The Best Everyday Wine Is...

The Best Everyday Wine Is...

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In the Shanghai Wine Bar Guide we posted Tuesday night, I have, more than happily, confessed that during the past year, 80% of my liquor quota has been devoted to wine.

Tasting a bottle of wine is like watching a movie or reading a book - all the untravelled lands, unlived lives and unseen beauties, condensed in a bottle of fermented juices across time and universe, lure you into exploring the unexperienced world. Some so strange and some so enticing, that for the time being you almost can't wait to tramp over hill and dale in search of these frangrant tales, to witness the birth of these souls.

在昨天的上海小酒馆指南里,我已经大方承认了一件事情:我最近这一年80%的酒量,都给了葡萄酒。

喝啊喝啊喝,忽然就懂了它好玩在哪里:

酒啊,就像电影和小说,你没去过的地方,没见过的风景,没经历过的生活,穿越时光和距离,浓缩在一瓶瓶酒里;还有一些酒,尝过就忘不掉,香气萦绕,让人想漂洋过海、翻山越岭,去寻它的灵魂所在。

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Only if we could drink this everyday, living this ebauchery yet undeniably a dreaming lifestyle...but I simply don't want it. 

Why? Okay I'll explain. So, I'm food blogger and people tend to fantasize our lives, "You have the best job in the world! I envy you so much! " "You food bloggers eat fanciest stuff only, for EVERY SINGLE meal!"

Okay, it's a wrong impression! 

I still remember that chilly late autumn day in New York. Deadlines were prodding me so hard that I had to gulp four sets of tasting menus down my stomach in a few days. As I rushed out of the door of that last restaurant, full and dizzy. Staggering a few hundred meters, just before we caught a cab, I couldn't help but threw up in the street, finally feeling somewhat relieved.

That was a nightmare, man. 

但是,我却并不想每天都喝这样的酒。

为什么?我来给你举个更直观的栗子:我常常听到很多人表示,很羡慕我作为食评人的工作,羡慕每顿饭都吃得又贵又好。

完全不是那么回事。

记得有一次,适逢纽约深秋,迫于截稿压力连夯四顿 Tasting Menu,好容易熬到最后一顿,吃完出门受了冷风,哇得一声吐在路边花坛里……当时之惨状,一起吃饭的好友龙荻可以作证。

如今想来,简直是噩梦。

▲ Pear & Suet Pudding, simple but beautiful   @Phenix, The PuLi Hotel

▲ Pear & Suet Pudding, simple but beautiful

@Phenix, The PuLi Hotel

In fact, tasting menus at fine-dinings could only be a once-in-a-while spur, even for people like me. Watching food porns every day is like riding a roller coaster, or falling in love with a disastrous drama queen - it wears you out. Real life only embeds in simplicity; From the everyday ordinariness, the same-old sh*t you've been through, rise the feelings of true comfort.

And only so can the best food, the best wine or best people become the best. 

再好的东西,顿顿都来,也会食之无趣。每天都吃大菜、喝大酒,或者,爱上一个但求轰轰烈烈的戏精,不累死才怪。真正的生活,并不需要每天都被感动,简简单单,平平淡淡,心里却踏实得很。

也正因如此,那些最好吃的食物、最好喝的酒和最美好的人,才真正让人难以忘怀。

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I would loyally vote for Australia if asked to pick an everyday wine.

The Southern Hemisphere continent holds a significant place in the map of new world wines and a  special spot in my heart. Most people remember Australian wine for its drinkability - the genial sunshine, the morning mist, and the winding coastline and valleys preserved in bottles, thanks tothe diverse terrior, made it straightfoward, honest yet full of surprises. 

Price is an additional plus. It won't burn half of your monthly earning out in a wink even if you go with the expensive ones.

如果要我选,最适合日常的葡萄酒,大概是澳洲酒。

在新世界酒的版图里,澳洲酒是很特别的。大多数人对于它的印象,是比较容易喝,但澳洲得天独厚的自然环境,却赋予了它多样的风格,从海岸到山谷,从阳光和煦到晨雾缭绕,无尽的风土变化,都被忠实地保留了下来。

还有一个特别大的优点:价格喜人。即便是贵酒,也并不是那种贵到喝一口半个月工资没有了的类型……

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The very first Australian wine that swayed my mind (No, it's not yellow tail. ), was Port Philips Estate Red Hill 2012, a beautiful Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula.

