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更新时间:2014-4-22 13:44:46 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Let the Wine Merchant Dictate What You Sip

Money is helpful and a good palate matters too, but a sense of adventure may be truly paramount when it comes to the enjoyment of wine. Whether it's taking a trip to an unfamiliar wine region, tasting an unpronounceable grape or summoning the courage to ask an unknown retailer's advice, a brave approach can broaden your palate as well as your mind.

I've traveled to many wine regions and tasted many grapes with multi-vowel names, but I don't think I've ever said to a wine professional who wasn't a sommelier, 'Just give me something that you think is terrific.' But in the spirit of adventure, I visited eight wine shops in three cities, seeking recommendations for any fabulous wine -- red or white -- under $30. If the salesperson loved two wines, I bought them both.

My first two expeditions took place in the Dallas area: Pogo's Wine & Spirits near the city's Highland Park neighborhood, and Corner Wines in Plano. Though they're both located in unmemorable shopping plazas, they're quite different. Pogo's is a large store with a global selection, while the smaller Corner Wines had a more limited inventory.

At Pogo's, I sought the advice of Shasha Beard, a young sommelier-turned-salesperson. She suggested a white blend from Teutonic Wine Company in Oregon as well as the 2006 Casanova Della Spinetta 'Il Gentile di Casanova' Toscana, which she said was a bargain. I'd never heard of the Teutonic Wine Company before, and though I knew Spinetta wines, I'd never tasted the 'Il Gentile.' The wines cost $30 each. At Corner Wines, owner Jim McDevitt also suggested two bottles: the 2009 Bodegas Vina Herminia Excelsus Rioja and the 2011 Domaine Grand Roche Saint Bris, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Saint Bris region of Burgundy. They cost $20 and $25, respectively. Mr. McDevitt said he chose the latter because it 'had a nice aspect of citrus without the grapefruit note of a New Zealand Sauvignon.' He said the former was a good buy and, besides, he liked Rioja.

I tried all four wines with my Dallas friends later that day. We were charmed by the sprightly Teutonic and pleased with the earthy, tobacco-inflected Spinetta, though they both seemed overpriced -- particularly since the Teutonic white cost only $23 on the winery's website. The other two were less thrilling: The Saint Bris was herbaceous and sharp with an elevated acidity and an elevated price, while the Rioja was soft and pleasant but dull.

A quick trip to Washington, D.C., yielded equally mixed results. My first stop was the venerable Calvert Woodley Wine & Spirits in the Van Ness area. Salesman Bill Hunter told me the 2009 La Valentina Spelt Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo was one of the best deals in the store. It cost $27 and, he said, it had earned 92 points from the Wine Advocate.

At Schneider's of Capitol Hill, the store's co-owner, Jon Genderson, happened to be on hand. He chose the 2011 Barrique Cellars Syrah ($25) for me -- with an explanation that was a bit of a tautology: 'I'd go with red because it's red.' It was his shop's private label wine, and Mr. Genderson said it was 'the best deal in the store.' (I was hearing this a lot.) At Weygandt Wines in the Cleveland Park district, assistant manager Warren Leonard offered me a number of $30 possibilities before settling on the 2012 Gerard & Pierre Morin Cuvee Sancerre Ovide.

The Montepulciano proved my least favorite of the Washington, D.C., wines. It was pleasant but it wasn't even close to a 92-point wine in taste and character -- or fact. I looked it up and found that it was the 2008 vintage of Spelt that had actually earned that score. The Morin Sancerre, on the other hand, was terrific -- with intense citrus notes and stony minerality.

Back in New York, I chose three stores that enjoyed good reputations: Oak & Steel, Ambassador Wines & Spirits and Flatiron Wines & Spirits. I encountered Carlos Rosas, a salesman with an aggressively interrogative style, at Oak & Steel. When asked what his best wine under $30 was, Mr. Rosas responded with some questions for me: What did I plan to do with the wine? Serve it with dinner? Give it to a friend? He pointed to a few bottles that were possibilities, though none seemed to excite him. Then he reached for the 2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci Rouge Frais Imperial ($35). He really liked the wine -- but he wasn't sure that I would. And the wine was over my budget. You have to spend more than $30 to get a really good wine, Mr. Rosas said. It was an oddly challenging form of salesmanship, but I bought the bottle anyway.

