A Night in Birdland

Giacosa 與杭州都是我們的至愛,兩者同樣有種不可言說的美。

杭州起碼可以用照相機傳達她迷人風采的萬一,可是 Giacosa 的 2004 Barbaresco Riserva Asili ,卻難倒了多位名酒評人﹕

其中一位說他聞到這種氣味﹕

Aromas of strawberry and candle wax (James Suckling)

另一位卻這麼說﹕

exotic Indian spices (coriander?), marzipan and deep nutty oak(Stephen Tanzer)

我未喝以前看不明白,喝過以後更覺得有幾分滑稽。

我自問嗅覺鈍,筆更拙,所以我自己是這麼寫的﹕

a very sweet nose of a lot of 不知名的 red/dark fruit

這是我晚上十點多剛開瓶馬上下杯所聞到的香氣。最妙的是﹕無比的香氣之下,口感只可以說是輕描淡寫,聞比喝好千百倍!這是很 Bur 的感覺,但對 Barolo 與 Barbaresco ,這還是我頭一次的經驗。

我習慣了把新的 Barbaresco 提早一天晚上便開瓶,我們準備第二天與 K、J 兩位好友在晚上好好品試 Giacosa 的兩瓶 Asili ﹕2004 與 1998。

2004 在原瓶透氣了一個晚上,第二天的早上我才開那瓶 1998。

放了一個晚上之後,2004 的香氣絲毫未減,口感則較昨天厚重,但暫時仍然是聞好過喝。

我早上的筆記是﹕

Unbelievably sweet, perfumed and almost intoxicating nose, all fresh.  Seems someone is cooking a pot of spicy flowers and wild vegetables right in front of you!  Has someone put on some expensive French make-up?  The room is filled with her perfume!

剛開瓶的 1998 是 2004 的纖瘦版本。有人在煮同樣的野花野菜,但廚房離我很遠!

到了傍晚時分,在出門之前我再試了一次。 2004 繼續在發展,口感明顯地加強了,丹寧也開始浮出水面。酒開了差不多一天,總算進入比較「正常」的狀態。此時2004 活像個蹦蹦跳的小女孩,而 1998 比早上開放多了,她的美態則是內斂的,散發出很熟悉的玫瑰花瓣香氣,伴隨著 Asili 特有的 fragrance ,身段輕巧,有種浮游在半空的感覺。口感比 2004 纖細和複雜,而且有種 2004 所沒有的 intensity ,這是個亭亭玉立的少女。

看來 Giacosa 已經準備好了,在整裝待發之際,我再開了一瓶 Renato Ratti 的1982 Dolcetto ,倒了一小杯斷定酒沒有變霉後,我便帶著三瓶酒出發了。

與 K 、J 兩位借酒聊天,不覺間已超過一年了。這是我們很期待的聚會,每次都沒有什麼計劃和主題,只是隨意而為,我們有點像個 jazz quartet 。

Giacosa 的 2004 有如穿了奇裝異服,自然最引人注目。

J  講得最妙,她說她聞到肥皂 …… 開始時我大吃一驚,心裏暗罵﹕此物只應天上有的 Giacosa 竟然被貶為平常百姓的肥皂?後來我再細想﹕出身窮苦家庭的我所經歷的肥皂,跟打扮講究的 J 心裏所想的肥皂,應該是天與地的兩回事吧?果真如此, J 接著說她有塊法國造的香皂,是她多年前買的,奇香無比,她連包裝紙放在衣櫃裏,房間常會傳來陣陣幽香,有時候她會忍不住把香皂取出,打開一層層的包裝紙來嗅個飽,然後小心翼翼的把它包好放回櫃裏。Giacosa 的 2004 馬上讓她想起她那塊不知名的法國香皂!

我終于找到描述 2004 Asili 的絕妙用詞﹕Soap bar in a closet !這比 James Suckling 的 candle wax 和 Stephen Tanzer 的 exotic Indian spices (coriander?) 傳神何止千百倍?

