The Wine Novice, in his natural habitat.
The Wine Novice, in his natural habitat.

Several weeks ago, I published the final exam questions for the Vino Rosso Italian Wine seminar I presented to students at the Nesmith House. I purposely left out the answers, but several readers -- rather annoyed -- complained.

As I said at the time, if you want to learn about Italian wines from northern Italy, take the class.

But now that I have completed the two classes -- and all 34 students passed the exam with flying colors -- I am moved by compassion and charity to share the answers.

The second class, held Nov. 8, was just as spectacular as the first, held Oct. 11, except for a few twists.

Most important, I was able add a Barolo and Valpolicella delle Amarone Classico to the wine list. The real stunner, however, was a 2007 Camigliano Burnello di Montalcino that I brought in from my cellar to share with delighted students at the end of a brilliant and successful learning experience.

The lessons they learned will make them better consumers.

They know how to read Italian wine labels, have a good working knowledge of the grapes and wines from three prestigious regions -- Piedmont, Tuscany, Veneto -- and appreciate that a higher price does not necessarily translate into a higher quality wine.

They learned that terroir -- the land, sea, soil, mesoclimates -- where the vines grow have a very significant effect on the grape's characteristics.

Finally, they picked up some important Wine Novice tips on when, how and where to purchase exquisite wines at cheaper prices.


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So, I'll be presenting two new classes in the spring of 2019 through the Middlesex Community College's adult-education program. One will be a dazzler on Champagne and sparkling wines. The other will be on the volcanic red and white wines of southern Italy.

Good luck on the exam. Salut! (Answers are in the box).

1. In which wine region is Sangiovese the "king of all grape varieties"?

a. Piemonte

b. Toscana

c. Veneto

d. All of the above

2. Which of the below listed wines is not made from Sangiovese?

a. Chianti Classico

b. Brunello di Montalcino

c. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

d. Barolo

3. "Riserva" on an Italian wine label refers to:

a. Longer aging

b. Higher price

c. Higher alcohol content

d. Estate vineyard

4. Name this late-ripening, high acidic, low tannic, food-friendly wine that is Piemonte's top bottling by production volume.

a. Barbaresco

b. Barolo

c. Barbera

d. Brunello

5. Put the Italian Wine Quality Pyramid in its proper order.

a. Vini

b. DOC

c. DOCG

d. IGT

6. True or False. The term "Classico" on Italian labels signifies that the wine was produced from the historic wine growing region.

7. The process of air-drying grapes prior to vinification is called:

a. Malolactic fermentation

b. Alcoholic fermentation

c. Vino di meditazione

d. Appasimento

8. Which of the following is not an Italian grape varietal used to make wine?

a. Corvina

b. Rondinella

c. Amarone

d. Sangiovese

9. Which Italian wine-growing region reserves its best "cru" vineyard sites to grow Barolo?

a. Veneto

b. Toscana

c. Valpolicella

d. Piemonte

10. The Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) symbol of authenticity is found on this wine.

a. Super Tuscan

b. Chianti

c. Chianti Classico

d. Brunello di Montalcino

BONUS : True or False. By law, Brunello di Montalcino must contain 100 percent Sangiovese and be aged four years before it can be sold to the public.

Answers: 1. b, Toscana; 2. d, Barolo; 3. a, Longer aging; 4. c, Barbera; 5. a, DOCG; b, DOC; d, IGT; a, Vini; 6. True; 7. d, appassimento; 8. c, Amarone; 9. d, Piemonte; 10. c, Chinati Classico; Bonus: True.