“雜類”葡萄酒的獨特魅力The Unique Charms Of 'Miscellaneous Wines'
F. Martin Ramin for The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas
從 左至右依次為﹕奧斯特塔格莊園希爾瓦娜老籐幹白﹔2010年Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux酒莊春寧葡萄酒﹔2010年Bruno Lupin Cuvee du Pepe薩瓦弗朗日胡賽特葡萄酒﹔2010年Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli白羽葡萄酒﹔2011年Terre Bianche Riviera Ligure di Ponente皮加托葡萄酒。
多數酒單都根據熱門產區或是葡萄的品種對葡萄酒加以分類﹐但是酒單的末尾常常還會再加上一類酒：它囊括了不易被歸為其中某一類的葡萄酒﹐常被稱作“雜類葡萄酒”(Miscellaneous Wines)（有些人也許會說這一名稱有些不大體面。）Most wine lists are organized according to popular regions or grapes, although an additional category is often tacked on at the end. This is where wines that won't easily fit in one place or another are assigned -- a category that's invariably and, some might say, ignominiously entitled 'Miscellaneous Wines.'
紅 葡萄酒和白葡萄酒都按照這種方式分類﹐其中白葡萄酒的分類可能還會把一些不相干的酒歸在一起﹐比如紐約白羽葡萄酒(Rkatsiteli)、利古利亞 (Liguria)的皮加托葡萄酒(Pigato)、西西里島格里洛葡萄酒(Grillo)以及法國薩瓦地區(Savoy)的一兩種雅貴葡萄酒 (Jacquere)。為什麼這些葡萄酒會被歸入一處呢？最有可能的解釋是篇幅有限──大多數餐館都不希望酒單過長﹐這常常也是考慮到了食客的想法：很少 有人會有足夠耐心來翻看一頁又一頁他們從未聽聞其名的葡萄釀制的酒或是他們不大可能遊歷的葡萄酒產區出產的酒。
發現“雜類”這個詞打動不 了顧客之後﹐一些酒水總監可能還會編造一個更討巧的名稱﹐其中“有趣味的葡萄酒”就是我經常看到的一個稱號﹐雖然波士頓No. 9 Park餐廳的酒水總監、獲得2012年度詹姆斯•比爾德葡萄酒獎項(James Beard wine program award)的凱特•西麗利耶(Cat Silirie)指出﹐這個特別的稱呼似乎暗示（除了這個名稱之外）其他所有方面都相當無趣。西麗利耶認為﹐這種分類降低了瓊瑤漿(Traminer)、 麝香葡萄(Muscat)和格德約(Godello)等葡萄酒的身價。（她本人按照產區和葡萄品種這兩種方式來設計酒單。）
我 不太確定被歸為“雜類”是否真的會拉低酒的身價﹐特別是自從我常常在這類酒中發現我想嘗試的酒之後就更不確定了。其中一個原因是價格問題﹐沒名氣沒品牌的 葡萄酒幾乎總是比名氣大、受推崇的葡萄酒便宜。如果你都不知道這種酒是什麼﹐你就不大可能花高價買它。（這當然也有例外﹐比如瓦倫蒂尼 (Valentini)出品的阿布魯佐棠比內洛白葡萄酒(Trebbiano from Abruzzo)雖不知名﹐但其價格幾乎可比勃艮第(Burgundy)一流莊園葡萄酒的價格。）
雜類葡萄酒可能是那種侍酒師非常喜歡、 感覺自己與其有特殊關聯的葡萄酒﹐特別是那些本身不大有賣點的酒。雜類葡萄酒一般也容易配餐﹐原因同上。（侍酒師極少喜歡不好配餐的葡萄酒。）儘管如此﹐ 總的說來﹐雜類葡萄酒似乎並沒有獲得廣泛關注或是大眾喜愛。這也正是我為什麼在本月早些時候開啟了一個適宜夏天的、全部都為“雜類”白葡萄酒的品酒之旅的 原因。
