“My brother Brunello”: 仰望 Biondi Santi

Biondi-Santi 是意大利最富傳奇性的酒庄。最近淺嘗過三瓶Biondi-Santi 以後,我還不能肯定這是否最偉大的 Brunello。但無可質疑的是﹕這是最奇妙與最有人性的酒。我給他起的暱稱是 Monster!

我們先後試過 1982 1999 Riserva 2001 Annata。後兩者像還未足月的孩子,香味、果味都比同年的 Brunello 收斂很多很多,只有 1982 Riserva 有可觀之處,而且是奇觀!

我們選了一個周末細細地把玩 1982 Riserva。我們在中午開瓶,讓酒在原瓶透氣 6 小時,之後半瓶進 Decanter ,另外一半仍留在原瓶。晚上 7 點開始喝,至 10 點左右盡最後一滴。

在剛開瓶時,我也倒了小量進酒杯,以觀察酒的變化。香味與口感都不太顯著,輕輕的,而且二小時後,酒味已跑掉十之八九。我心裏暗叫不妙。

7 點到 8 點半,一邊吃飯一邊比試。但覺在 Decanter 的酒比較單薄,而且慢慢走下坡;在原瓶的酒,則然雄渾有力,絲絲的車厘子甜味、酸味,很誘人。

飯後 9 點繼續喝,發現無論在 Decanter 還是原瓶的酒,酒身同樣變得很濃,有個堅硬無比的軀體。沒有太多複雜性,但很純,感覺是堅硬的一道紅色磚牆,回味頗長。我最深的印象是酒很 macho,完全沒有 Soldera 那細膩,和 Altesino Montosoli 的溫柔。

最奇怪的是,酒在開瓶八、九個小時後來個大變身,好像變了另一瓶酒。

我翻查 Biondi-Santi 的網站,赫然發現酒庄有如下建議﹕“Uncork and unfill the top of the bottle at least 8 hours before tasting.  To pour the wine slope the bottle with an adequate basket.”  開瓶後起碼八小時以後才喝,而且從原瓶倒酒!

再翻查資料,發現我不是第一個被 Biondi-Santi 弄得丈八金剛的。

Robert Parker 評 Biondi-Santi 前後只有三次,而且都是 Annata 版,從沒品試過最有名的 Riserva 版。1986 年他評 78 分,1990 年評 85 分,1993 年則評 85 分。從分數看,這算得上是最差勁的 Brunello 了!1990 年應該是上好的年份,但 Parker  說﹕This is the most famous estate in Tuscany (perhaps Italy), and while this wine's high acidity and tannin will ensure 20 to 40 years of longevity, the wine will never provide much pleasure.”  這等如簽發了死亡證書!

Parker 網站現在的意大利酒評論員 Antonio Galloni 是非常了得的專家。他也只評了四次,最好的是 2001 年的 Riserva ,打了 94 分。他評同年的 Annata 版為 87分,而他的評語實在有趣﹕The medium-red 2001 Brunello di Montalcino Annata is an austere wine that seems to be built for tertiary development rather than for an expression of fruit … Although several hours of air helped, this wine never became particularly expressive over the week I followed it.”

Galloni 的評論公允而且正中要害!Biondi-Santi 的目標是陳香而不是現買現賣的果味。他是一代大儒,而不是流行歌星!

但崇拜 Biondi-Santi 的酒評人卻大有人在。最有名的,是在 1994 年舉行的一場至今仍令人津津樂道的百年紀念品試會。酒庄從 1888 1998 年這一個世紀裏選出 15 個年份的 Riserva 版,讓 16 位酒評人品試,結果意大利酒專家 Nicolas Belfrage 103 高齡的 1891 Riserva 打了個滿分!

1888年是酒庄的第一年佳釀

Wine Spectator 的 James Suckling 更認為 1955 Riserva 是上世紀最好的十二瓶酒之一,與 1900 年的 Chateau Margaux 同級。

1955 年 Riserva

大概沒有一種名酒會令酒評人如此兩極分化的。一方面是美學觀念的不同,但更重要的原因是 Biondi-Santi 的成長曲線幾乎與所有酒都不一樣﹕他是極度慢熱的。就像找月亮一樣,有很多天你根本找不到圓圓的月!

但推崇 Biondi-Santi 的人,是贊賞酒的長壽還是因為酒好喝?這我說不準。就以上面提過的 Nicolas Belfrage 為例,在他自己寫的書 Brunello to Zibibbo 中,他介紹 Biondi-Santi 時是這麼說的﹕

I suppose I would class myself more as an admirer than as an enthusiastic drinker of Franco Biondi-Santi's wines: you've got to take your hat off to a 25+-year-old wine, such as the 1975, the 1964 or the 1955, which come across as positively youthful, bursting with life.  I am not inclined to lay wines down for that length of time …

所以我覺得 Biondi-Santi 是酒中的異數!他們最奇特的是他們對長壽的崇拜。在他們眼中,長壽可能比什麼都重要!

庄主 Franco Biondi-Santi 去年四月接受《佛羅倫斯人》The Florentine 的訪問時,第一條問題是﹕Brunello 是什麼樣的酒,Biondi-Santi Brunello 是一種什麼樣的酒?老先生馬上的回應是﹕他的酒主要特色是長壽longevity)!