K 的描述又是另一絕,他最 intuitive 也是最傳神的用語幾乎都來自音樂(what a frustrated artist you are, K!)﹕他說他覺得 2004 Asili 有種 resonant 的特質。

妙!2004 Asili 的一浪接一浪的氣與味正好像 Bach 的 counterpoint ,多個聲部交叉並行,編織出色彩斑斕的巨幅!

K 越講越性起,他說他彈奏吉他喜歡用 rubato ,但正如他老師教他的那樣,要 rubato with structure 。人家說亂中有序,他大概是講序中有亂吧?

這是對 Giacosa 最有深度的演繹!

K 與 J 一個理性,一個感性,我一直奉 Giacosa 為 Mozart ,他的名曲 2004 Asili 在他們手裏都有絕佳的演繹!  

聽過他們兩位的高論之後,我還可以說些什麼?

他們倆的注意力是 2004 Asili ,此時 1998 暫時被丟在一旁。我被 2004 Asili 這大浪打了一整天了,此刻我要感受的是 Asili 。我的問題是﹕2004 與 1998 的異與同在那裏?

2004 是一場大爆炸 The Big Bang ,氣與味的大爆炸,力度強勁,像曾經年青的你與我,青春的火焰在燃燒! 1998 則是風雨過後的平靜,細緻、典雅。經過大半天的原瓶透氣, 1998 的體形已經大了很多,不再纖細了,她的形狀是軟綿綿的,就像雲一樣。這時,我突然回想去年我喝過的 Giacosa 那瓶 2000 Asili ,當時我寫道﹕

這時的酒是一種半透明、帶強烈的空氣感(「Hi-fi 發燒友」對此必不會感到陌生)、誇張點說直有騰雲駕霧的感覺,此時酒身有種軟綿綿的彈性,就像一張厚厚的新棉被。

Clouds! Giacosa 的 Asili 帶給我們的是雲的萬千神態!夏天仰望香港的天空,誰不會為雲的千姿百態而動容?2000 是半晴半雨的多雲天,2004 是暴風前如浪涌的雲,1998 則是風雨過後初晴的藍天白雲。

當晚我們還試了另外兩瓶酒。

Domaine des Comtes Lafon 的 1995 Meursalt-Charmes 是我喝過最多 flavors 的 White Burgundy ,但我過去喝過不夠五瓶,所以我沒有資格多說。

這瓶 Renato Ratti 的 1982 Dolcetto 卻令我們大呼過癮!

Dolcetto 是 Piedmont 地區最粗生的葡萄品種,釀出來的酒 fruity 而且酸度夠,是最好的 daily drinking wine 。最近在酒宴踫到 Barbaresco 地區的小酒莊 Pelissero 的莊主,我問他 Dolcetto 可以陳年嗎,他回答我說每年產量那麼大,喝新酒便可。他把我的問題取消了,可見沒有人會想到把 Dolcetto 陳年的,更何況長達差不多 30 年之久!

我們當晚每人先倒了一小杯,嗅一嗅但覺有種鄉間泥土的氣味,入口淡淡的,然後便一頭栽進 Asili 的雲層裏,不多理會這臭小鴨。等過了大概一個小時,我們回頭再去理會這杯 Dolcetto ,卻不約而同的幾乎要掩鼻驚叫,有人說嗅到馬糞,有人說雞糞,又有人說像鴨腎,反正是難聞的臭味。我們唯有換掉這小杯。又過了一個小時,我偷偷又聞了一下,這時氣味卻很乾淨,大概是很輕的花香,味道似乎也比較像樣,不外乎簡單餐酒的微甜微酸。再過了大約半小時,香味突然變得很濃,竟然有一點點類玫瑰花瓣的典型 Nebbiolo 香氣!味道也豐富了一點。臭小鴨沒有變成天鵝,但比起很多新的 daily drinking wine 卻好得太多了。原來 Dolcetto 也可以陳年,而且像其他 fine wine 一樣,也要讓她有足夠時間透氣的!

