The Heroic Monfortino: Giacomo Conterno

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品酒如讀書,好的酒像小說裏的人物,各有其性格。

Wine producer 就如小說家,他的個性往往投射到小說主人翁身上,所以常常酒如其人。Bruno Giacosa 的謙謙君子,Bartolo Mascarello 的智慧火花, Angelo Gaja 的雄姿英發,都一一在他們的酒表現出來。

Monfortino 是最 macho Barolo ,作者便是這位不苟言笑的 Giovanni Conterno

圖片來源﹕http://www.cephas.com

Nicolas Belfrage 曾經這樣形容他﹕

An intense, serious man, one has the impression that he is so absorbed by his wines that he doesn’t quite notice what’s going on in the world around.  I had been to his winery on various occasions over a fifteen-year period and he never until very recently gave any indication of having seen me somewhere before, not even when I assured him that he had.

我第一次與 Monfortino 相遇之前沒有看過以上的描述,也沒有見過 Giovanni Conterno 的尊容,所以我是頗為驚訝的。那是四年多以前,在離開威尼斯的前夕,我們在一家餐廳點了一瓶 1997,即開即喝,我們懷著朝聖的心情與祂相處了一個晚上。嚴厲的 Giovanni 幾乎一言不發,可以說香氣與味道都欠奉。

以後幾次叩見 Monfortino ,心裏都是戰戰兢兢的﹕皇上會讓我們一睹聖顏嗎?

 

三年前我們試 1995,我的筆記是:

suggests its power, but is it sleeping or just starting to wake up?

我們去年三顧草廬,1990 終于在原瓶透氣十個小時再換瓶之後顯露祂的功架﹕一個陰沉沉的冬日,太陽終于撥開雲霧出來了,但見光芒閃耀,我們差點連眼睛也睜不開來。我的筆記是﹕

The wine miraculously gained weight, somewhat like the Biondi-Santi Riserva, but here the fruit comes out on top, and the powerful tannins give it a slightly bitter finish.  More power than finesse at this stage, with unfathomable depth and complexity.  The wine is still very young!  A wonder of a wine!

我習慣了覲見 Monfortino 要很大耐性,所以後來我學懂了利用周末一整天的時間去伺候他。從早上開瓶,每個小時試試他的變化,我發現這是最大的樂趣。 Monfortino 就如長篇小說,不準備花這功夫就千萬不要打開他。

上個月我終于夠膽量開一瓶 1985

15分鐘後,我這樣記述﹕

A dark nose, a little dirty, a bed of flowers of a decaying or dried kind; then turns floral, more feathery and ethereal.  Taste of a little dark and unformed fruit, that turns lighter in body, more floral like.

半個小時後﹕

There is that stern old gentleman (Giovanni) staring at you; a very thick dark nose that quickly melts into the air.  Now you have a more normal nose of the “roses and tar” thing.  The taste is a bit tense, like a first meeting with a stranger, a reserved fruit, tending to the dark side.

一個小時後﹕

Both fruit and acidity begin to come out, especially acidity.

兩個小時後﹕

Lovely nose of bushy, thick layers of rose/floral notes.  Taste is now packed with a thick inner core of dark fruit and tannins, some acidity but not overt.  Now it is a tightly packed wine with noticeable tannins coating upper palate.  Interesting.  Not lovely but stern and demanding.

從第四個小時開始,比較「正常」的 Serralunga 區的 Barolo 開始出現﹕玫瑰花瓣的香氣,甜得「入心入肺」的密密實實的成熟果味,很實在但與果味融合得很好的丹寧。這三者從隱到顯,從離到合,維持了超過十個小時,直到我們喝完整瓶酒他仍然在最高狀態。

我的結論是﹕二十五歲的 Monfortino 才剛開始成熟,二十歲的很勉強,二十歲以下的一般不能踫!

九十年前, Giovanni 的父親 Giacomo 釀造出第一瓶 Monfortino 時(1920),他的目標正是在上好的年份用特長發酵期造出能長期陳年的 Barolo Giovanni Giacomo 的大兒子,從 1961 年與弟弟 Aldo 接手管理酒莊,一直秉承父親的傳統作風,與 Bartolo Mascarello 二人成為傳統派的「雙天至尊」。但 Aldo 卻另有自己的想法,年後離家成立自己的酒莊,他們分手時把還在釀造的酒也平分了。( Aldo Conterno 的介紹,見另一網誌﹕Barolo 的儒者﹕Aldo Conterno 

Monfortino 究竟有何獨特的地方? Nicolas Belfrage 有很好的介紹﹕

Monfortino will get a good five weeks of maceration on the skins with no attempt to keep down the temperature, which can climb in the early stages to the high 30s with consequent risk of a blocked fermentation (it happened once; they had to throw the whole lot away).  On the other hand, the wine displays a complexity of aroma and a breadth and depth of flavor only possible in a wine which has teetered on the very brink of existence and, triumphantly, survived.

簡而言之,Monfortino is the most Heroic Barolo, and probably the most Heroic Wine!

Monfortino 1971,就如貝多芬交響曲的終樂章,所有出現過的主題都重新出現,把樂曲帶到高潮。這瓶酒剛開瓶已經精彩。我的筆記這樣總結﹕

Excellent, mature, a near perfect wine at peak form, but with enough acidity to carry it further.  Intoxicating sweetness of fruit which is at the same time fresh and vibrant.

我太太毫不含糊的說﹕我愛 Monfortino !對我來說,這不一定是好消息。

Monfortino Giacomo Conterno Riserva 酒,按產區規定起碼要陳年五年才可以推出,但 Monfortino 的習慣是七年以上,有時候更長達十年!我仍在等候 2002年的 Monfortino

Giacomo Conterno 還有一瓶基本 Barolo 名叫 Cascina Francia ,是他們 1974 年購入的獨家葡萄園的名字;最好的葡萄在最好的年份用來釀造 Monfortino ,其餘用作 Cascina Francia

我們最近喝過 1985 與 1990,與 Monfortino 相比,這兩位是嬌滴滴的小姐。

Cascina Francia 一般用三、四個星期在溫度控制下浸皮發酵,然後經過四年的陳年後推出。Cascina Francia 的好處是較早可以喝,而且相對較便宜。

Cascina Francia 是上好的 Barolo ,但貝多芬的身旁那裏還會有英雄?

 

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