As someone with an appreciation of the stresses and strains involved with running a business, I am never less than respectfully reverential in the face of tastings where expensive bottles are being opened. After all, someone is paying, even if it is usually not me. For those less fortunate, who rarely get to taste such wines, the idea that I might find such opportunities remotely problematic will likely be greeted with a harrumph and a furrowed brow rather than sympathy.

 In the early 2000’s, after a year as an assistant winemaker in the south of France, I found that whilst my palate became much more questioning and critical whilst at work, an unfortunate corollary was decreased enjoyment whenever I drank socially. My heightened sensitivity was a result of the daily ritual of tasting samples from countless tanks and barrels, a boon for any budding wino right? Well no, not necessarily. The primary aim of this exercise was to identify those wines that might cause trouble due to some lingering off-aroma or palpable imbalance and this focus on the negative rather than the more positive attributes present, meant that I found fault with virtually every wine that passed my lips.

A similar problem is encountered in sighted (not blind) tasting of fine wines. One has an expectation that the wines in front of you should be great, the apogee of what the fermented grape can achieve, and this means that the taster can often be left feeling slightly disappointed. Instead of revelling in everything that is good about the wine, the taster, hindered and hamstrung by the wine’s reputation, elevated price and provenance, sees only the failings – the jamminess or austerity, the over-extraction or lack thereof and the needling or rather lifeless level of acidity.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to taste four vintages of one of Chateauneuf du Pape’s most iconic wines, Beaucastel’s ‘Hommage a Jacques Perrin.’ Made from fruit grown by the estate’s most venerable vines, I expected the results to be big, rich in both alcohol and fruit but wondered if they would excite or merely comfort and cosset. I also wondered whether I could resist the temptation to find fault, tempering my expectations and focusing on the pleasure derived rather than any perceivable shortcomings. As will be seen below I succeeded…most of the time.

In Taiwan these are available through www.leading-brands.com.tw

In the UK through www.farrvintners.com

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2011, 15%

60% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, 15% Syrah

Deep and dark with layers of concentrated spiced fruit, and super-ripe tannins. The 2011 is dense yet cosseting, mineral and persistent and whilst threatening to be a bruiser retains a sophistication that belies its power.

17.5/20

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2007, 14.5%

60% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah

This has some of the truffle-like aromas, dark spiced fruit, mineral and animal-like (fur ?) qualities that immediately marks this out as a wine of rare aromatic complexity. However the palate is slightly disappointing, being as it is, overly dominated by the warming effects of alcohol and this leaves the wine feeling a little hollow, an odd sensation considering the quality of the ripe tannins and general opulence.

17.5/20

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 1998, 14.5%

60% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah

Garnet coloured with a fully developed nose of exotic spice, earth, and ripe but not overly ripe sweet fruit. Fully integrated, dense supple tannins supported by a seam of balancing acidity. Persistent.

17/20

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 1994, 13.5%

60% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah, 10% Grenache

Meaty, leathery, mineral and with liquorice root aromas . The palate retains a freshness that complements the ripe, supple and now fully evolved tannins. The finish whilst still persistent is less so than the others tasted suggesting this is best drunk now.

16/20

 

頂級酒怎麼了?

 

因為能夠體會做生意的壓力與勞累,每當自己有幸品嚐頂級酒時,我總是抱持著尊重的態度。畢竟,這些昂貴的酒得有人付錢,而付錢的人,通常不是我。但面對頂級酒,我也會有心存懷疑的時候。只是,對於那些較少有機會品嚐頂級酒的人,我的懷疑恐怕只會換來他們嗤之以鼻或皺眉以對的態度,而非對我產生同理心。 

 