在 這兩個國家﹐知名的葡萄品種常常和無甚名氣的葡萄在一起培植。例如﹐在意大利的皮埃蒙特產區(Piedmont)﹐大家熟知的白葡萄品種有莫斯卡托 (Moscato)和嘉維(Gavi)﹐名氣小些的則有厄柏路絲(Erbaluce)和阿內斯(Arneis)等。法國東南部的薩瓦產區也是如此﹐雅貴和 白蒙得斯(Mondeuse Blanche)等白葡萄與更受歡迎、世界知名的灰皮諾葡萄(Pinot Gris)也是同生同長。
意大利 出產一大批世界級“雜類”白葡萄酒──實際上﹐意大利出產的不知名的白葡萄酒可以填滿一整張酒單。從北至南﹐整個意大利密集地種植著各類白葡萄﹐比如佩科 里諾(Pecorino)、阿斯品諾(Asprinio)、菲安諾(Fiano)、皮加托、卡塔拉托(Catarratto)和格里洛葡萄──這裡所列的 僅是其中的一小部分而已。得益於對本土出產的葡萄酒的興趣近來有所復蘇﹐這些葡萄成為了意大利如今最有趣味的一些葡萄酒的原料。
利古利亞 的皮加托葡萄素來是我的最愛之一。最近它被稱作是維蒙蒂諾(Vermentino)──一種更有名氣的葡萄品種──的遠親。布魯納(Bruna)或 Terre Bianche等此類頂尖釀酒商釀制的優質皮加托的口味尤為細膩﹐含有杏仁和柑橘的芳香。此外﹐優質皮加托變陳後的品質也會特別好。再往南去﹐西西里島和 坎帕尼亞(Campania)也出產大量優質的“雜類”葡萄﹐比如說口味勁爽的格里洛和具有獨特的榛子香味的菲安諾。
在法國東部﹐地處阿 爾卑斯山區的薩瓦出產的葡萄酒在近幾年開始備受歡迎﹐它們或許很快就會檔次上升跳出“雜類”的分類。薩瓦出產的葡萄酒的特色是酸度清冽適中﹐既有口感輕 盈、散發礦物香的氣味芬芳的葡萄酒（以雅貴葡萄釀成的白葡萄酒）﹐也有口感更為厚重、酒體也更加濃鬱的葡萄酒（以胡賽特(Roussette﹐亦稱阿爾迪 斯(Altesse))釀成的白葡萄酒）﹐用於配餐也非常不錯。此外﹐它們的價格也往往非常實惠﹐一些頂尖的薩瓦葡萄酒的價格比勃艮第村莊級酒的價格要便 宜﹐一瓶通常還不到20美元。薩瓦產區還沒有出現什麼大牌葡萄酒﹐現今當地最有名的釀酒商要數Pierre Boniface﹐其雅佩蒙葡萄酒(Apremont)很容易找到﹐口味也非常簡單。該地的一些釀酒商﹐比如Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux和Domaine Lupin還釀制一些口感更為複雜的葡萄酒。
當然﹐法國另外還有許多不知名的白葡萄酒。例 如﹐朗格多克(Languedoc)和羅訥地區(Rhone)出產的匹格普勒葡萄(Picpoul)便是一些口味清新簡單的白葡萄酒的原料。在阿爾薩斯地 區(Alsace)﹐莎斯拉(Chasselas)和希爾瓦娜(Sylvaner)等葡萄就種在像雷司令(Riesling)和瓊瑤漿 (Gewurztraminer)這樣的知名葡萄品種附近。莎斯拉和希爾瓦娜雖算不上特別珍貴﹐但是出自像安德烈•奧斯特塔格(Andre Ostertag)這樣的釀酒商之手的希爾瓦娜葡萄酒實際上能夠達到一種罕見的優良品質。奧斯特塔格出品的希爾瓦娜葡萄酒放在不鏽鋼桶內發酵釀制﹐具有一 種綿長的礦物香後味。其售價為22美元一瓶﹐比阿爾薩斯由知名葡萄品種釀制的葡萄酒的價格要便宜許多。
西班牙和葡萄牙也是高價值不知名葡 萄酒的產地。以西班牙加利西亞(Galicia)的佩內德斯(Penedes)和戈德拉(Godella)出產的沙雷洛葡萄(Xarel-lo)釀制的白 葡萄酒味美誘人﹐有時候可在品種豐富的酒單的雜類葡萄酒項中發現其蹤跡。葡萄牙杜羅河谷(Douro Valley)出產的高酸度白葡萄酒拉比加多(Rabigato)亦是如此。