With its rather sophisticated aroma and silky texture, this sweetly balanced 200 Kuai "strawberry jam" turned out to be a surprisingly charming baby. No wonder James Halliday gave the Chateau a 5 star rating and named it the best of 2012!

What would happen if it was a 100+ kuai Burgundy? Honestly, I don't find it very inviting. 

第一瓶真正让我记住的澳洲酒(并不是黄袋鼠!),是产自莫宁顿半岛(Mornington)的一瓶 Pinot Noir,Port Philips Estate Red Hill 2012

有着复杂香气、顺滑口感的”草莓果酱“,甜美平衡,意外迷人,200块都不到的零售价格,简直令人感动。也难怪澳洲国宝酒评人 James Halliday 老爷爷 给了酒庄红五星,还钦点它做2012年的最佳酒庄。

换成100多块的勃艮第……画面太美,我不敢喝。

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I discovered an interesting fact through my trip to several Australia wine estates earlier this year: foods in these estates are exceptional, essentially well-blanced with their house wines.

Despite being readily accessible, Australian wines excel in pairing with food. Some recent dining experience blew my mind completely.

这种价格,第一反应就是,拿来配吃的好啦!!!

餐酒不分家,最早说的就是西餐和葡萄酒;在某种程度上,葡萄酒在西方人餐桌上不可撼动的一席之地,甚至很大程度决定了西餐的口味发展。今年早些时候去澳洲兜了几个酒庄,发现了一件有意思的事:澳洲酒庄里的餐厅普遍好吃,跟自家的酒也很般配。

除了性价比高,澳洲酒也是真的很适合配餐。讲讲最近我自己觉得惊艳的几次搭配:

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Earlier in August, a sommelier at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo picked a Yering Station Chardonnay (from Yarra Valley) to pair with my bowl of savory and pliable mushroom tortellinis. Blended coherently into the earthy truffle and sturdy creamy emulsion, the wine was just blooming as I delightfully gulped it down.

夏末去了 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo,吃到这一盆鲜味霸气、皮子柔韧蘑菇小馄饨,侍酒师跳开意大利酒,出其不意地配了一支来自雅拉谷(Yarra Valley)Yering Station的霞多丽,浑厚坚实的奶油香,搭配蘑菇的鲜味与地气,浑然一体。

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In Singapore this year, I came across this 2015 Barossa Valley Viognier Cloudy Orange Wine at Burnt Ends, a new local hit specializing in Australian BBQ. The wine had smooth and rich body with a hint of grease comparable to mead, and meanwhile not short of complexity and tartness of any kind. It makes a perfect match to the pictured Baked Scallion in Truffled Hazelnut, or even Pork Belly!

新加坡大热的澳洲烤肉店 Burnt Ends,喝到这支来自南部Barossa Valley、以Voignier酿造的浑浊橘酒(2015 Kalleske Plenarius Viognier),喝来有种蜂蜜酒油叽叽的口感,圆润顺滑,香气复杂得不是一点点,却又不乏酸度,是的,搭配松露榛子烤大葱或烤五花肉,都能 Hold 住~

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Another orange Chardonnay from Margaret River, L.A.S. Vino was brought to Old Jesse Tianping Rdto accompany my favorite Shanghainese food, namely shredded tripes, braised yellow croaker and lardy big wontons. The Chardonnay gave everyone at table a lovely night!

另一支来自玛格丽特河L.A.S. Vino的霞多丽橘酒,被带去了天平路老吉士吃上海菜,肚丝、红烧黄鱼、猪油大馄饨,全程无压力……

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Then it was the rarely seen 100% Pinot Meunier(2015 Murdoch Hill Pinot Meunier Surrey) I encountered in Shanghai natural wine bar Vinism, brewed in the mountains of Adelaide. Light-bodied, acidic laced with aromatic berry, happily wolfed down together with a plate of 8-year-old Chaoshan goose meat.

最近在上海自然酒吧Vinism喝过一支纯的Pinot Meunier(2015 Murdoch Hill Pinot Meunier Surrey),来自阿德莱德山里,高酸度的轻盈酒体,透着丰富的莓果果香,一盘潮汕8年老鹅肉,几口酒就吃完了!

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But my favorite one by far is this Single Block Chardonnay carried all the way back from Oakridge Wines, consumed at one of the best yakitori spots in town (鸟啸)! Pairing it with tenderly roasted chicken skewers, especially with some succulent Chicken butt, is almost to die for!!!