2000年代的初期,我才剛在南法做滿一年的助理釀酒師,並開始發現了自己的味蕾有所改變。相較於過去,我開始更渴望了解葡萄酒的風味與成因,對於工作場合品飲的酒款,也更加挑剔,但這種改變也導致我在面對一般社交場合時,愈來愈難從葡萄酒中獲得簡單的喜悅;這似乎是個不幸而必然的結果。這樣經年養成的高敏銳度,是來自於每天品嚐無數款橡木桶和不銹鋼桶的酒樣,想來應該是初階酒鬼的天堂吧?嗯,其實不然。這些日常品飲主要是為了清楚辨認酒款中可能存在的缺陷,要找尋的多半是一些不對勁的香氣,或是不夠平衡的口感。簡單來說,這份工作著重於找出酒中的缺點,而非優點。這也導致現在的我幾乎能在每一款品嚐的酒中「順利」找到缺點。

 

在以非盲飲(blind tatsing)的形式品嚐頂級酒時,還通常會遇上另一個問題。 既然是品嚐頂級酒(發酵葡萄汁的最極致表現),飲者通常期待頗高,而期望愈高,失望自然愈大。與其細細品味並發掘珍釀的美好,許多飲者常被酒款的名聲、高價位與產區來源影響,導致他們找到的缺點通常比優點多,如澀口的質地、像果醬般的風味、過度萃取的力道,甚至是缺乏生氣的扁平酸度等。

 

兩週前,我有幸品嚐到教皇新堡(Chateauneuf du Pape)最具代表性的名釀之一:Beaucastel, Hommage a Jacques Perrin的四個年份。雖然酒莊只用最珍貴的葡萄來釀酒,我原先以為這又會是一些酒精度飆高且果味豐厚的酒款,並納悶它們能否令人感到興奮、甚至愉悅。我更懷疑自己品嚐時,是否會忍不住又開始尋找酒款缺陷,而讓這場品酒會再度淪為壓抑內心期待的場合。但誠如接下來的品飲筆記可見一斑,這一回我成功了…… 至少絕大多數的時候是。(編譯 / 艾蜜・emily)

 

Beaucastel於臺灣市場:酩洋國際酒業(www.leading-brands.com.tw)

Beaucastel於英國市場:Farr Vintners(www.farrvintners.com)

 

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2011

酒精度:15%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾(Mourvedre)、25%格那希(Grenache)、15%希哈(Syrah)

品飲筆記:酒色深沉,香氣濃郁,帶有辛香料的水果味、以及超級成熟的單寧。2011年份濃郁、討喜,甚至誘人,帶有礦物味。風味持久,像是一位因深信自己的力量,而選擇維持風度的拳擊手一般。(17.5/20分)

 

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2007 

酒精度:14.5%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾、30%格那希、10%希哈

品飲筆記:這款酒的香氣相當複雜且難得,不但帶有一些如松露般的香氣,更展現了帶有辛香料的深色果味,以及礦物與近乎動物味(毛皮?)一般的特性。然而口感有些令人失望。即便這款酒的單寧如此成熟,風味如此豐裕,偏高的酒精度似乎讓口感略嫌空洞。(17.5/20分)

 

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 1998 

酒精度:14.5%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾、30%格那希、10%希哈

品飲筆記:酒色呈石榴紅。已完全發展的香氣中,帶有異國辛香料氣味、土壤味,與已成熟又不至於過熟的甜美果香。酒款各元素在口中完整融合,包括了濃郁而柔順的單寧,以及足以平衡酒體的酸度。風味持久。(17/20分)

 

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 1994, 13.5%

酒精度:13.5%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾、30%希哈、10%格那希

品飲筆記:肉味、皮革味、礦物味與些許甘草根香氣。口感新鮮,帶有成熟、細緻,且已經發展完整的單寧質地。餘韻雖然持久,相較以上其它酒款略短,暗示這款酒最好現在享用。(16/20分)

 

 

Articles Problem with Fine Wine groot

頂級酒怎麼了?