美國是一個出產雜類葡萄酒並不多的國家（考慮到酒單上列出 “雜類”這一做法是由美國人普及開來的﹐這聽上去有些諷刺）。當然這也有例外﹐我最喜歡的兩種雜類白葡萄酒均產自紐約：其中一種是Channing Daughters出產的弗留利托凱幹白(Tocai Friulano)﹐它以弗留利葡萄釀制而成﹐口味清冽﹔另一種由Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars以在芬格湖地區(Finger Lakes)種植的俄羅斯白羽葡萄釀制﹐具有礦物香味。
我 在Paumanok Winery的老板查爾斯•馬蘇德(Charles Massoud)（長島(Long Island)唯一的白詩南(Chenin blanc)便是出自其手）的陪同下品嘗了後一種酒。馬蘇德對這種酒頗為讚賞﹐於是我問他是否會考慮也釀制白羽﹐不過他予以了否認。他說他喜歡的酒有很多 ﹐但是他不想“失去重點”。
我的雜類葡萄酒品嘗之旅可算不上有重點﹐但是我還是在其中發現了很多美味的好酒。從阿爾薩斯的希爾瓦娜到薩瓦 的阿爾迪斯﹐從皮埃蒙特的阿內斯、德國的施埃博(Scheurebe)再到利古利亞的皮加托等等﹐我發現了一些風格鮮明的葡萄酒﹐它們既獨具特色﹐定價也 非常公道。如果雜類葡萄酒換個名稱的話﹐或許會有更多人願意點它。要不改名“冒險人士之酒”或者“也許你永遠不會考慮（但應該考慮）的酒”？我倒樂意把它 們稱作“我願意一次又一次品嘗的酒”。
安 德烈•奧斯特塔格或許是阿爾薩斯地區最獨特的釀酒商之一（也是最好的酒商之一）。他根據自己獨有的分類體系（果酒、皮埃爾酒、陳年酒等等）釀制了一系列多 種多樣的葡萄酒﹐並且從希爾瓦娜等本來比較普通的葡萄品種中提煉出了特色和複雜口味。這款幹白口感極佳﹐入口極其清新鮮爽。
2010年Bruno Lupin Cuvee du Pepe薩瓦弗朗日胡賽特葡萄酒
薩 瓦地區是多種知名白葡萄酒的產地﹐其中毫無爭議的明星葡萄酒之一便是亦稱為阿爾迪斯的胡賽特。Bruno Lupin選用的葡萄產自弗朗日（Frangy﹐薩瓦的頂級葡萄園之一）﹐口感會讓人聯想起優質白詩南。這款具有礦物香的幹白口感醇厚馥鬱﹐風味濃厚。它 給我留下了深刻印象﹐價格也非常公道。
2010年Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli白羽葡萄酒
在我的記憶中﹐能夠憑借在紐約芬格湖地區種植的俄羅斯葡萄成功打響名氣的釀酒商並不多（或者沒有？）。但是﹐Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli卻在上世紀60年代做到了﹐而且效果非常好。這款幹白非常不錯﹐具有綿長的礦物香後味。
2011年Terre Bianche Riviera Ligure di Ponente皮加托葡萄酒
Both reds and whites are grouped in this manner and the latter might include such disparate offerings as a New York Rkatsiteli, a Pigato from Liguria, a Sicilian Grillo and a Jacquere or two from the Savoy region of France. Why put such wines in the same place? The most likely explanation is space -- most restaurants don't want a wine list that's overly long, often because of the wine drinkers themselves. Not many people are patient enough to leaf through page after page of grapes they've never heard of or wine regions they're unlikely to visit.