It is not much a coincidence if you look into why Australian wines match so well with complex Asian cuisine, especially Chinese.

不过我最喜欢的,还是我从澳洲酒庄一路背回上海的 Oakridge 单一田霞多丽,搭了最近市区内异常火爆的烧鸟店鸟啸……和各种烤鸡肉,特别是肥美可人的鸡尾,简直是天作之合呀!!!

你大概也发现了,澳洲酒和复合味型的亚洲菜,特别是中餐,好像很配呢?

其实并不是巧合。

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Australian vignerons sometimes pick grapes fresh before they go fully ripe. Many producing areas, including the aforementioned Mornington Peninsula and Margaret River adopt such practice to preserve the fruitiness that makes their wine more drinkable and pairable. The shifting climate of the continent grants its wine complexity, which happens to share the same quality as Chinese food.

Quote from the Wine and Dine Awards hosted by Wine Australia last week. 

澳洲的许多酒农,会趁葡萄还保有新鲜果味时,及时采摘下来,在上面提到过的莫宁顿半岛、玛格丽特河等很多产区,都能看到类似的做法。而澳洲酒之所以容易喝、适宜配餐,很大程度上,正要感谢这纯净而美好的果味;而澳洲多变的风土,又赋予了澳洲酒迷人的多样性,搭配复杂多变的中餐,就不在话下啦~

上面这段话,是我从上周举办的Wine Australia的美酒美食嘉年华上偷师来的。

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It was a lucky day. By 2:30pm of the day, I had already sampled all the top wines from the ten wine regions in Australia, greeted the head winemaker of Oakridge Wines, and enrolled in a Master Class tutored by Fongyee Walker, the first Master of Wine in Mainland, and Yang Lv, the first Master Sommelier in Mainland!

不仅下午2点半就喝遍了澳洲十大产区、遇见了最近才刚写过的Oakridge Wines 的主酿酒师 David Bicknell,还参加了一堂由中国大陆首位葡萄酒大师赵凤仪老师和首位侍酒师大师吕杨老师联袂带来的大师班,主题特别适合我:当中国美食遇上澳洲美酒

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The topic couldn‘t suit me better either: when Chinese food meets Australian wine.

After our numerous experiments to make sparkling Rosé work with garlic steamed scallops, or to use some tangy fruity Pinot Noir to offset the grease and spice from Sichuan Saliva Chicken, I still found it mindblowing when a chunk of Shanghainese braised pork belly was tamed by a Tasmanian sparkling...it was pure magic. 

When Ms. Walker shared her secret recipe: sparkling shiraz for Northeastern food, I immediately started fantasizing a double cooked pork slices and dried tofu and Korean BBQ wine party in my brain. Dope.

尝过气泡桃红配蒜蓉蒸带子,还尝试了用酸甜果味的黑皮诺去平衡口水鸡的油和辣,让我觉得最有趣的一道搭配,是塔斯马尼亚的气泡酒,竟把一块油光可鉴的本帮红烧肉制得服服帖帖……

而赵老师的私心分享更是绝妙:东北菜配 Sparkling Shiraz,当场开始幻想锅包肉尖椒干豆腐朝鲜烤肉起泡红酒趴!

不过最让我印象深刻的还是吕杨老师的一句话:

But Mr Lv said something most provoking that I can't agree more:

Wine pairing is not about food but people

配菜的时候,不是配菜而是配人。

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Drinking is an enjoyable journey of discovery. Textbooks as references would be boring to follow as strict guidelines. The best way to tackle the fickle wine world is by going through your own insticts as you keep trying - it is to not disdain the popular, or to embrace the niche to be able to locate the comfort zone of your tastebud. And when it comes to pairing, nothing matters more than your heart.

Now, which Australian wine is your special kind?

喝酒这件事,本身就是享受发现的乐趣,教科书固然重要,但太拘泥书本或理论就没劲了。葡萄酒世界五花八门,不论你喜欢哪种酿酒风格,钟情哪款葡萄风味,其实都在于你自己的判断,可以去跟随流行,也可以尝试小众风格,至于什么酒搭配什么餐,亦是丰俭由人,重要的还是,你喜欢。

哈哈哈,喜欢单饮黑皮诺,爱用香槟或泡泡酒搭配一切菜的我,大概是懒 + 浮夸吧?恩,十分符合我们🦁座的人设。

特别的你,又最钟情哪款特别的澳洲酒呢?

Written by Xiaoyi Liu aka 喜北

Translated to English by Judy

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