time after midnight, each man roared away from Romaneche with several cartons of 1970 Beaujolais Nouveau in the back of his car, muttering Central European imprecations at the other and vowing to write nasty things about his rival’s oenological ineptitude.”

Since last week was the annual release, Frank chose Beaujolais as the subject of this week’s quiz.

How many villages in Beaujolais have the right to call their wines Beaujolais Villages.

a. 10

b. 37

c. 39

d. 96

Which is not a Beaujolais Cru

a. Morgon

b. Saint Amour

c. Moulin a Vent

d. Fixin

FYI: These are actual practice questions from Frank’s WSET and ISG studies. Let us know how you’re enjoying them and using them. And check back tomorrow for the answers plus more trivia about Beaujolais. (Upper left: Gamay grapes on the vine. Below: the rolling fields of Beaujolais.)

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