—In the Way of Seeking Wines
It had taken me some time to get used to having a separate purpose-built room devoted exclusively to wine—not a glorified cupboard or a 1)cramped cavity under the stairs, but a genuine cave. It was buried in the bottom of the house, with permanently cool stone walls and a floor of gravel, and there was space for three or four hundred bottles. I loved it. I was determined to fill it up. Our friends were equally determined to empty it. This gave me the excuse to make regular visits—2)errands of social mercy—to the vineyards so that guests should never go thirsty.
In the interests of research and hospitality, I went to 3)Gigondas and 4)Beaumes-de-Venise and 5)Chateauneuf-du-Pape, none of them bigger than a large village, all of them single-minded in their dedication to the grape. Everywhere I looked, there were signs advertising the caves that seemed to be at fifty-yard intervals. 6)Dégustez nos vins! Never has an invitation been accepted with more enthusiasm.
It was early afternoon when I turned off the main road leading out of 7)Vacqueyras and followed the narrow, stony track through the vines. I had been told that it would lead me to the maker of the wine I had liked at lunchtime, a white 8)C’tes-du-Rhone. A case or two would fill the 9)void in the cave that had been made by the last raiding party we had entertained. A quick stop, no more than ten minutes, and then I would get back home.
The track led to a 10)sprawl of buildings, arranged in a square “U” around a courtyard of beaten earth, shaded by a giant plane tree and guarded by a 11)drowsy 12)Alsatian who welcomed me with a halfhearted bark, doing his duty as a substitute for a doorbell.
The curtain of wooden beads hanging across the front door parted, and Uncle Edward came blinking into the sunshine. He was wearing a sleeveless vest, cotton 13)bleu de travail trousers, and carpet slippers. His 14)girth was impressive, comparable with the trunk of the plane tree, but even that was overshadowed by his nose. I had never seen a nose quite like it—wide, fleshy, and seasoned to a color somewhere between rosé and 15)claret, with fine purple lines spreading out across his cheeks. Here was a man who clearly enjoyed every mouthful of his work.
He beamed, the lines on his cheeks looking like purple whiskers. “16)Bon. 17)Une petite dégustation.” He led me across the courtyard and slid back the double doors of a long, windowless building, telling me to stay just inside the door while he went to switch on the light. After the glare outside, I could see nothing, but there was a reassuring smell, musty and unmistakable, the air itself tasting of fermented grapes.
Uncle Edward was polishing glasses, holding each one up to the light before placing it on the table. He made a neat line of seven glasses, and began to arrange a variety of bottles behind them. Each bottle was accorded a few admiring comments: “The white, 18)monsieur knows, yes? A very agreeable young wine. The rosé, not at all like those thin rosés one finds on the 19)C’te d’Azur. Thirteen degrees of alcohol, a proper wine. There’s a light red—one could drink a bottle of that before a game of tennis. That one, 20)par contre, is for the winter, and he will keep for ten years or more. And then …”
I tried to stop him. I told him that all I wanted were two cases of the white, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Monsieur had taken the trouble to come personally, and it would be unthinkable not to taste a selection. Why, said Uncle Edward, he himself would join me in a progress through the vintages. He clapped a heavy hand on my shoulder and sat me down.
It was fascinating. He told me the precise part of the vineyard that each of the wines had come from, and why certain slopes produced lighter or heavier wines. Each wine we tasted was accompanied by an imaginary menu, described with much lip smacking and raising of the eyes to 21)gastronomic heaven. We mentally consumed 22)écrevisses, salmon cooked with 23)sorrel, rosemary-flavored chicken from 24)Bresse, roasted baby lamb with a creamy garlic sauce, an 25)estouffade of beef and olives, a 26)daube, loin of pork spiked with slivers of truffle. The wines tasted progressively better and became progressively more expensive; I was being traded up by an expert, and there was nothing to be done except sit back and enjoy it.
“There is one more you should try,” said Uncle Edward, “although it is not to everybody’s taste.” He picked up a bottle and poured a careful half glass. It was deep red, almost black. “A wine of great character,” he said. “Wait. It needs 27)une bonne bouche.” He left me surrounded by glasses and bottles, feeling the first 28)twinges of an afternoon hangover.
“29)Voilà.” He put a plate in front of me—two small round goat’s cheeses, speckled with herbs and shiny with oil—and gave me a knife with a worn wooden handle. He watched as I cut off a piece of cheese and ate it. It was ferociously strong. My palate, or what was left of it, had been perfectly primed and the wine tasted like 30)nectar.
Uncle Edward helped me load the cases into the car. Had I really ordered all this? I must have. We had been sitting in the 31)convivial 32)murk for nearly two hours, and one can make all kinds of expansive decisions in two hours. I left with a 33)throbbing head and an invitation to come back next month for the 34)vendange.
Stage Two 进阶篇：葡萄酒的基本礼仪
Wine Tasting Techniques 葡萄酒品酒三部曲
1、Sight: Appearance (Clarity, Brightness, Color, etc). 视觉：分析外观（澄清度、亮度、颜色等）。
2、Smell: Nose (Intensity and Aromas) 嗅觉：分析气味（香气及浓郁程度）。
3、Taste: Palate (Balance, Flavors and length) 味觉：分析口感（平衡、口味及余味）。
Some Useful Words in Tasting 有用的葡萄酒描述语
1、Aromas: Flowers, Fruits, Vegetal, Spices, Animal, Toast, Mineral, Pastries…
2、Tannins: have a drying effect on the gums and the tongue.
3、Body: is the impression of a wine’s weight in the mouth—light or full-bodied.
4、Alcohol: warming sensation in the back of your mouth
5、Finish or length: the period of time the wine’s flavor lingers on your palate.
6、Texture: Creamy, Silky, Velvety…
7、Faults: Corkiness, Sulphur dioxide, Acetic, Oxidation…
Basic Food and Wine Pairing 食物与葡萄酒的搭配
The success of food and wine matching is achieved when the feeling generated by their combination reach a perfect balance.
The white wines are served before the red wines; the young wines before the aged wines; the dry wines before the sweet wines.
Red meat demands a red wine, while white meat suits a white wine.
Sweet, umami and spicy taste in food will exaggerate the tannins and bitterness of a wine. Salt and sour additions to the food will counteract this effect on the wine.