Some wine directors, finding their customers aren't moved by the word 'miscellaneous,' might craft a more flattering title: 'Interesting Wines' is one I've seen fairly often, though as Cat Silirie, wine director of No. 9 Park in Boston, pointed out, that particular rubric would seem to imply that everything else is rather dull. Ms. Silirie, who won the 2012 James Beard wine program award, found this kind of categorization 'demeaning' to wines like Traminer, Muscat and Godello. (Ms. Silirie organizes her list according to both region and grape.)
I'm not sure if the miscellaneous category is actually demeaning, especially since I often find wines listed there that I want to try. One reason is price. The obscure and uncurated will almost always cost less than the well known and well placed. If you don't know what a wine is, you're unlikely to pay a high price for it. (There are exceptions of course -- for example, an obscure Trebbiano from Abruzzo made by Valentini can cost almost as much as a premier cru Burgundy.)
A miscellaneous wine is likely to be one that a sommelier loves and feels personally connected to, especially since it's a wine that's not likely to sell itself. A miscellaneous wine often pairs well with food -- for the same reason as above. (Sommeliers rarely favor non-food-friendly wine.) And yet miscellaneous wines, broadly speaking, don't seem to get a lot of attention or love. That's one reason why I embarked on a summer-friendly all-white-miscellaneous-wine tasting earlier this month.
I turned first to Italy and France, two countries that produce a lot of wines that end up in the miscellaneous section of wine lists. This is hardly surprising since there are thousands of different varietals in Italy alone and hundreds of different grapes officially recognized in France.
In both countries, famous grapes are often cultivated alongside lesser knowns. For example, in Italy's Piedmont region there are familiar white grapes like Moscato and Gavi, as well as lesser known varietals like Erbaluce and Arneis. Ditto the Savoy region in southeastern France, where white grapes like Jacquere and Mondeuse Blanche coexist with the more popular globe-trotting Pinot Gris.
But it's Italy that offers a veritable roll call of world-class 'miscellaneous' white grapes -- in fact, the obscure whites of Italy could fill an entire wine list. From north to south, the country is thickly planted with consonant-rich grapes like Pecorino, Asprinio, Fiano, Pigato, Catarratto and Grillo, to name just a (very) few. And thanks to a recent resurgence of interest in native varietals, these grapes are responsible for some of the most interesting wines made in Italy today.
The Pigato grape grown in Liguria has long been one of my favorites. Though it's recently been named a clonal cousin of Vermentino -- a far more famous grape -- a good Pigato from a top producer like Bruna or Terre Bianche can be even more nuanced, with aromas of almonds and citrus. A good Pigato can also age particularly well. Further south, in Sicily and Campania, there are lots of terrific 'miscellaneous' grapes, like the crisp Grillo and the ancient Fiano with its distinctive scent of hazelnuts.
The wines of Savoy, in the Alpine region of eastern France, have become so popular in recent years that they may be elevated beyond the miscellaneous category sometime soon. With a characteristic bright acidity and a profile that ranges from light and flowery with mineral notes (whites made from the Jacquere grape) to a richer, more rounded profile (wines made from Roussette aka Altesse), Savoy wines also pair well with food. They also tend to be very good deals; some top Savoy wines are priced at less than a generic bottle of village Burgundy, often under $20 a bottle. There aren't any famous names (yet) though one of the best-known Savoy producers is Pierre Boniface, whose Apremont bottling is fairly easy to find -- and to drink. There are even more complex offerings from producers like Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux and Domaine Lupin.
