Is there anything more powerful than someone with unimpeachable credentials as a world-expert on their subject, being warm and approachable, unassuming yet authoritative whilst also showing real interest in what you, a mere mortal, are up to? I had the opportunity to find out when Gerard Basset MW, MS, Bordeaux Wine MBA, Best sommelier in the world 2010, OBE, and successful hotelier, visited Taipei in August.

With such an impressive list of hard sought gongs to his name, one might have excused Gerard if he was a fully paid up member of the ‘willy wagglers’ of the wine world club, constantly reminding anyone fortunate enough to be sharing the same room or stage with him of his prestigious talents and general success. Gerard’s serene demeanour is however testosterone free, he is someone who clearly loves what he does and remains humble enough to appreciate that there is still much to know; a true life long learner.

Gerard was in town to promote his ‘oenomust’ glasses, a collaboration between him and French glass company ‘Lehmann Glass.’ The seminar I attended also featured another fine ambassador of the wine industry and long time friend of Gerard’s, Franck Massard. Franck, a one-time champion sommelier, is now more engaged in the making of wine than serving it, and those assembled had the opportunity to taste four of his wines all originating from the relative cool of northern Spain.

Franck provided the background for each wine whilst Gerard composed an understandably (but completely justified) complimentary note and food matching suggestion. All the wines were very good but the stand-out for me was the one made from Mencia; ‘Licis’. It originates from the very precipitous, schistous slopes of Ribeira Sacra in Galicia; a true delight (notes follow below), that was ample demonstration to those perhaps unsure, that Spain is much more than simply the home of Rioja.

As the seminar ended and people queued to have their picture taken with Gerard and Franck I hoped, like me, that collectively their abiding memory was one of the power of geniality. It’s always nice to feel part of the conversation rather than a mere recipient and I was left feeling that I had been engaged in a cosy chat for the preceding two hours. Powerful indeed and a strong reminder that willy waggling should only be practiced in the privacy of one’s home.

Franck Massard, Mas Sardana Brut Nature Cava NV, 11.5%

50% Xarel Lo, 25% Macabeo, 25% Parellada, 12 months on lees.

Expressively fruity with aromas of apple skin, almond and sweet citrus makes this a pretty Cava. Chalky, almost sherbet-like but with a slight earthiness/rusticity on the finish. 16/20

Franck Massard, Alma Albarino, Rias Baixas, 2013 (Rosal sub zone and single vineyard), 13%, 9 months on lees.

Semi-aromatic, slightly herbal with some citrus pith, grapefruit and nectarine on the nose. Mineral-like, almost salty, with a slightly bitter yet mouth enlivening finish. 16.5/20

Franck Massard, ‘Licis’, Ribera Sacra, Mencia, 13%, 2012

20% new oak for one year, followed by a year in bottle.

Ruby/purple in hue with herbal, dark and savoury fruit, like a cross between Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Pretty, elegant and harmonious with integrated pithy tannins that grip but don’t assault. 17.5/20

Franck Massard, Huellas (translates as fingerprint), Priorat, 2013, 15%.

60% Carinena, 40% Garnacha. 20% new 500l French oak for one year, the remainder in old oak.

The grapes for this wine come from the north of Priorat and from a vineyard that climbs from 300-670m. In theory this should allow for slower ripening that should see the prodigious alcohol level balanced by fully developed flavours and tannins. As intended this is most certainly the case as this is perfumed with an oily, earthy, mineral aroma accompanied by dried fruit, dried herbs and a little coffee on the nose. Once in the mouth it exudes a certain hairy-knuckled elegance with lots of fruit, spice, dusty tannins and a refreshing lick of acid. 17/20

與Gerard Basset和Franck Massard共處的下午


還有什麼是比遇上個性溫暖親切、謙遜有禮,卻又具有無可比擬的權威領域世界級專家,更令人感到震撼的嗎?特別是當這樣的人對於如凡夫俗子般的我,真正展現興趣之時?這樣的經驗,正是今年八月在台北時,我與Gerard Basset相處的感想。介紹前,先讓我列舉Gerard的資歷,他是全球少數同時持有葡萄酒大師(Master of Wine,簡稱MW)與侍酒大師(Master of Sommelier,簡稱MS)頭銜的專業人士,不但榮獲大英帝國勳章(Order of the British Empire,簡稱OBE),更擁有波爾多葡萄酒MBA學位,還曾於2010年擊敗群雄,獲頒「全球最佳侍酒師」稱號。除此之外,Gerard還是一位相當成功的飯店經營者。