Flatiron Wines' manager, Beau Rapier, suggested a Bourgogne Rouge from Jadot, a Chinon and a Bourgogne Blanc that he said was produced right next door to the village of Puligny-Montrachet. When I asked him to narrow his choice down to just two, he changed gears and picked the 2009 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses and the 2011 'Clos du Chateau' Bourgogne Blanc from Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet. I purchased both.

Doug Herzbrun, a salesman at Ambassador, wanted me to buy a white and a red from Portugal, a source of great, unheralded wines. He suggested the 2008 Quinta de Pancas Reserva and the 2010 Caves Transmontanas Vertice, a white wine from the Douro, each for $30.

My New York selection of bottles was almost entirely outstanding -- from the 2009 Olga Raffault Les Picasses that was lively and bright to the rich and multilayered 2008 Quinta de Pancas Reserva. (I was less enamored of the Portuguese white, which seemed a bit over-oaked.) The 2011 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet 'Clos du Chateau' Bourgogne Blanc was a minerally delight and the light but intense 2012 Domaine Comte Abatucci Frais Imperial Rouge has become my new favorite wine.

During my short shopping experience, I'd bought bottles that I wouldn't have considered had I not sought some stranger's advice. I had some good, and even some great wines (though the markups on a few bottles were a tad high). It's never a bad idea to solicit the opinions of others -- you never know what wonderful wines they might help you find -- though I might quibble a bit more on the prices the next time.



我的头两回探险是在达拉斯(Dallas)地区:一家是在靠近该城高地公园(Highland Park)邻里的Pogo's葡萄酒与烈酒店(Pogo's Wine & Spirits),另一家是在普莱诺(Plano)的街角葡萄酒店(Corner Wines)。虽然两家店都坐落在不易被人记住的购物广场,但它们却截然不同。Pogo's是一家大型酒水专卖店,拥有来自全球各地的精选佳酿,而规模更小的街角葡萄酒店,其库存则相对有限。

在Pogo's葡萄酒与烈酒店里,我征求了莎莎·彼尔德(Shasha Beard) ——一位从酒侍转型为销售人员的年轻人——的意见。她建议我购买来自俄勒冈州(Oregon)日耳曼葡萄酒公司(Teutonic Wine Company)的一种白葡萄混酿以及2006年产于托斯卡纳(Toscana)斯玢尼塔(Spinetta)酒庄的"Il Gentile di Casanova",她说后者价格便宜。在这之前,我从未听说过日耳曼葡萄酒公司,而且自认为是了解斯玢尼塔葡萄酒的,不过我之前却从未品尝过"Il Gentile"。这两款酒各自花了我30美元。在街角葡萄酒店,店主吉姆·麦克德维特(Jim McDevitt)也推荐了两瓶酒:2009年产的西班牙维妮娅庄园力拓干红葡萄酒(Bodegas Vina Herminia Excelsus Rioja)与2011年产的大罗氏 布里斯酒(Domaine Grand Roche Saint Bris),后者是一款来自勃艮第(Burgundy) 布里斯地区的长相思(Sauvignon Blanc)白葡萄酒。它们的价格分别为20美元和25美元。麦克德维特说他选择后者是因为该酒“具有一种甜美的柑橘果香,但却没有新西兰长相思(New Zealand Sauvignon)那样的葡萄柚味儿。”他还说,前者是物美价廉,而且他本身也喜欢里奥哈葡萄酒(Rioja)。

当天晚些时候,我就和达拉斯的朋友们一起品尝了这四种酒。虽然前两款酒似乎定价过高——尤其是日耳曼白葡萄混酿,它在酿酒厂网站上的售价仅为23美元,但我们仍醉心于这款白葡萄混酿的清新鲜活、沉醉在斯玢尼塔酒的泥土芳香和烟草味中。另外两款酒则稍显平淡: 布里斯酒弥散着植物草香、酸味浓郁,价格也被抬高,而里奥哈葡萄酒口感柔和宜人,但却平平无奇。

