貴婦要喝貴腐酒
Tokaji Wine: for the Noble

收縮腐朽的葡萄才可造出貴腐酒。 Only shrunk grapes can produce Tokaji wine.
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近日出席幾個品酒宴會,不約而同地有幾位資深酒友都談起貴腐酒,大概是烈酒喝多了,間中品嚐幾杯甜酒感覺份外舒暢,特別是搭配前菜鵝肝或
魚子醬,平衡的甜度酸度讓酒濃而不膩,酒友直截了當地將之形容為「水泡枯木的一股香氣」。希特拉與其妻伊娃,在最後時刻,不忘享受他們
最後的一杯托卡伊貴腐酒,將氰化物混合於濃稠的甘甜之中,將人世孽障與萬豔同杯共腐同朽!
Tokaji wine seems to be gaining popularity among wine connoisseurs recently, at least among the ones I met in a few different tasting events.
Perhaps dessert wine makes a nice break from too much liquor. Particularly, when it is paired with foie gras or caviar, its sweetness is nicely
balanced and fragrance emphasized. No wonder,allegedly, Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva drank made it their last drink before killing themselves.

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 今夜送我一瓶天使的淚

貴腐酒的起源,始於大自然的必然,碰巧遇上人世的偶然。1650年土耳其軍隊入侵匈牙利,當土軍迫近托卡伊時,正值葡萄收穫季節,托卡伊農人要逃亡以逃避劫掠,直到11月初上天氣變冷之前才回到家園,他們發覺田野裏的葡萄已收縮腐朽變得乾巴巴,表皮變薄發皺,並泛起一層黴菌;農民無奈地只能拿它們來釀造葡萄酒,但沒有想到的是,這些腐朽葡萄所釀成的酒,竟有着深邃的醇美味道。偶然的推遲採摘,意外地為托卡伊帶來新的命運創造出貴腐葡萄酒,從此走向輝煌。現今托卡伊已獲聯合國教科文組織列為世界文化遺產,托卡伊生產的貴腐酒跟法國波爾多南部蘇玳產區的齊名,同樣是貴腐酒中的極品。

18世紀初,法王路易十四獲贈托卡伊貴腐酒作為禮物,他對此酒自此情有獨鍾,並成為凡爾賽宮宴會必備的餐酒,稱之為「王室之酒,酒中之王」。當托卡伊甜酒傳至俄國王室,彼得大帝和葉卡捷琳娜女皇即為之傾倒,葉卡捷琳娜女皇更專門派軍隊往匈牙利,一路護送托卡伊貴腐酒到聖彼得堡王宮,以確保能繼續享用到這種珍貴的美酒;經過歐陸皇室的吹捧,貴腐酒以「帝王葡萄酒」之名不踁而走,在歐陸的貴族之間更以美麗暗號相稱,貴婦會叫情人今夜捎來一瓶「液體鑽石」、也有詩人在作品中將之隱喻作「天使的眼淚」。

在云云葡萄之中,唯有賽美蓉、富爾民特、長相思這幾種特定葡萄品種,才會受到貴腐菌依附,因此世上僅有幾個地區幾個酒莊能夠生產出這矜貴的酒品,價格自然居高不下。這些葡萄在樹藤上完全熟透以後,裏頭衍生出一種「貴腐黴」,葡萄的水份逐漸乾透促使葡萄含糖量更為濃縮,並且散發出有如蜂蜜一般的香甜味,貴腐甜酒初釀時的顏色金黃,愈陳年會變成深褐黃色,再逐漸轉化成清澈透明的琥珀色。

能夠令帝王傾情,貴腐酒當然有其過人之處,除了蜂蜜、杏脯、蜜桃及檸檬果味外,更有由貴腐菌帶來的陳皮芬芳。酒內雖然糖份高,但卻有相對高的酸度作為平衡,加上經過橡木桶存放,酒身結構複雜,口感豐厚,有著濃重豐滿的風格,持續、細膩而溫暖,喝後齒頰留香。

我們最常見以貴腐酒搭配鵝肝、藍乾酪及少數種類的堅果。另外也能與川菜、湘菜和泰國菜搭配,能中和辣味,呼應甜酸滋味,果香包裹着貴腐菌特有的香氣從鼻腔到口腔,平衡的酸度讓酒濃而不膩。除了甜味,平衡的酸度也是考量高品質貴腐酒的關鍵。然而貴腐酒須注意避免和可可含量高的巧克力、咖啡等食物一起食用,因為它會將那種濃郁的香味蓋過,不過與其他清淡的甜品相配卻是天作之合。
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Tokaji wine is a result of coincidence. As the Turkish army edged close to the Tokaj wine region in Hungary in 1650, the farmers left their grapes and escaped. They did not return until early November, when the weather had become cooler and grapes shrunk. They found a thin layer of white mold on the grapes, but had no choice so just use them to make wine. Surprisingly, the resulting drink tasted exceptionally rich.Nowadays, Tokaj has been named a UNESCO heritage site to celebrate its unique land-use culture. Wine produced there is often compared to those produced in the Sauternais region in Bordeaux, France.

In the early 18th century, King Louis XVI received some Tokaji wines as present. He liked it so much that he called it the “King of Wines and the Wine of Kings”. The wine was then served regularly in the French Royal court at Versailles. When Tokaji wine reached the Russian Imperial Court, Peter the Great and Empress Elizabeth, and Catherine the Great became great consumers of the wine. Catherine the Great even established a Russian garrison in the town of Tokaj to assure regular wine delivers to St. Petersburg. Popularity spread across European noble families, musicians and poets.

The fungus responsible for the white mold is called noble rot. As the grapes shrink, the sugar content becomes more concentrated and fragrance more honey-like. Of all grapes, it only happens to sémillon,furmint and sauvignon blanc, making production only possible in a few regions and prices high. When Tokaji wine is first ready, it is golden in color, but as it ages, it becomes brownish yellow, and then amber.

Apart from the aromas of honey, apricot, peach and lemon, the mold brings a hint of dried citrus skin to the wine. Although the sugar content is high, Tokaji wine does not taste overwhelmingly sweet, as it is at the same time quite acidic. The wine is aged in barrels, and the palate is complex and rich.

The most common pairing food is foie gras, blue cheese and a few types of nuts. Also goes very well with Sichuan, Hunan and Thai cuisines, as the sweetness, fruitiness and acidity beautifully balances the spiciness. Dark chocolate and coffee are to be avoided as they would mask the rich flavors of Takaji wine. Light desserts are great though.
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