我把當晚餘下的半瓶帶回家去,第二天氣與味都失去一半,但還沒有變霉變壞,真是大大的奇跡。意大利酒真讓我摸不透!

說起來,這個晚上令我最難忘的,當是這瓶雞糞鴨腎的 Dolcetto 而不是 Giacosa 的 Asili ,所以我後來跟 K、J 說我們那晚的聚會稱得上是 A Night in Birdland!

注﹕

  1. Birdland 是 New York City 很有名的 Jazz Club 的名字,取名是為紀念偉大的 Charlie Parker (渾名 “Bird”)。我們這個 jazz quartet 每次的聚會不也像一場 jazz concert 嗎?至于那瓶 Dolcetto ……
  2. Giacosa 曾對人說 “Asili is the vineyard closest to my heart”。他前幾年說過 2000 年是他最滿意的 Asili ,2004 出來以後他又說 2004 會與 2000 一樣的好。Giacosa 是公認的謙謙君子,不會有半句虛言。我認為 2004 Asili 與 2004 Barolo Riserva Le Rocche del Falletto 同是 Piedmont 的經典中的經典,不可言說的上品,我的評級是﹕無條件的 Strong Buy。

12 thoughts on “A Night in Birdland

  1. 過癮
    [版主回覆12/03/2010 07:30:00]"What were they drinking?"  I seem to hear the guys at the next table whispering.

  2. Very lively writing.
    [版主回覆12/03/2010 07:39:00]Just saw this from someone I admire:
     
    I know from my own work the frustration of describing a wine (" Sultry light colored Nebbiolo is like a perfectly written thin book. You savor each sip or word and never want them to end," is what I tweeted about a wine I tasted recently). Describing the taste of a wine to someone who hasn't tasted it is like trying to describe the feel of silk to a person without fingers. Sure, there's flesh memory to build on, but it's always going to be inaccurate, and language is always going to fail.
     
    That's exactly how I felt when approaching the two 2004 Giacosa red labels.

  3. Haha, I have 1985 Dolcetto of Pio Cesare, Ceretto & Cordero di Montezemolo.
    Curious to know their performance …
    [版主回覆12/03/2010 07:26:00]Good luck!

  4. Wine writing-ah! Does it have the basis for forming part of New Literature?
    [版主回覆12/03/2010 09:59:00]No, the new literature is written with RMB in hand, and cigarette in mouth (scene in one recent wine auction, as reported by SCMP). 

  5. What are they eating? I heard them saying 'Bird pool', 'marinated duck intestine', somewhat mixing with soap and Chanel Number 5?

  6. Found this article and am courious to know if you have tried a Gattinara before?
    http://cellarbook.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/the-man-who-knew-too-much/
    I am thinking of picking up a couple bottles of the 2001 Riserva to try based on the way you treat a Barolo/Barbaresco vs. "pop-and-pour" to see how that stacked up against some Barolos.  
     
    [版主回覆12/04/2010 18:13:00]Would be interested to know how you find it.  I've tried several Nebbiolo based wines from other parts of Piedmonte, but not Gattinara yet.  Interesting cousins of Barolo and Barbaresco they are, and they inhabit a completely different world.  Anxious to know your findings!

  7. 我都一样以為Dolcetto不能陳年,very interesting…師兄文筆越來越好,看完有種親身經歷一樣,還好我都有支Asili 2000 和 Comte Lafon Meursault Charmes 1999還未開
    [版主回覆12/04/2010 17:17:00]我半年前也喝過一瓶 Vietti 1982 及一瓶 Gaja 1985 的 Dolcetto ; Vietti 已完全沒有果味,而 Gaja 則比較像一般的 Dolcetto ,簡單可口。只有這瓶 1982 Ratti 有點 Barolo 的功架,所以令我驚訝萬分。但 Dolcetto 還是簡單可口的最好,不用正襟危坐,也不用原瓶透氣一兩天,正如她的名字一樣﹕小甜甜!
     
