瓶中歲月 / 波爾多

Bordeaux

奇蹟總出現在奇妙的地方 ~ Willie Nelson 昨夜之酒 ~

每次喝葡萄酒,我們其實見證了那款酒一生中的特定階段。這些品酒經驗多半都挺有意思,卻少有令人顛倒著迷的。但若運氣好,一個奇遇擄獲你,讓你頓然失魂。

對我來說,那種奇遇,是難得碰上年份老的好酒。這些上等老酒表面孱弱,卻渾然瀰漫夢境般的韻味。嗜酒人若曾碰上如此機緣,通常會不自覺的往那夢境一路追去⋯ 但站在酒窖前,我們怎麼知道哪一瓶酒已充分成熟、已然練就那奪魂的魅力?它會是一瓶上好的勃艮第、雷司令,還是列級波爾多?

現今,絕大多數的葡萄酒都是為即時享用而釀造,在飲用前參考酒評,通常能幫助領會某款葡萄酒的特質。但面對一瓶能持續變化20多年的上等葡萄酒,如果用期酒上市所作的酒評去推敲那酒的精髓,就好比要你憑著一張孩童照片,空猜想他成年後的個性。

PL btl_cellar如同人生事,想對這些深不可測的老酒有所領略,最好的方式之一,是和其他愛酒人切磋。於是,我開始編輯對比他人的酒評,希望能藉此探究陳年酒的生命演歷。我選了一款深受歡迎的左岸波爾多 – 碧尚女爵酒庄(Château Pichon Lalande),年份是絕佳的1996。 含蓄、优雅,被公認為在波亞克葡萄酒中最具女人味的碧尚女爵,跟其他渾厚感強的酒庄風格相比,或許,會允可我們提早一窺她的一生轉折和成熟風韻?

在葡萄酒社區網站cellartracker.com上,我讀遍了2004到2014年間所有對’96年碧尚女爵所記的224則酒評(該網站成立於’04),以及酒評家在’04年前寫的品酒筆記。我在每年同期中挑出具有代表性的酒評,希望能藉此捕捉’96女爵從第1年到第18年的風采。以下是我歸納出的摘要,以及眾人酒評。

描述味覺並不容易。就像休.強生所說,波爾多嚐起來像波爾多,而不像黑醋栗和雪松。但在對特定葡萄酒的味覺記憶尚未成形前,酒評只是線索。以下酒評大多經過2-6小時的醒酒–喝酒過程,而非只是快速品酒,因此觀察也較透徹。

我所學到的1996碧尚女爵:

生於1996年:
1996年有著波爾多左岸經典的完美氣候。炎熱,陽光充足和乾燥的環境給了赤霞珠充分成熟的條件。碧尚女爵通常含有35-50%的梅洛,但為了炫耀當年出色的赤霞珠果實,1996年混合了75%赤霞珠,15%梅洛,5%品麗珠和5%小維鐸。

1到6歲:
凜然,稹密,有著深沈的藍莓/黑莓/黑醋栗味,並融合雪松、烤橡木、香草的味道,單寧高略有澀感,但整體口感有種均衡的優雅。

713歲:
原本主導的水果香味此時稍有讓步,讓耐人尋味的煙草、咖啡、皮革、雪松浮現⋯體態仍飽滿,但比前階段更具層次。單寧不再強勢,質感較滑順。許多細節在此顯露,讓口感有前、中、後味的體會。

1418歲:
有種終究成熟、蓮花出水的韻味。香味豐腴外放。以往飽滿的深色果實味道,完全揉合成一抹紅色果實、微妙的煙、松露、雨後森林。優雅而飄逸,還隱約帶股青春意味​​,暗示’96女爵的長壽潛力。

觀其長成:

1-year-old (tasted in 1997)
The wine reveals a spectacular thick, black/purple color, an unctuous texture, rather remarkable in view of how much Cabernet Sauvignon is in the blend. The Cabernet was extraordinarily ripe, with unequaled levels of sugar. The nose soars from the glass, offering up spicy vanillin, and lavish quantities of jammy blackcurrant fruit, licorice, and Asian spices. Unctuously-textured, with layers of fruit, this is one of the most spectacular young wines I have tasted. /erobertparker.com

2-year-old (tasted in 1998)
The 1996 Pichon-Lalande exhibits extraordinary sur-maturite due to the exceptional ripeness the Medoc’s Cabernet Sauvignon achieved in this vintage. The wine has tightened up since my tasting in the spring, but it remains an opaque purple-colored example with a smoky, blueberry, blackberry, and cassis-scented nose that is to die for. Medium to full-bodied, with huge extract as well as extraordinary elegance, and a perfect marriage between new oak, fruit, and tannin, this is one of the more structured and tannic Pichon-Lalandes I have ever tasted, yet the wine’s triumph is a result of its sweetness of tannin. /erobertparker.com

3-year-old (tasted in 1999)
The nose suggests sweet, nearly overripe Cabernet Sauvignon, with its blueberry/blackberry/cassis scents intermixed with high quality, subtle, toasty new oak. Deep and full-bodied, with fabulous concentration and a sweet, opulent texture, this wine was singing in full harmony when I tasted it in January. Given the wine’s abnormally high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, I would suspect it will close down. It possesses plenty of tannin, but the wine’s overwhelming fruit richness dominates its personality. /erobertparker.com

