The purpose of this blog is to provide you with some material for Christmas quizzes, longueurs in the conversation, one-upmanship with the family wine bore, charades (not the sort of charades I play –ed) and so on and so forth, perhaps leaving some leftover material for a pub wine quiz or two in 2016.
Let’s do it with grape varieties – always rich pickings (sorry, terrible pun – just thinking of the Christmas crackers) and let’s focus on crossings and synonyms.
· Cabestrel: a new crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre, permitted in France as of 2015. It has good colour and ripens late, without getting too high in sugar (and therefore potential alcohol), but on the down side acidity can be low. Extra points for anyone who knows why it’s called Cabestrel. Yes, Mourvèdre is called Monastrell in Spain, the country where it originated. Cabevèdre is more of a mouthful and might have seemed chauvinistic.
· Caberlot: no surprise to find it’s a Cabernet x Merlot crossing, but which Cabernet? Franc. And it’s grown where? Italy. More? It’s on a single estate in Chianti – Podere Il Carnasciale – where it emerged as a natural crossing. Full marks.
· If you want to look up Primitivo in Wine Grapes, which letter would you look under? ‘T’, yes, but why? Because Tribidrag is the original Croatian name for the variety.
· Give me the other well-known synonym for Tribidrag? Zinfandel.
· What is Favorita better known as? Vermentino. And the synonym used in Provence is? Rolle. Well done.
· If you don’t want to say Bastardo in front of the mother-in-law, what could you call it instead? Trousseau. Breathe a sigh of relief.
· As well as being the name of you've forgotten whose pet rabbit/god-daughter/aunt (delete as appropriate), what is Flora? A crossing of Sémillon and Gewürztraminer. Of course.
· Fer: let’s have three current synonyms for Fer, excluding Fer Servadou. Mansois, Braucol and Pinenc. Extra points for assigning them to their correct wines/regions. In order: Marcillac, Gaillac, Madiran. Yes.
· Caladoc is what? A Garnacha x Cot cross.
· Cot is better known as what? Malbec. And what did they call it in Cahors before they saw the marketing light and switched to the name Malbec? Auxerrois.
· Auxerrois is better known as a white grape where? Alsace. Top marks.
· And is being replanted in which recently revived region of Burgundy? Top marks if you know. If you don't, go back to my Secret Burgundy blog (do not pass Go and do not collect £200).
That should keep you and yours going for a bit. Happy Christmas and may the scores be with you.
This post first appeared on thewinegang.com on 21st December 2015.