擁有這麼多難以獲得的頭銜,你大概會以為Gerard是那種自視甚高的傢伙。如果有個附庸風雅的葡萄酒世界俱樂部,他大概還是尊榮會員之一,並一天到晚提醒身邊的人,能與自己共處一室是多麼三生有幸。但事實上,Gerard穩重的風度卻與想像中截然不同。他明顯熱愛自己的工作,並總是保持謙虛的態度,因深覺天外有天、要學的還很多,且是位力求終身學習的人。

Gerard這次來到台北是為了推廣自己與法國知名杯廠雷曼酒杯(Lehmann Glass)所設計的Oenomust系列。我參加的這場大師講座中,除了有Gerard,還有另一位業界菁英,即Gerard的長年好友Franck Massard。曾為獲獎侍酒師的Franck,如今深植釀酒業而非侍酒,而今天這場活動有興品嚐四款他所釀造的西班牙美酒,全是來自於較冷涼的北邊產區。

大師講座中,Franck先提供關於每一款酒的背景知識,接著由Gerard發表相當公正的品飲心得以及搭餐建議。這一天品嚐的所有酒款都相當優異,特別是一款以門西亞(Mencia)葡萄所釀造的Licis紅酒(品飲筆記請見下方)。這款酒的葡萄來自於加利西亞(Galicia)省陡峭多坡的薩克拉河畔(Ribeira Sacra),其葡萄園以片岩為主,其表現之誘人心弦,足以徹底推翻懷疑西班牙僅有利奧哈(Rioja)能喝的想法。

隨著講座來到尾聲,參加的人排隊等著和Gerard與Franck照相合影,我誠摯希望,與會人士和我一樣,都能夠感受到兩位專家的親切與友好。能夠參與對話向來比單方面當聽眾來得好;而離開這場活動時,我深覺自己過去兩個小時被邀請進一場舒適愜意的對話中。(譯 / 艾蜜・emily)

Franck Massard, Mas Sardana Brut Nature Cava NV

酒精度:11.5%
品種比例:50%薩雷羅(Xarel Lo)、25%馬卡貝歐(Macabeo)、25% 帕雷亞達(Parellada)
釀造方式:與酒渣(lees)培養12個月
品飲筆記:這支漂亮的卡瓦氣泡酒(Cava)展現了豐富的果香,以及蘋果皮、杏仁與甜橙香氣。口感略帶顆粒狀的質地,幾乎有如雪泥一般,餘韻則展現些許土壤等質樸的特性。(16/20分)

Franck Massard, Alma Albarino, Rias Baixas 2013

酒精度:13%
品種比例:100%阿爾巴利諾(Albarino)
釀造方式:與酒渣培養9個月
品飲筆記:這款酒選用Rosal副產區的單一葡萄園果實釀成。這款以半芬芳型的品種釀成的白酒,展現些許草本和果香,如柑橘皮、葡萄柚與油桃等香氣。口感帶有礦物味,嚐來幾乎有些鹹味,餘韻略苦,生氣蓬勃。(16.5/20分)

Franck Massard, ‘Licis’, Ribeira Sacra, Mencia 2012

酒精度:13%
品種比例:100%門西亞
釀造方式:20%的酒液於新橡木桶中培養1年,續於瓶中培養1年
品飲筆記:酒色呈紅寶石與紫紅色澤,香氣帶有草本、深色莓果與鹹鮮味,有如卡本內弗朗(Cabernet Franc)與希哈(Syrah)的綜合體。這款漂亮、高雅且平衡的紅酒,帶有與酒體結合良好的單寧,質地有如果皮內部的襯皮一般,雖緊實但不過重。(17.5/20分)

Franck Massard, Huellas(意指「指紋」), Priorat 2013

酒精度:15%
品種比例:60%卡利濃(Carinena)、40%格那希(Garnacha)
釀造方式:20%於500升法國新橡木桶中培養1年,其餘於舊橡木桶中培養
品飲筆記:這款酒的葡萄來自於普里奧拉北部、海拔300~670尺的葡萄園。照理說,高海拔有利於葡萄緩慢地成熟,而其發展完全的風味與單寧則能夠與高酒精度相平衡。這款酒的確展現了這些特性。酒款帶有油香、土壤味與礦物等香氣,伴以乾燥水果、乾燥草本和些許咖啡香氛。口中則展現了帶有些許勁道的高雅特質,大量的果味、辛香料味和塵土般的單寧質地,以及一抹清新的酸度。(17/20分)

 

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