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更新时间:2014-3-17 11:56:20 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Wine Club For Cool (and Well-Balanced) Kids

Snow was comingdown outside Charlie Bird, the wine-centric bistro in SoHo that's become a tribal hub for New York City's oenophiles. On this particular night, though, the place was crawling with winemakers from California.

Seated at a table beside the window, former New Yorker Jamie Kutch and his wife, Kristen Green, who now run Kutch Wines on the Sonoma Coast, complimented Rajat Parr, the influential San Francisco sommelier-turned-winemaker, on his pink cashmere sweater and offered him a glass of 1978 La Pousse d'Or Clos l'Audignac Volnay. Hirsch Vineyards' Jasmine Hirsch, who had been wearing a torn and faded flannel shirt when I last saw her at her family vineyard, was dressed in a little black dress and kissing cheeks, including those of Ehren Jordan of Failla Wines in St. Helena, Calif. and Wells Guthrie of Copain Wines in Healdsburg, Calif.

The Californians, members of a group called In Pursuit of Balance (I.P.O.B.), founded in 2008 by Mr. Parr and Ms. Hirsch, were converging on New York to share with the city a new style of California wine. The following day, they would hold one of their buzzy, increasingly influential tastings at an event space in TriBeCa.

Ms. Hirsch and company are seeking to dismantle the stereotype of California wines as fruity, oaky and high in alcohol. The group was founded, in Ms. Hirsch's words, 'to support wineries who are striving to produce elegant, site-specific Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.' These are the signature grapes of Burgundy, and I.P.O.B. takes much of its inspiration from that region of France, which is dominated by independent growers who make some of the most sought-after wines on the planet.

These Californians are making wines for people who wouldn't be caught dead drinking California wines, winning over tastemakers like the young Manhattan and Brooklyn sommeliers who would flock to their tasting the day after the snowstorm.

The impression that the cool kids had formed a wine club was reinforced when, around 1 a.m., the group at Charlie Bird moved on to Pearl & Ash, downtown New York's other hip wine mecca, where they were greeted by managing partner and wine director Patrick Cappiello, wearing a black Misfits T-shirt. The winemakers downed multiple bottles of Savart, the cult grower Champagne of the moment. Sometimes, it seems, in pursuit of balance you have to get a little wobbly.

The idea for the group was cooked up in 2011 at RN74, the San Francisco restaurant where Mr. Parr, who was born in India and trained at the Culinary Institute of America, served as sommelier and mentor to a generation of young sommeliers. After several years at J.P. Morgan in New York, Ms. Hirsch had recently moved back to the West Coast to join the family business. Her father, David, owns one of the most celebrated vineyards on California's Sonoma Coast, and was starting to produce his own wine. Ms. Hirsch had first met Mr. Parr when her father brought her as a young woman to New York for the celebration of the wines of Burgundy, known as La Paulee. She sought him out again when she moved West in 2008, and a romance developed. 'Why don't we have wines like this in California?' she asked him one night over a glass of Burgundy at RN74. 'We do,' he said. He introduced her to some of the California Pinots that he believed shared a Burgundian aesthetic, like Littorai and Au Bon Climat. Mr. Parr had just started making wine in Santa Barbara county (his brands are called Sandhi and Domaine de la Cote), and the pair decided to stage a tasting of their favorite California Pinots as a learning experience for a small group.

'I wrote down a list of 10 or 12 I liked on the back of a cocktail napkin,' Mr. Parr told me as we shared a 1996 Dujac Gevrey Combottes at Charlie Bird. 'The plan was to invite some friends, some somms, some people in the trade. It was packed. The next day there were lots of articles about the tasting and a lot of the discussion became heated. There was a feeling that I was creating division. I got hate mail.'

Boys and girls, please. How had a Pinot Noir tasting gotten so nasty? And how could the group that emerged with such a sensible sounding name generate such controversy? Balance seems like a fairly reasonable goal. And Mr. Parr is a courtly and gentle fellow. Part of the problem had to do with his long-standing advocacy, at RN74, of a certain style of wine: He refused to stock Pinots or Chardonnays that clocked in at more than 14% alcohol, a relatively low threshold in sunny California.

