RC constitutes a very important part of the Verbal Ability section in CAT. Here is a passage from CAT 2003 for you to practice. This will help you to adopt the correct strategies while solving a passage and improve your accuracy
At the heart of the enormous boom in wine consumption that has taken place in the English-speaking world over the last two decades or so is a fascinating, happy paradox. In the days when wine was exclusively the preserve of a narrow cultural elite, bought either at auctions or from gentleman wine merchants in wing collars and bow-ties, to be stored in rambling cellars and decanted to order by one’s butler, the ordinary drinker didn’t get a look-in. Wine was considered a highly technical subject, in which anybody without the necessary ability could only fall flat on his or her face in embarrassment. It wasn’t just that you needed a refined aesthetic sensibility for the stuff if it wasn’t to be hopelessly wasted on you. It required an intimate knowledge of what came from where, and what it was supposed to taste like.
Those were times, however, when wine appreciation essentially meant a familiarity with the great French classics, with perhaps a smattering of other wines-like sherry and port. That was what the wine trade dealt in. These days, wine is bought daily in supermarkets and high-street chains to be consumed that evening, hardly anybody has a cellar to store it in and most don’t even possess a decanter. Above all, the wines of literally dozens of countries are available on our market. When a supermarket offers its customers a couple of fruity little numbers from Brazil, we scarcely raise an eyebrow.
It seems, in other words, that the commercial jungle that wine has now become has not in the slightest deterred people from plunging adventurously into the thickets in order to taste and see. Consumers are no longer intimidated by the thought of needing to know their Pouilly-Fume from their Pouilly-Fuisse, just at the very moment when there is more to know than ever before.
The reason for this new mood of confidence is not hard to find. It is on every wine label from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States: the name of the grape from which the wine is made. At one time that might have sounded like a fairly technical approach in itself. Why should native English-speakers know what Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay were? The answer lies in the popularity that wines made from those grape varieties now enjoy. Consumers effectively recognize them as brand names, and have acquired a basic lexicon of wine that can serve them even when confronted with those Brazilian upstarts.
In the wine heartlands of France, they are scared to death of that trend-not because they think their wine isn’t as good as the best from California or South Australia (what French winemaker will ever admit that?) but because they don’t traditionally call their wines Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. They call them Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou or Corton-Charlemagne, and they aren’t about to change. Some areas, in the middle of southern France, have now produced a generation of growers using the varietal names on their labels and are tempting consumers back to French wine. It will be an uphill struggle, but there is probably no other way if France is to avoid simply becoming a specialty source of old-fashioned wines for old-fashioned connoisseurs.
Wine consumption was also given a significant boost in the early 1990s by the work of Dr. Serge Renaud, who has spent many years investigating the reasons for the uncannily low incidence of coronary heart disease in the south of France. One of his major findings is that the fat-derived cholesterol that builds up in the arteries and can eventually lead to heart trouble, can be dispersed by the tannins in wine. Tannin is derived from the skins of grapes, and is therefore present in higher levels in red wines, because they have to be infused with their skins to attain the red colour. That news caused a huge upsurge in red wine consumption in the United States. It has not been accorded the prominence it deserves in the UK, largely because the medical profession still sees all alcohol as a menace to health, and is constantly calling for it to be made prohibitively expensive. Certainly, the manufacturers of anticoagulant drugs might have something to lose if we all got the message that we would do just as well by our hearts by taking half a bottle of red wine every day!
- The tone that the author uses while asking “What French winemaker will ever admit that?” is best described as
- What according to the author should the French do to avoid becoming a producer of merely old-fashioned wines?
(1) Follow the labeling strategy of the English-speaking countries.
(2) Give their wines English names.
(3) Introduce fruity wines as Brazil has done.
(4) Produce the wines that have become popular in the English-speaking world.
- The development which has created fear among winemakers in the wine heartlands of France is the
(1) tendency not to name wines after the grape varieties that are used in the wines.
(2) ‘education’ that consumers have derived from wine labels from English-speaking countries.
(3) new generation of local winegrowers who use labels that show names of grape varieties.
(4) ability of consumers to understand a wine’s qualities when confronted with “Brazilian upstarts”.
- Which one of the following, if true, would provide most support for Dr. Renaud’s findings about the effect of tannins?
(1) A survey showed that film celebrities based in France have a low incidence of coronary heart disease.