因為能夠體會做生意的壓力與勞累,每當自己有幸品嚐頂級酒時,我總是抱持著尊重的態度。畢竟,這些昂貴的酒得有人付錢,而付錢的人,通常不是我。

但面對頂級酒,我也會有心存懷疑的時候。只是,對於那些較少有機會品嚐頂級酒的人,我的懷疑恐怕只會換來他們嗤之以鼻或皺眉以對的態度,而非對我產生同理心。

2000年代的初期,我才剛在南法做滿一年的助理釀酒師,並開始發現了自己的味蕾有所改變。相較於過去,我開始更渴望了解葡萄酒的風味與成因,對於工作場合品飲的酒款,也更加挑剔,但這種改變也導致我在面對一般社交場合時,愈來愈難從葡萄酒中獲得簡單的喜悅;這似乎是個不幸而必然的結果。這樣經年養成的高敏銳度,是來自於每天品嚐無數款橡木桶和不銹鋼桶的酒樣,想來應該是初階酒鬼的天堂吧?嗯,其實不然。這些日常品飲主要是為了清楚辨認酒款中可能存在的缺陷,要找尋的多半是一些不對勁的香氣,或是不夠平衡的口感。簡單來說,這份工作著重於找出酒中的缺點,而非優點。這也導致現在的我幾乎能在每一款品嚐的酒中「順利」找到缺點。

在以非盲飲(blind tatsing)的形式品嚐頂級酒時,還通常會遇上另一個問題。 既然是品嚐頂級酒(發酵葡萄汁的最極致表現),飲者通常期待頗高,而期望愈高,失望自然愈大。與其細細品味並發掘珍釀的美好,許多飲者常被酒款的名聲、高價位與產區來源影響,導致他們找到的缺點通常比優點多,如澀口的質地、像果醬般的風味、過度萃取的力道,甚至是缺乏生氣的扁平酸度等。

兩週前,我有幸品嚐到教皇新堡(Chateauneuf du Pape)最具代表性的名釀之一:Beaucastel, Hommage a Jacques Perrin的四個年份。雖然酒莊只用最珍貴的葡萄來釀酒,我原先以為這又會是一些酒精度飆高且果味豐厚的酒款,並納悶它們能否令人感到興奮、甚至愉悅。我更懷疑自己品嚐時,是否會忍不住又開始尋找酒款缺陷,而讓這場品酒會再度淪為壓抑內心期待的場合。但誠如接下來的品飲筆記可見一斑,這一回我成功了…… 至少絕大多數的時候是。(編譯 / 艾蜜・emily

Beaucastel於臺灣市場:酩洋國際酒業(www.leading-brands.com.tw

Beaucastel於英國市場:Farr Vintnerswww.farrvintners.com

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2011

酒精度:15%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾(Mourvedre)、25%格那希(Grenache)、15%希哈(Syrah

品飲筆記:酒色深沉,香氣濃郁,帶有辛香料的水果味、以及超級成熟的單寧。2011年份濃郁、討喜,甚至誘人,帶有礦物味。風味持久,像是一位因深信自己的力量,而選擇維持風度的拳擊手一般。17.5/20分)

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 2007

酒精度:14.5%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾、30%格那希、10%希哈

品飲筆記:這款酒的香氣相當複雜且難得,不但帶有一些如松露般的香氣,更展現了帶有辛香料的深色果味,以及礦物與近乎動物味(毛皮?)一般的特性。然而口感有些令人失望。即便這款酒的單寧如此成熟,風味如此豐裕,偏高的酒精度似乎讓口感略嫌空洞。17.5/20分)

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 1998

酒精度:14.5%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾、30%格那希、10%希哈

品飲筆記:酒色呈石榴紅。已完全發展的香氣中,帶有異國辛香料氣味、土壤味,與已成熟又不至於過熟的甜美果香。酒款各元素在口中完整融合,包括了濃郁而柔順的單寧,以及足以平衡酒體的酸度。風味持久。17/20分)

CNdP Hommage a Jacques Perrin 1994, 13.5%

酒精度:13.5%

品種比例:60%慕維得爾、30%希哈、10%格那希

品飲筆記:肉味、皮革味、礦物味與些許甘草根香氣。口感新鮮,帶有成熟、細緻,且已經發展完整的單寧質地。餘韻雖然持久,相較以上其它酒款略短,暗示這款酒最好現在享用。16/20分)

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