6-year-old (tasted in 2002)
Very sexy aromas of currant, blackberry and brown sugar, all lifted by an ineffable floral quality from the thoroughly ripe cabernet sauvignon that comprises three-quarters of the blend. Dense, fresh and thick with extract; a wonderful combination of texture and guts. Has a core of steel and a powerful structure I haven’t found in more recent vintages from this chateau. Finishes with terrific length and grip. /Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar. /cellartracker.com

7-year-old (tasted in 2003)
Right out of the bottle this was singing with gorgeous notes of tobacco and earth. Two hours later this has changed quite a bit and was floral, quite literally singing, with espresso and licorice. On the palate this is initially massive, black and brooding, but with time sweet and pure cassis comes to the front. Wow this wine is layered and voluptuous, truly silky, but still wonderfully earthy. The finish is huge and gorgeous, still incredibly primary with dusty tannins. /cellartracker.com

8-year-old (tasted in 2004)
Thick and rich deep plum in the glass. A nose of earth, and dark fruits. On the palate I was struck by the balance and finesse. Still predominated by the rich fruit, the fine tannins were melted into the background. Over a period of 3 hours the nose opened a little more revealing sweet dark berries, subtle earth notes and the finish is lingering with a mild spice component…just perfect. /cellartracker.com

9-year-old (tasted in 2005)
Fairly subdued nose on opening.. Decanted for 6 hours and it emerged singing. Absolutely glorious bordeaux and completely delicious now with the right amount of airing. /cellartracker.com

10-year-old (tasted in 2006)
Decanted 2.5hrs. Very dark color, no signs of fading color. Ripe dark fruits on both the nose and palate with a very smooth finish. Notes of cedar, graphite, and tobacco as well. Tannins seem to just melt away. Fantastic. /cellartracker.com

11-year-old (tasted in 2007)
Double decanted and served blind with 2 other 1996s. Classic Old world nose of cedar, lead pencil, currants, spice and oak. Bill immediatedly guessed 1996 Lafite even though the wines were served double blind to him. The palate had a perfect weight to it, and was extremely sexy and had an awesome texture that was very expressive without being overdone in any way. Open from the get go, it just continued to improve after a couple of hours. Consensus #1 of the night against Shafer   HSS and Pontet Canet all from 1996. /cellartracker.com

12-year-old (tasted in 2008)
great earth tones strike right off the bat with polished tones of cassis, cranberries, red and black cherries, cedar, and bits of spice box tones flow well across the palate with a deft medium touch. A lot of class and polish on the palate with still very good tannins that are just starting to ever so slightly shed. Still very much in a primary stage as there is a youthful quality to this wine. Overall: classy, beautiful, and elegant. Very round on the palate, this still needs some time to fully come together to reveal the inner beauty that this wine definitely has. /cellartracker.com

13-year-old (tasted in 2009)
Nose lovely, fine, complex, floral and cedar notes. Palate powerful, direct and youthful, silky smooth with wonderful balance and linearity. Only just starting to mature. Excellent concentration, complexity and balance, with delicious freshness on the long finish. /cellartracker.com

14-year-old (tasted in 2010)
Tasted blind as a first growth candidate, this indeed made the grade. The best Pichon Lalande since the 1982 (IMHO), it was the most fragrant wine of the flight. Its aromatics had smoke, cedar box, bell pepper and it had pronounced mineral, leather, and red fruit flavors with some spice, pepper, dark currant, and tobacco notes. It had earth, slate and plum flavors at the back of the palate with well balanced tannins– a nice food wine. ”Ethereal,” proclaimed a taster. It was the second favorite of the flight, and was readily identified as the Pauillac. First growth quality in a first growth year. /cellartracker.com

15-year-old (tasted in 2011)
Outstanding. Still young, but I believe this wine has finally turned the corner. I had this same wine exactly one year ago, and the tannin has since softened enough to yield to the core of wonderful fresh fruit. No signs of developing any tertiary aromas and flavors yet. Still full of pure Cabernet typicity. Delicious. /cellartracker.com

16-year-old (tasted in 2012)
Initially quite closed, really needed about 4hrs to open up. Great nose of mocha, touch of leafy herbs, tobacco, cassis, and currants. Palate was still quite tannic, but fine and very polished, with a great core of currants but overwise rather primary. Still young. Tannins in the forefront, with prominent acidity. Elegant, balanced with great nuance. Finish shows flint and cedar spice. As good as it is, it probably won’t peak for another at least 10yrs. /cellartracker.com

17-year-old (tasted in 2013)
Beautiful mature Pauillac nose of grilled nuts, black fruits and graphite minerals. Classy, regal with an elegant silky texture but made in a vin de garde style with firm acidity and tannic spine. There is gorgeous fruit flavors underneath with notes of black currants, cassis and graphite minerals. Still young and fairly primary but finally beginning to drink well and I think this is poised for a lengthy and fantastic evolution in bottle. /cellartracker.com

18-year-old (tasted in 2014)
3 hours later and the was drinking beautifully. Classic PLL – leather , cigar box, earth , graphite with equal amount of fruit. Tannins smooth after long decant. /cellartracker.com

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