品酒神皿
Wine-tasting Grail

子曰:“ 工欲善其事,必先利其器”,這道理也適手於葡萄酒界。若將一瓶拉菲或羅曼尼.康帝以普通水杯甚至塑膠杯盛載,則絕對不能發揮酒的最高質素,這樣把美酒糟蹋,實與焚琴煮鶴無異。極致的酒也得配上極度精緻的酒具,才能把品酒的官感推至頂峰。
A glass is more than a container in wine tasting. Pouring a bottle of Lafite or Romanée-Conti into a water glass or plastic cup amounts to an insult to the art of wine, as the nuances of fine wine can only be fully appreciated in an exquisite glass.

text: 蒲東

說到專業葡萄酒杯,大家第一時間可能想起奧地利的醴鐸,又或是被譽為水杯界勞斯萊斯的德國品牌詩杯客樂、還有其同鄉——專業水晶製造集團肖特聖維莎.克拉西奧。但其實在這些品牌之上,還有皇室專用的巴卡拉。

巴卡拉之尊貴地位,在於開創品牌的,正是法國國王路易十五,最初他決定在洛林開設一間玻璃工作坊,旨在打造法國皇室御用水晶銘器;因為品質優良,往後連英國、俄國、印度皇室都變成此此品牌的愛用者。

有著法國皇室血統的巴卡拉酒杯自然價格不菲,一只酒杯索價千元人民幣以上是等閒事,當中巴卡拉專為羅曼尼.康帝葡萄酒設計的羅曼尼康帝品鑒杯,在設計造型、容量、杯口直徑、杯緣吹製的處理以及杯壁的厚度,都是以“ 酒在入口時的最先接觸點”為考慮,據說能把羅曼尼.康帝葡萄酒的風味發揮到極致。

說到開瓶器,若Coravin走在開瓶器的科技最尖端,那英國人Rob Higgs所發明的“The Corkscrew”,就恰恰是回工業革命的機械開瓶器。 Rob使用了農場及廢料場所搜集到的250個銅製組件裝嵌,製成一個藝術品級數的開瓶器,只要攪動把手,精妙的機械就會分毫不差地把酒塞開掉再把酒斟到酒杯中,整個過程十分“ 好玩”。想把這件好玩的藝術品帶回家?除了需要高昂的製作費,半年的等待時間也少不了。

要喝年份較新的酒,用醒酒瓶就可以減少醒酒的時間。(雖然很多專家都說上等的紅酒最好是原瓶醒酒)市面上的醒酒瓶五花八門,醴鐸也推出了不少精品,但若稱得為藝術品的,就必須提到法國藝術家Etienne Meneau的人手吹製的醒酒瓶。他以心臟、血管及樹根為靈感,吹製出一隻又一隻就如藝術品的水晶醒酒瓶,有一些是作為雕塑陳列,有一些可以實際使用,作為酒癡的你問那些又長又窄的“ 血管”在盛過酒後應怎樣清洗? Etienne Meneau說它的水晶醒酒瓶非常耐熱,可以用熱水沖洗後倒掛令水慢慢充流出。但我想,買得起這系列醒酒瓶的人,很多都不會捨得使用,而是把它當成陳列品吧!

The Corkscrew 機械開瓶器
The Mechanic Corkscrew

Brands that often come to mind when speaking of glasses include Riedel from Austria and Spiegelau and Schott Zwiesel from Germany. Spiegelau is said to be the Rolls-Royce of glasses, while Scott Zwieselis known for its crystal products. However,on top of these is Baccarat, a Royal Warrant holder.

Baccarat’s prestigious status had been established from its beginning. It was the decision of King Louis XV of France to set up a glass workshop in the Lorraine region to make crystal containers for the French royalty. With its superb quality, the workshop’s reputation quickly spread and it was soon commissioned to produce glasses for other royalty and heads of state, such as those in Britain, Russia and India.

Wine glasses from the blue-blood Baccarat do not come cheap, with the price for a single glass often exceeding RMB1,000. The Dégustation Romanée Conti Glass is a highlight of the brand’s products. The making of the namesake glass takes into consideration the way the wine flows from the glass to the taste buds, resulting in its unique shape,volume and rim design. The diameter of the opening and thickness of glass are also carefully measured to bring out the character of Romanée-Conti in an unparalleled fashion.

For corkscrews, if Coravin is the icon of technology, Rob Higg’s sculpture“The Corkscrew” signifies a return to the mechanical era of the Industrial Revolution. It was made with 250 savaged copper parts the British artist collected from farms and scrapyards. Operated by a turning handle, the machine accurately opens the wine and pours it into the glass. To bring the fun artwork home, be prepared to pay a high fee as well as to wait for at least 6 months while it is being put together.

A decanter can reduce the decanting time for younger wine (although many experts agree that high-quality wine should be decanted in the bottle). There is no lack of options in the market and Riedel has produced some exquisite ones. However, it is French artist Etienne Meneau who has added a creative touch to it. Taking inspiration from the heart, blood vessels and tree roots, Meneau breathes life into the crystal. Some are for display only, but some can be put in to use. As for how to clean out the long and narrow “vessels” after use, the artist said the heat-resistant containers can be rinsed with hot water and hung to dry. However, I guess most who can afford such beautiful decanters will not even want to use them. They make such charming decoration!

巴卡拉葡萄酒杯
Baccarat wine glasses