There are plenty of other pockets of French obscurity, to be sure. For example, in Languedoc and the Rhone, the Picpoul grape is the source of some fresh, uncomplicated whites. In Alsace, grapes like Chasselas and Sylvaner are planted near well-known grapes like Riesling and Gewurztraminer. While the first two aren't particularly prized, in the hands of a great producer like Andre Ostertag, Sylvaner can actually achieve a rare measure of distinction. The Ostertag Sylvaner is a stainless-steel-fermented wine with a long, mineral finish -- and at $22 a bottle, it's a lot cheaper than wines made from more recognizable Alsace grapes.
Spain and Portugal are also fine sources for worthy obscurities. The grapes Xarel-lo in the Penedes and Godella in Galicia produce appealing whites that can sometimes be found in the miscellaneous section of wide-ranging wine lists, as can Rabigato, a high-acidity white grape grown in Portugal's Douro Valley.
The United States is the one country that doesn't produce many miscellaneous wines (a bit of an irony considering we popularized the category on wine lists). There are exceptions, of course, and two of my favorites are both produced in New York: the Channing Daughters Tocai Friulano, a crisp dry white made from a Friulian grape, and a minerally white Rkatsiteli, a Russian grape grown by Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes district.
I tasted the latter in the company of Charles Massoud, owner of Paumanok Winery (where he makes Long Island's only Chenin Blanc). When Mr. Massoud commented favorably on the wine, I asked if he'd consider making a Rkatsiteli too. He demurred. There were many wines that he liked but he didn't want to 'lose focus.'
My miscellaneous tasting was far from focused but yielded lots of delicious results. From Alsace Sylvaner to Altesse from Savoy, Arneis in Piedmont, Scheurebe from Germany and Pigato in Liguria (and more), I found characterful wines that were as distinctive as they were well-priced. Perhaps more people would order from the miscellaneous section of a wine list if it were retitled. Wines for the Adventurous? Or Wines You'd Probably Never Consider (but Should). I'd call them Wines I'd Drink Again and Again.
2010 Domaine Ostertag Les Vieilles Vignes de Sylvaner, $22
Andre Ostertag is probably one of the most unusual winemakers in Alsace (as well as one of the best). He makes a wide range of wines under his own personal classification system (Vins de Fruit, Vins de Pierre, Vins de Temps, etc.) and manages to wrest character and complexity out of an otherwise ordinary grape like Sylvaner. This wine is a zesty dry white that's wonderfully fresh and bright.
2010 Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux Chignin, $21
The Jacquere grape is the star of this beautifully crisp, almost steely (think Chablis) white from the Savoy region of France. Produced at a small, up-and-coming estate in the village of Chignin (one of the best Savoy appellations), it's a terrific aperitif or a match with most seafood or shellfish.
2010 Bruno Lupin Cuvee du Pepe Roussette de Savoie Frangy, $27
The Savoy region is home to several notable white grapes -- and one of the undisputed stars is Roussette aka Altesse. Bruno Lupin's version of the grape, produced in Frangy (one of the region's top crus), is reminiscent of a good Chenin Blanc: dry and minerally, yet rich, rather lush and full-bodied. It's an impressive wine at a very fair price.
2010 Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli, $18
There aren't many (any?) winemakers I can think of who would stake their reputations -- successfully -- on a Russian grape planted in New York's Finger Lakes. But that's what Dr. Rkatsiteli did back in the 1960s, to great effect. This is a lovely, dry white with a long, minerally finish.
2011 Terre Bianche Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato, $27
The Pigato grape (a clone of the more famous Vermentino) is the most important wine grape in Liguria (a tiny region on Italy's northwestern coast) and Terre Bianche has long been considered one of its top producers. This is a soft, almost savory white with distinctly flowery aromas.