Many Golden State winemakers were outraged at his curating tactics, as were certain critics who championed big, ripe, powerful wines. 'I think Raj is an unintentional lightning rod,' said Renee Bourassa, a sommelier who trained with him before moving to New York. Ms. Bourassa, who recently worked at the restaurant Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, added, 'He doesn't criticize others but he has very particular taste.'

What Mr. Parr likes, in his own words, are 'freshness, vibrancy, acidity and crunchiness.' (That last word, I think, is best understood as the opposite of 'syrupy.') What he doesn't go for so much is what wine writer Jon Bonne, in his excellent new book 'The New California Wine,' calls 'Big Flavor' (i.e., super-ripe, jammy, alcoholic wines). Especially when it comes to Pinot Noir, which, in its Burgundian incarnation, tends to be more savory than sweet.

Mr. Parr insists there are no technical parameters, no strict cutoffs or exclusionary rules governing admission to I.P.O.B., which currently has 33 members. In fact, some of the members do make wines that clock in above 14% alcohol. The definition of balance is an ongoing project, Mr. Parr said. Each year a five-person committee blind tastes the wines of potential members and judges them. The wines that make the cut tend to be more restrained, less fruity, brighter and more acidic than the typical Cali Pinots and Chards. (Chardonnay was added to the program in 2012.)

Most member labels are too small to devote much money to marketing. They benefit from the exposure provided by semiannual tastings in California and New York, increasingly popular with industry professionals. Perhaps equally important is the growing cachet of being admitted to the I.P.O.B., whose members, in Mr. Parr's words, 'make wines that don't tend to get huge scores in the Wine Spectator or the Wine Advocate.'

Personally, I think the group represents some of California's most exciting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers. But I'm a Burgundy nut; if your palate skews toward ripe, intense fruit flavors, you may want to shop elsewhere.

California is no longer a punch line among New York's wine cognoscenti, who generally reserve their praise for earthy Burgundies and high-acidity Mosel Rieslings.

The day after the Pearl & Ash festivities, some of the city's top somms, including Raj Vaidya of Daniel and Paul Grieco of Hearth Restaurant, were rubbing elbows at the group's tasting in TriBeCa. Tasters were trading notes, arguing favorites. Drew Family Cellars and Ceritas were getting lots of buzz, as was Steve Matthiasson's 2012 Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay. Many more people attended the raucous afterparty that followed the tasting, at Lafayette in NoHo. Aldo Sohm of Le Bernardin, who won the Best Sommelier in the World title in 2008, hugged Ms. Hirsch with one arm while holding out a glass to John Beaver Truax of Chambers Street Wines, who filled it with a rare '99 Fourrier Bourgogne Blanc. Winemaker Steve Matthiasson drank multiple glasses of 1969 Dr. Deinhard Deidesheimer Riesling. Wells Guthrie, of Copain Wines, was drinking a beer from Brooklyn Brewery.

The party was still going strong when I lolloped out sometime after one, and the I.P.O.B. crowd partied on, apparently attempting to prove that excess in the pursuit of balance is no vice.
Oenofile: Five Cool California Moderates
2011 Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir, $28
Cool climate and a cool vintage make for a delicate, savory Anderson Valley Pinot with sour cherry and star anise flavors.
2012 Lioco Chardonnay,$35
This naked (i.e., unoaked) chard from the Russian River Valley has great bone structure and plenty of curves as well. Pleasant acidity and lively pear fruit.
2012 Failla Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast,$35
This bottling contains nicely balancing sweet and savory notes, with an emphasis on the latter. Intriguing sage and bay leaf notes play on top of ripe red fruit.
2011 Domaine de la Cote Bloom's Field Pinot Noir,$55
Piercing red fruit with a mineral core, bright but not heavy. This Santa Rita Hills pinot is a titanium fist in a velvet glove. Lower alcohol than most: 12.5%.
2011 Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir,$60

This tightly coiled Pinot from one of Sonoma's finest vineyards blends tart raspberry fruit with herbal grace notes. It's still a baby; try to cellar this for a year or two if you can resist.