(2) Measurements carried out in southern France showed red wine drinkers had significantly higher levels of
coronary heart incidence than white wine drinkers did.
(3) Data showed a positive association between sales of red wine and incidence of coronary heart disease.
(4) Long-term surveys in southern France showed that the incidence of coronary heart disease was significantly lower in red wine drinkers than in those who did not drink red wine.
- Which one of the following CANNOT be reasonably attributed to the labeling strategy followed by wine producers in English-speaking countries?
(1) Consumers buy wines on the basis of their familiarity with a grape variety’s name.
(2) Even ordinary customers now have more access to technical knowledge about wine.
(3) Consumers are able to appreciate better quality wines.
(4) Some non-English speaking countries like Brazil indicate grape variety names on their labels.
- Ans:- Option (2). Hypocritical is possessed by hypocrisy or falseness. There is nothing ‘insincere’ about what the author says here, therefore, option 4 (hypocritical) can be eliminated. Again, while asking this question, the author does not make a cutting or sarcastic remark (caustic), nor is it critical (disapproving or fault-finding) although the author does point out a little fault. The author here wittily puts forth the idea that no French winemaker is ever going to admit that his wine is not as good as the best wines of California or South Australia. Since, he uses wit to point that out, satire is the best word here. Hence, the correct answer is option (2).
- Ans:- Option (1). In the fourth paragraph of the passage, the author indicates that Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay was known names to the English. Therefore, in present times when wine has reached more people, the names have become synonymous with great tasting wines or become a brand. In the fifth paragraph, it is written that the French do not call their wines by these names and hence are scared by this trend of consumers to recognize those wines as good. (What would happen to their wines?). It follows that if the French follow such labeling strategies, consumers would be biased towards those wines they have heard of or can relate to. Further, the author mentions in the fifth paragraph- “Some areas, in the middle of southern France, have now produced a generation of growers using the varietal names on their labels and are tempting consumers back to French wine. It will be an uphill struggle, but there is probably no other way if France is to avoid simply becoming a specialty source of old-fashioned wines for old-fashioned connoisseurs.” This leads us to option (1) as the correct answer choice . Option (4) can be ruled out because the author has said earlier that French classics were popular in England. Options (2) and (3) can be eliminated by going through the information given in the fourth and fifth paragraphs.
- Ans:- Option (2). The name of the grape from which wine is made is recognized by customers. Customers therefore have acquired a basic lexicon and French winemakers are scared of that trend. Option (2) effectively summarizes this by pointing out this acquired ‘education’. Hence option (2) is the correct answer. Option (1) can be ruled out because the winemakers are scared of the trend among the customers not the tendency to not name wines after the grape varieties. Nor are they scared of local winegrowers who show names of grape varieties on their bottles as mentioned in option (3), so it can be negated. Option (4) is partially true, but the idea is the increase in awareness level among customers. Hence, it can be eliminated too.
- Ans:- Option (4). As stated in the last paragraph, Dr. Serge Renaud found that the fat-derived cholesterol that builds up in the arteries and can eventually lead to heart trouble can be dispersed by the tannins in wine. Tannin is derived from the skins of grapes, and is therefore present in higher levels in red wines. Option (4) supports this finding. Therefore it is the correct answer. Option (1) can be ruled out because it does not explicitly indicate that film celebrities drink red wine. Option (2) weakens the statement by stating that red wine drinkers have higher levels of coronary heart incidence. So it can be eliminated. Option (3) states the opposite that red wine sales has a positive correlation with incidence of coronary heart disease. Hence, it can be ruled out.
- Ans:- Option (3). We need to look for an option that cannot be reasonably attributed to the labeling strategy followed by wine producers in English-speaking countries. Option (1) can be substantiated from the fourth paragraph. Option (2) can be deduced. Customers effectively recognize grape names and since information is given on bottles, ordinary customers can make better buying decisions. Option (4) can be drawn from paragraph 4 as well- “Consumers effectively recognize them as brand names, and have acquired a basic lexicon of wine that can serve them even when confronted with those Brazilian upstarts.” Hence all of them can be eliminated. However, nowhere can we find a mention of customer being able to recognize better quality wines in the passage. Wines have been spoken of in terms of grape varieties and not their quality. Hence, the correct answer is option (3).
Level of difficulty:- Easy to Moderate
Expected time to solve:- 8 to 10 minutes.
Hope you learnt!
See you with the next one tomorrow!