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Sunday Serendipity
Found In Wine Country

By Charles Olken

If you have not tried your hand at the geography challenge in Friday’s blog, you will find these answers more informative if you read it first. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard and you can’t make sense of the answers below without the questions. I am told by several people that the quiz was too hard, which means that it was not nearly as transparent as I thought it was. My bad on that.

Once you have looked over the hints, and coordinate them with the answers and my reasoning, those hints might make more sense. But you won’t know if you don’t try. Answers and explanations start below the fold.

  1. This one works backwards. The centerfielder is John Fogarty of Credence Clearwater Revival whose vocal work is also featured on Stuck In Lodi Again. From the San Francisco area, one gets to Lodi by Freeway and pulls off I-5 to Highway 12 East. It is not long before swaths of newly planted, trellised vines surround you. But further up the road, you come to old, gnarly vines of several shapes. Lodi is often the butt of jokes and is the poster child for overripe wines, but it is an AVA that extends from the flats up to the low foothills and has several types of growing conditions.

  2. Some time back, on the occasion of our 25th anniversary, my wife and I spent a couple of days in the Champagne region staying at the lovely hotel, the Royal Champagne on a hillside north of Epernay. Our view of the surrounding vineyards in the village of Dizy and their white, chalky soils are what the southern end of the Champagne region is about.

  3. The Margaret River area in Western Australia lies south of Perth by a couple of hours drive. Down under, things get colder the further south one goes and the Western Australia wine region stretches from the warm growing regions east of Perth all the way to the southern shores where places like Pemberton and Frankland specialize in Pinot Noir and Riesling. The town of Margaret River is just enough north of Australia’s southwest corner that it gets weather influences from both the Southern Ocean, as the Aussies call it, and the warmer Indian Ocean. While very good Cabernet Sauvignon comes from this area, it is better known for the Chardonnays from folks like Leeuwin, Thompson Estate, Howard Park and Cullen. Cullen is run by Vanya Cullen and is known for its biodynamic grapegrowing practices.

  4. St. Emilion on Bordeaux’s Right Bank looks like a classic, old hill town. Its clocher (bell tower) sits on the upper terrace of the village, and if you turn around and look at the vineyards behind you, you will discover that they belong to Clos Fourtet.

  5. These days, the Russian River Valley is most noted for the balanced, fruity, keenly focused Pinot Noirs that get produced there. Whether you are like the richness of the wines produced in the somewhat protected area along Westside Road or the more tightly balanced Pinots and Chardonnays from the western boundaries of this rightfully famous AVA, you are in one of the places whose emergence as a producer of fine wines has put California on the world stage in the last forty years.

  6. The Mendoza region of Argentina, stretching south from the large city of Mendoza, lies just east of the Andes mountains and occupies a tilted mesa and low hills at elevations that would be reserved for the Sierras in California. The famous wineries of the Mendoza are centered around Lujan du Cuyo while the Uco Valley, further south, is the newest developing area.

  7. Cuvée Winnie, for Sir Winston Churchill, is the flagship wine of Pol Roger. The reference to Mr. Churchill is brought about by his estate at Chartwell in Kent county of southeastern England. There, near the white cliffs of Dover, in chalky soils sits a small but significant winegrowing region with climate and soils reminiscent of Champagne. Some wags have said that it will be the new home for the world’s best sparkling wines when global warming makes Champagne too warm to produce the very wine for which it is famous.

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