简短的华盛顿(Washington, D.C.)之行与之前品酒旅行的结果差不多,收获是好坏参半。我的第一站是在位于范内斯(Van Ness)地区、受人推崇的卡尔弗特伍德利葡萄酒与烈酒店(Calvert Woodley Wine & Spirits)。销售人员比尔·亨特(Bill Hunter)告诉我说,2009年产阿于意大利布鲁佐的瓦伦蒂娜蒙蒂普尔查诺红葡萄酒(La Valentina Spelt Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo)是店里的最值得购买的酒品之一。他说,《葡萄酒倡导家》(Wine Advocate) 为这款酒打了92分,其售价为27美元。

在国会山的施耐德(Schneider's of Capitol Hill)酒水店,店主之一的乔恩·亨德森(Jon Genderson)正好在店里。他为我挑选了2011年份的木桶佳酿西拉干红葡萄酒(Barrique Cellars Syrah)(售价为25美元),他为此给出的解释有点重复多余:“因为它是红酒,所以我就选了这款红酒。”这款西拉是他店里的自有品牌葡萄酒,亨德森将其称为“该店最值得买的。”(这句话我常常听到。)而在克利夫兰公园(Cleveland Park)区韦安特葡萄酒店(Weygandt Wines),经理助理沃伦·伦纳德(Warren Leonard)向我推荐了许多价位在30美元左右、适合我的葡萄酒,最后选定了2012年份的Gerard & Pierre莫兰特酿桑塞尔干白(Gerard & Pierre Morin Cuvee Sancerre Ovide)。


回到纽约,我选择了三家声誉良好的店:橡树与钢铁店(Oak & Steel),使者葡萄酒与烈酒店(Ambassador Wines & Spirits),烙铁葡萄酒与烈酒店(Flatiron Wines & Spirits)。我遭遇了卡洛斯·罗萨斯(Carlos Rosas) ——橡树与钢铁店里的一位爱发出攻击性提问的销售人员。当问到他售价在30美元以下的哪一款酒是其最爱时,罗萨斯却以另外一些问题作为对我的回应:你计划如何用这个酒?用来搭配晚餐吗?送给朋友吗?虽然似乎没有一款酒能提起他的兴致,但他还是指出了几瓶可能适合我的酒。然后他伸手去拿2012年份的阿巴图斯伯爵庄园至尊红葡萄酒(Domaine Comte Abbatucci Rouge Frais Imperial)(售价35美元)。他真的很喜欢那款葡萄酒——但他不确定我是否会喜欢,而那款酒又超出了我的预算。罗萨斯说,要想获得一瓶真正不错的葡萄酒,你得花上比30美元更多的钱。他的推销手法有着古怪的挑战意味,但不管怎样,我还是买下了那瓶酒。

烙铁葡萄酒与烈酒店的经理博·瑞比尔(Beau Rapier)建议我买一瓶来自亚都世家(Jadot) 的勃艮第红酒(Bourgogne Rouge)、一瓶希农(Chinon)以及一瓶勃艮第白葡萄酒(Bourgogne Blanc),他还称最后一种酒就产自与皮里尼-蒙哈谢(Puligny-Montrachet)村庄相邻的地方。当我让他将选择缩窄至两种葡萄酒时,他的态度发生了转变,随后挑选了2009年份的奥尔加纳富尔希农(Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses)和产自皮里尼-蒙哈谢酒庄(Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet)、2011年份的 勃艮第白葡萄酒"Clos du Chateau"。我把这两瓶酒都买回了家。

使者葡萄酒与烈酒店的销售人员道格·赫兹布润(Doug Herzbrun)则想让我买下产自葡萄牙(Portugal)的一种干白与干红,该地是一处很不错的葡萄酒产区,但尚不为人所知。他推荐了2008年份的潘卡斯庄园陈酿(Quinta de Pancas Reserva)以及一种产自杜罗河(Douro)流域、2010年份的白葡萄酒Caves Transmontanas Vertice,这两瓶酒售价均为30美元。

我在纽约挑选的几瓶酒总体来说几近出众——从鲜活透亮的2009份的产奥尔加纳富尔希农到口感层次多元的2008年份的潘卡斯庄园陈酿。(我倒不太迷恋那瓶葡萄牙干白,它的橡木味好像有点过重。)2011年产自皮里尼-蒙哈谢酒庄的 勃艮第白葡萄酒"Clos du Chateau"具有矿物的味道、惹人喜爱,而2012年份的阿巴图斯伯爵庄园至尊干红芳香浓郁但口感轻盈,它已成了我近来最喜欢的葡萄酒。