在Charlie Bird酒吧的外面,天空正飘着雪花。这家位于纽约SoHo区、以葡萄酒为主的酒吧已经成为了纽约葡萄酒爱好者们的聚集地。不过在这个特别的夜晚,这里挤满了来自加州的酿酒师。

曾住在纽约的杰米·库奇(Jamie Kutch)和妻子克里丝滕·格林(Kristen Green)坐在靠窗的一张桌子旁,他们目前在索诺玛海岸(Sonoma Coast)经营库奇葡萄酒庄(Kutch Wines)。从侍酒师转行做酿酒师、在旧金山颇具影响力的拉雅·帕尔(Rajat Parr)穿了件粉色羊绒衫。库奇夫妇对这件羊绒衫表示了称赞,并递给了他一杯1978年的La Pousse d'Or Clos l'Audignac Volnay。赫希葡萄园(Hirsch Vineyards)的贾丝明·赫希(Jasmine Hirsch)穿着一条小黑裙,在跟人们亲吻脸颊打招呼,包括加州 海伦娜(St. Helena)Failla Wines酒庄的埃伦·乔丹(Ehren Jordan)和加州希尔兹堡(Healdsburg) Copain Wines酒庄的韦尔斯·格思里(Wells Guthrie)。上次我在赫希的家族葡萄园里见到她时,她穿的是一件破破烂烂而且已经褪色的法兰绒衬衫。

这群加州的酿酒师聚集在纽约和人们分享令人耳目一新的加州葡萄酒。第二天,他们将会在翠贝卡区(TriBeCa)的一处活动场地举办一场品酒会。这些人都是一个名叫In Pursuit of Balance(I.P.O.B.,意为“追求平衡”)的组织的成员,该组织由帕尔和赫希建于2011年。他们举办的品酒会都很热闹,而且越来越有影响力。

赫希及其公司正致力于打破加州葡萄酒果味浓、橡木味浓和酒精度高的刻板形象。用赫希的话说,这个组织的建立是“为了支持致力于生产优雅的、特定产区黑皮诺(Pinot Noir)和霞多丽(Chardonnay)的酿酒厂”。这两种葡萄是法国勃艮第(Burgundy)的标志性品种,I.P.O.B.也从勃艮第获得了很多灵感,这个地区以独立的葡萄种植者为主,全球最受追捧的一些葡萄酒就是由他们生产的。


到凌晨一点左右,Charlie Bird的这群人转移到了纽约市中心另外一个时尚葡萄酒 地Pearl & Ash餐厅,让人更加觉得这些酷酷的年轻人是成立了一个葡萄酒俱乐部。身穿黑色Misfits T恤的Pearl & Ash管理合伙人及葡萄酒总监帕特里克·卡皮耶洛(Patrick Cappiello)迎接了他们。酿酒师们喝下了好几瓶Savart,这是一款当下受到热捧的独立酒庄香槟酒。有时,为了追求平衡,似乎需要让自己稍微有点摇晃。

成立这个组织的想法是2011年在旧金山餐厅RN74形成的。帕尔当时在这家餐厅担任侍酒师,并且带着几个年轻的侍酒师。帕尔出生于印度,在美国烹饪学院(Culinary Institute of America)接受过培训。赫希在纽约摩根大通(J.P. Morgan)工作过几年,后来搬回了西海岸,加入了家族企业。他的父亲戴维(David)拥有加州索诺玛海岸上最知名的一座葡萄园,并且刚开始生产自己的葡萄酒。赫希第一次见到帕尔是在少女时代她跟父亲去纽约参加的一次La Paulee勃艮第葡萄酒庆祝会上。2008年她搬到西部时又找到了他,接着两人萌生了一段恋情。一天晚上在RN74时,她喝着一杯勃艮第酒问帕尔:“为什么我们在加州没有这样的葡萄酒?”帕尔说:“我们有的。”他给赫希介绍了Littorai和Au Bon Climat等几种他觉得有着勃艮第风味的加州黑皮诺。当时帕尔刚开始在 巴巴拉县酿酒(他的品牌名为Sandhi和Domaine de la Cote),二人决定给他们最喜欢的加州黑皮诺组织一次小范围的品酒会,让大家品鉴学习。

