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Secret of Age Freezing 凍齡的奧秘

 

 

凍齡的奧秘

二十年前去歐洲公幹,最爽不單止是可以公費品嚐美食美酒,還有每到一個售票處,售票員總問我:請出示學生證。樂死了!學生半價票?下輩子吧 :)

老外就是猜不透我們的年齡。歐洲人一般顏值都是年少老成。1990年,亦師亦友的簡文漢先生介紹我喝黎巴嫩的穆莎酒莊。嚐了三個年份:1972、1975和1979,驚為天人。二十多歲的瓶齡,竟然十分活潑,單寧豐富,香料澎湃,像個小辣妹,十分可人。莊主兼釀酒師Serge Hochar 1999年來香港,馬上報名一睹他的風采。

穆莎酒莊 Chateau Musar坐落於黎巴嫩東部的貝卡河谷(Bekaa Valley),由霍查爾家族(Hochar )掌管;儘管該國戰火不休,但絲毫不影響他們家釀好酒。獨特的中東水土,孕育出香濃味美,有著濃烈的烘烤水果的香味:梅子,西洋李子,蔓越莓,櫻桃,無花果,紅棗和細膩的甜香料味,感覺是自然的風土。幾十年後葡萄酒呈茶色的光圈和圓潤的口感。 入門版為Musar Jeune系列,旗艦標是 Chateau Musar 紅白與粉紅都有,紅酒使用Cinsault、Syrah、Cabernet Sauvignon系列釀造,白酒使用Viognier、Vermontino、Chardonnay釀造,桃紅酒則使用100% Cinsault釀造,方式為放血法(Saignee)。

1998年在波爾多的葡萄博覽遇上了穆莎的展位,馬上過去嚐。當時駐場的職員從頭到腳掃瞄了我兩趟,一臉狐疑像是要問我出示學生證,結果她還是客氣的問我來自何方。我出示我的買手證,她才讓我試酒。展示出來的都是新年份。我忍不住搶她白: 有遠年的嗎?你們家的酒最嫩的我喝到70年代。她有點火,從後台倒了一杯磚紅色的叫我猜年份。有了文漢哥的指教,我大膽的猜:六零年代的。她笑著告訴我是1968。然後她倒了一杯白葡萄酒,叫我猜年份。一試之下我瞪大眼睛説:幹嘛這白葡萄酒厚厚的像紅酒?而且濃烈的香料有點兒像隆尼河谷的葡萄!80年代嗎?她滿意地笑笑,開估是1964。像是獎勵我猜對葡萄品種,她又倒了一杯1959的白酒給我。自始穆莎的紅與白我都收藏。

試過2012 年開了一瓶1997的穆莎白試功力。天哪!開了瓶兩年之後酒一直在瓶裡演進。古方純天然製作果然厲害。我想穆莎酒莊堪稱舊大陸的亞洲美人,逆齡魔法簡直嚇人。Serge 2015蒙主寵召,希望他的接班人繼續把穆莎發揚光大。


Secret of Age Freezing

The most wonderful thing of taking business trip to Europe 20 years ago was not only enjoying good food and wine on company’s expense, but also the joy I got when all ticket officers asked me to show my student pass. So flattering! I could only enjoy half-price ticket next incarnation.

Europeans never guess Asians’ age right. They normally look older than their real age. In 1990, my mentor of wineSydney Cunningham taught me Ch. Musar. I tasted three vintages: 1972, 1975 and 1979. The first encounter was a jaw dropping experience. Even with nearly 20 years of bottle age, it was vibrant, vivid with rich tannin and layers of sweet spice. It was very pleasant like a young spice girl. So lucky to have met Serge Hochar the wine maker in 1999 when he visited Hong Kong.

Situated in Bekka Valley of Lebanon, Chateau Musar is run by the Hochar family. Despite the ongoing wars in the country, it never stops Hochars from making fine wine. The unique terroir of the Middle East produces concentrated good wine with character of caramelized fruits aromas like plume, prune, cranberry, fig, dates and spices. It tastes simply like its natural terroir. After bottle aging for decades, it shows tea colour rim and supple mouth feel. Musar Jeune is their entry level and the Chateau Musar series is their flagship label. They make all red, white and rose, with Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Vermontino and Chardonnay. Their rose is 100% Cinsault with method of Saignee.

In 1998, I visited their booth in Vinexpo Bordeaux. The lady manning the booth scanned me from head to toe with a skeptic expression as if wanting to ask for my student pass. She finally requested politely for my visitor pass. I showed her my Buyer pass. She offered me recent vintages. I could not help revenging by asking: “Do you have older vintages? The youngest vintage I have tried is the 70’s.” She was a bit mad and pour a glass of brick colour red from underneath the booth and challenged me for the vintage. Backed up by the tasting experience with Syd, I guess it should be among the 60’s. It was 1968. Then she poured me a glass of white and challenged me again. My eyes were wild open and exclaimed: “Waoo! It’s rich as red! It tastes like Rhone’s varietals and very spicy. 80 something?”. She smiled and told me that it was 1964. Then she rewarded me for guessing the right varietals by offering a glass of 1959 white. Since then, I collect both their red and white.

In 2012, I opened a bottle of Chateau Musar White 1997, wanting to try its cellar potential. Gosh! It kept evolving in the bottle for two years after opening. It is amazing for this type of purely natural way to make wine. Musar can be regarded as the Asian Big Beauty from the old world. Their magic of age freezing is incredible. So sorry that Serge left us in 2015. I wish his successors could keep Chateau Musar shining.

 

 

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