    酒喝得越多,越是沒法用文字表達,所以我很喜歡朋友 K 的音樂比喻。謝謝您欣賞!
     
    2004 Asili 很值得拿來試試, Altaya 的價錢蠻合理的。

  8. 对,如果以這次的表現,價錢相當合理,聯絡下佢有幾多discount先..但家里的意大利酒都多到滿了,哈

  9. 心兄, I cracked open a bottle of 2005 Produttori Barbaresco Asili Riserva after reading this post. This is the 3rd night I am tasting it and it has just hitting its stride!   Obviously, I have not tasted Giacosa's Asili so I have no way comparing both. However,  the Produttori has gone thru similar change as you described for the 1st couple days.  At first, the nose was much more attractive than the palate. Yesterday, the palate was still a bit harsh and green while the nose has evolved into attractive floral and earthy aromas. This evening, it improves noticeably. Beneath the rustic facade, lies a youthful sweet fruit core with complexity and crisp fresh fruit. Not sure if I want to finish the bottle tonight and let the remaining 1/4 sit until tomorrow…
    [版主回覆12/06/2010 13:52:00]Yes, Produttori is outright amazing, for 1/5th of the price of a Giacosa red label.
     
    So glad to hear this.  The very tightly wound, inner core of sweetness is a hallmark of Nebbiolo that is elusive to all but the most patient admirers like you and me.  Barolos and Barbarescos are probably the least drinker friendly wines, but once it has struck you, you are captive for the rest of your life!!!
     
    I shared a bottle of a 2005 Gaja Barbaresco with a Shanghai friend.  I asked him to take the left-over in the bottle home and tell me what he found the next night.  He said there's such deep and intense sweetness as he had never experienced before.  Another poor guy who had just been "Neb struck".  

  10. re-reading this morning before I started. Still vivid. Words do alienate; they did for this event capture some of thoughts and mood.
    [版主回覆12/08/2010 16:35:00]You are right in that no words can ever do justice to a great wine experience.  To borrow the Buddhists, words are 假借 only (expedient means?).  The great Sheldon Wasserman always praises a great wine as a wine for meditation, aka Zen experience?  And every great jazz piece is an exercise in meditation.  Play it again, Kevin.  

  11. To me a nice Barolo/Barberesco is like a lady wearing expensive perfume walking by with the scent of a woman which is so elusive yet intoxicatingly attractive that makes you turn your head to look for this inconsiderate lady (though maybe an attractive one) wearing that damn mesmorising perfume at a wine tasting event!!
    Lovely experience, esp with Coltrane on the background and nice friends!!
     
    [版主回覆12/12/2010 14:31:00]That's a nice one, and I'll keep looking for that elusive perfume and let you know when I find another one …  brings to mind the femme fatale of Velvet Underground and Nico …   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8IV6lJSm1c

  12. 心兄,
    I just had a similar experience with a bottle of 1985 Batolo Mascarello Dolcetto last night. It was at a Mascarello vertical tasting (I ended up deciding to attend this event AND the La Festa del Barolo). Before I talk about that Dolcetto, it was a nice tasting. Unfortunately, the 1982 was corked badly and the 1989 was slightly corked. What a shame…Otherwise, I had a wonderful experience.
    The 1985 Dolcetto was served blind as a ringer. There are roughly 20 of us and none of us guessed it right. I was gussing a traditionally made Nebbiolo, with fresh red fruit, menthol, clean nose and taste and great depth. I thought it was a late 90's Langhe Nebbiolo, while others were saying 2000's. It was a shocker when the host revealed the true identity of this. The downside is this wine is much harder to find than any other older Barolo / Barbaresco…
    Just thought I'd share this with you.
    [版主回覆03/08/2013 07:59:08]Haha, another night in Birdland! Old Dolcetto, old Rosso di Montalcino … let's go hunting! Thanks for sharing the experience.

發佈留言

發佈留言必須填寫的電子郵件地址不會公開。 必填欄位標示為 *

Blue Captcha Image Refresh

*