在Charlie Bird分享一瓶1996年的Dujac Gevrey Combottes时,帕尔告诉我:“当时我在一张餐巾纸的背面写下了10种还是12种我喜欢的酒。计划是邀请一些朋友、一些侍酒师,还有一些业内人士。品酒会上来了很多人。第二天有很多关于品酒会的报道,很多讨论都成了热门话题。有一种我在制造分裂的感觉。我收到了恐吓信。”


很多加州酿酒师都对他的选酒策略不满,拥护大品牌、成熟、有影响力葡萄酒的一些酒评人也是如此。曾和他一起接受培训的侍酒师勒妮·布拉萨(Renee Bourassa)说:“我觉得拉雅无意中成了一枚招来批评‘雷电’的避雷针。”布拉萨最近在纽约Brooklyn Fare的餐厅Chef's Table工作。她接着说道:“他并不批评别人,但是有非常独特的品味。”

用帕尔自己的话说,他喜欢的是“新鲜、活力、酸度和脆爽度”。(我觉得最后一个词最好的理解是“粘稠”的反义词。)他不大喜欢的是葡萄酒作家乔恩·邦内(Jon Bonne)在其精彩的新书《新加州葡萄酒》(The New California Wine)中所称的“大味道”(Big Flavor),也就是极其成熟、果酱味、酒精度较浓的葡萄酒。特别是黑皮诺,产自勃艮第的黑皮诺往往辛辣多过甜味。


大多数会员的品牌都太小了,不值得花很多钱来做营销。他们都得益于在加州和纽约半年一次的品酒会带来的曝光,日益受到业内专业人士的欢迎。也许还有很重要的一点是被准许加入I.P.O.B.对品牌品质的证明越来越有力。用帕尔的话来说,该组织的成员“酿造的酒一般并不会在《葡萄酒观察家》(The Wine Spectator)杂志或《葡萄酒倡导家》(Wine Advocate)杂志得高分”。


加州不再是纽约葡萄酒行家们的谈资,他们一般都会把溢美之词留给带泥土芳香的勃艮第酒和酸度较高的莫塞雷司令(Mosel Rieslings)。

Pearl & Ash狂欢的第二天,包括Daniel餐厅的拉杰·维迪雅(Raj Vaidya)和Hearth Restaurant餐厅的保罗·格列科(Paul Grieco)在内的纽约顶级侍酒师在该组织在翠贝卡区的品酒会上觥筹交错。大家相互交流意见,讨论自己最喜欢的葡萄酒。Drew Family Cellars和Ceritas的酒极受关注,还有史蒂夫·马西亚森(Steve Matthiasson) 的2012年Linda Vista Vineyard霞多丽。更多的人参加了随后在NoHo的Lafayette餐厅举行的热闹派对。2008年获得世界最佳侍酒师称号、Le Bernardin餐厅的侍酒师奥尔多·索姆(Aldo Sohm)一只手拥抱赫希,另一只手把杯子递给Chambers Street Wines的约翰·比弗·特鲁瓦克斯(John Beaver Truax),后者给他倒了一杯稀有的99年Fourrier Bourgogne Blanc。酿酒师史蒂夫·马西亚森喝了好几杯1969年的Dr. Deinhard Deidesheimer Riesling。Copain Wines的韦尔斯·格思里喝的是Brooklyn Brewery的啤酒。


2011年的Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir,售价28美元
凉爽的气候和凉爽的年份成就了这款柔和且极具风味的Anderson Valley Pinot,带酸樱桃和八角茴香味。

2012年的Lioco Chardonnay,售价35美元
这款来自Russian River Valley的未经橡木桶陈酿的霞多丽有很棒的骨架,同时也有很多曲线。酸度宜人,散发着轻盈的梨香。

2012年的Failla Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast,售价35美元

2011年的Domaine de la Cote Bloom's Field Pinot Noir,售价55美元
浓郁的红色水果味,主调是矿物香,酒体颜色明亮而不厚重。这款Santa Rita Hills的黑皮诺外柔内刚,酒精度为12.5%,低于大多数葡萄酒。

2011年的Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir,售价60美元