在 Biondi-Santi 的網站有一段 Franco Biondi-Santi 很感人的話﹕

And so, decade after decade, I have aged together with my "brother Brunello": the wine constantly improving… me decaying, be it very slowly, but decaying. Anyway God disposes like this for all of us.

所以我認為 Biondi-Santi 是最奇妙與最有人性的酒。

但為什麼Biondi-Santi 那麼長壽?我可能窮一輩子之力還是沒辦法發現箇中原因。

Parker 網站的 Bordeaux 寫手 Neal Martin 2006 年參加了由 Nicolas Belfrage 主持的另一次 Biondi-Santi 品試會,從 1945 1985 的多瓶Riserva 當中,他被 1975 1945 兩個年份所折服。像其他人一樣,他很奇怪 Biondi-Santi 為何那麼長壽。他說﹕

What does lend Biondi Santi its longevity? It is not tannin: they were conspicuous by their absence. I would maintain that it is some undiscovered attribute of the clone discovered by Ferruccio in the 19th century plus the acidity that endears the wines with vim and vigour (although laboratory analysis suggests acidity levels are lower than you expected, the 1975 highest with 7.5 gm/l.)

還是沒有答案。

我問一位意大利愛酒朋友,他的回答很有啟發性。他是這麼說的﹕

The Brunello Biondi Santi is manufactured to withstand a long aging.  In fact, during the vinification, malolactic fermentation is carried out only partially.  In this way, the wine maintains a very high acidity which preserves from oxidation.  I do not agree with this choice.  The wine for age well should have big extract, big alcohol and acidity.  Not only high acidity.  In fact the Brunello Biondi Santi, just because this high acidity is undrinkable when young, but after twenty years or more, when the acidity is balanced by oxidation, can normally be pleasant.

我不懂釀酒技術,但這似乎解釋了 Biondi Santi 的特異之因。縮短 malolactic fermentation 時間可能是他們的絕招。這種做法大大提高了酒的酸度,但壓抑了酒的果味。酒一定長壽,但到成熟時是否好喝,便要看年份好不好。年份好,則果味夠,終于會在幾十年後出現;但如果年份不太好,則酒身可以很厚但不一定有充足的果味。

在結束以前,我想記下這天下第一奇酒曾引來的一些妙論。

意大利歷史上最有影響力的酒評家 Luigi Veronelli 曾說﹕

Biondi Santi is like a magnificent, budding flower that you'll never know just when to pick because it only improves and transforms.  他喝過一瓶 1891 後說﹕I drank it alone, all of it, and enjoyed it much like a great wedding to the very end.

(見 Sergio Esposito “Passion on the Vine”, p. 191

另一位意大利酒評家 Camillo Langone 形容 Biondi Santi “a goblet of nostalgia, both stoic and philosophical” http://www.theflorentine.net/articles/article-view.asp?issuetocId=3103

Neal Martin: 說﹕

Individuality is a rare commodity these days and however outmoded or unfashionable this style is, fashions come and go and few last one-hundred years. You may question the validity in spending a lifetime attempting to create a Brunello that could last a century, but one could also question why the "Water Lilies" had to cover so many canvases, why Rashomon (羅生門)needed to be retold four times or why Trout Mask Replica had to infuse so many musical styles. It is question of your own personal horizons.http://www.erobertparker.com/members/winedata/producers/italy_tuscany_brunello_biondi_santi.asp

在另一地方, Nicolas Belfrage 又寫道﹕

I am not inclined to lay wines down for that length of time, as indeed few are today, but I would defend to the death – well, to the last glass if not the last gasp – the right of those who wish to continue working that diminishing vein in the name of the greatness and diversity of wine.

  (Nicolas Belfrage Brunello to Zibibbo p.120)

我想我永遠不會忘記Franco Biondi-Santi 很有哲理的一番話﹕

Decade after decade, I have aged together with my "brother Brunello": the wine constantly improving… me decaying, be it very slowly, but decaying. Anyway God disposes like this for all of us. 

不禁想起蘇軾的「但願人長久」!

The slowing decaying Franco Biondi-Santi

5 thoughts on ““My brother Brunello”: 仰望 Biondi Santi

  1. 呢支酒真係好難搞 , 玩吓手我釘佢都未釘
    [版主回覆06/18/2009 17:31:00]正如 Franco Biondi-Santi  所言,聽天由命可也!

  2. seems 1982 is too early to be appreciated?
    Last time we had a 1981 riserva (1981 is a weaker vintage than 1982) and we might get the 81 in its prime. It could be the case that many more years are required for the 82 to shows it true colour.
    Great read!
    [版主回覆06/20/2009 15:41:00]That's why I find Luigi Veronelli's observation so illuminating:  Biondi Santi is like a magnificent, budding flower that you'll never know just when to pick because it only improves and transforms. 
     
    I'll find time to try the '81 Riserva, but probably not very soon.  It's such a taxing experience!    

  3. truly inspirational!!
    Now I only need to find an aged Biondi Sandi to drink to experience…!
    [版主回覆07/04/2009 10:58:00]Or you can buy a new vintage and live a long life to enjoy it!  It was such a humbling experience approaching Biondi-Santi.
     
    I wish you luck, and long life!
     

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