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2014-07-08    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

“I bet you think we’re crazy,” said Jean-Guillaume Prats ruefully. The CEO in charge of LVMH’s project to make the best wine in China was looking at the rudimentary building site – many a hairpin bend above the Mekong River and four hours’ white-knuckle drive from the nearest airport – that will be Moët Hennessy’s winery and guest lodge. Tibetan women were working with pulleys and wheelbarrows. The electricity supply was far from reliable. We were at an altitude about 20 times higher than the highest vineyard in Bordeaux. Prats then resumed his interrogation of Stephen Deng, the estate director, as to whether the buildings could really be ready in time for the scheduled opening in September.
“我敢说你们肯定觉得我们脑子进水了,”让-纪尧姆•普拉(Jean-Guillaume Prats)苦笑着说。这位在中国负责为路威酩轩(LVMH)酿造顶级葡萄酒的CEO眺望着开工不久的建筑工地,那儿将成为酩悦轩尼诗(Moët Hennessy)的酿酒厂与客栈所在地。若要抵达那儿,得绕过澜沧江(Mekong River,出中国国境后叫湄公河)河谷上的诸多险弯,到最近的机场需要4个小时心惊肉跳的车程。藏族妇女正用滑轮与独轮手推车在工地上忙碌着。这儿时常停电,我们所处的海拔约是波尔多地势最高葡萄园的20倍之多。而后普拉继续问酒庄总经理邓思迪(Stephen Deng):所有建筑是否能赶在今年9月份酒庄正式开张前完工。

If they are not, it is Deng who stands to lose most face. While Bordelais Maxence Dulou is in charge of the vines and wines, Deng has to keep local government and other relevant bodies, all 23 of them, happy. On the day of our visit he was suddenly called away to meet a representative of one of them to reassure him that the project would indeed bring great prestige to this remote corner of the Himalayan foothills in Deqin county in Diqing prefecture, at the western limit of the province of Yunnan, 35km from Tibet’s border.
如若不能按期完工,届时大失颜面的将是邓思迪。尽管杜鲁(Bordelais Maxence Dulou)是酒庄总管,但邓思迪得负责协调好与当地政府及相关机构(总共有23家之多)之间的关系。就在我们参观工地的那天,他突然又被叫走,去会见政府机构的一位代表,旨在给对方吃定心丸:这个合作项目的确会大大提升喜马拉雅山麓(Himalayan)这个偏僻旮旯地区的知名度。这儿是云南省最西部的迪庆州德钦县(Deqin county in Diqing prefecture),距离西藏自治区地界只有35公里。

The story begins with a conundrum. China has a burgeoning future as a wine producer and consumer but all Chinese wine regions have one major disadvantage. They are either, like Shandong on the east coast, so wet in summer that it is a struggle to harvest fully ripe, healthy grapes – or they are so cold in winter, like Ningxia, where Moët Hennessy recently established a sparkling wine operation, that the vines have to be laboriously buried every autumn to protect them from freezing to death. Quite apart from the damage it can do to vines, the continuing urbanisation of China suggests that eventually this may become rather expensive. It was the fact that Yunnan is free of both these disadvantages that led me to ask Moët if I could come and see for myself.

Moët Hennessy had bought a producer of the Chinese spirit baijiu in 2007 and went on to see China become their most lucrative market overall. Thus they learnt how to operate joint ventures there and were keen to deepen their involvement in China’s famous thirst for alcoholic drinks. Accordingly, they gave Dr Tony Jordan, a wine scientist who had just stepped back from full-time responsibility for their Australian and New Zealand operations, four years to find a place where they stood the best chance of making world-class red wine. Jordan was keen to avoid the winter freeze problem and recommended the low-latitude-plus-high-altitude combination that has proved so successful for them in Argentina, which he eventually found in these tiny villages with a few vineyards in the far west of Yunnan. He narrowed down his search to the southwest after talking to China’s top wine academics and painstaking climate analysis.
酩悦轩尼诗集团于2007年买下了一家中国白酒厂,进而看到中国成为了公司最为赢利的市场。集团因而学会了如何创建合资葡萄酒厂,并且希望能不断深入开拓中国市场,满足其国民对于酒类产品的狂热需求。于是,集团给予刚从澳新市场全权负责人位置上退居二线的葡萄酒专家托尼•乔丹博士(Dr Tony Jordan) 4年时间,请他找寻一块能酿制出顶级红葡萄酒的地方。乔丹博士希望能解决葡萄树冬天受冻的问题,于是推荐了低纬度与高海拔并举的办法(此法在阿根廷已大获成功),他最后找到了云南最西部种着少量葡萄树的这几个小村庄。他是与中国顶级的葡萄酒专家接洽、自己又做了艰苦仔细的气候分析后,才把搜寻目标缩小至中国的西南边陲。

From 1999 the local government had encouraged the Tibetan farmers here to switch from barley to vines on the few terraces flat enough for cultivation in the narrow upper Mekong and Yangtse Valleys, as part of a program to develop remote parts of China. According to Deng, “The Deqin government persuaded some local farmers to plant 150 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, using subsidies to farmers as an economic incentive.” A winery named after the old Tibetan town of Shangri-La, which had previously focused on the very different liquid that is Tibetan barley wine, was persuaded to process the grapes in exchange for being granted a monopoly on all Yunnan grapes. (There is one exception to the monopoly: the Sun Spirit estate run by a local mining magnate a few miles downriver of the Moët project, whose sweet red and white wines fetch quite high prices in Beijing.) As so often, it was missionaries, French in this case, who originally brought the vine to the region, here a non-vinifera variety called Rose Honey that is still made into distinctly odd sweet reds by the province’s only other winery, Yunnan Red.
从1999年起,作为开发中国偏僻落后地区计划的一部分,当地政府就鼓励藏族农户在澜沧江与金沙江上游的狭窄河谷(Yangtse Valleys)中少量平坦坡地上改种葡萄(而非原先的大麦)。邓思迪说,“德钦县政府把农业补贴当作经济激励进行派发,成功说服当地藏民种植了150公顷的赤霞珠(Cabernet Sauvignon)葡萄。”政府说服香格里拉酒厂(Shangri-La,名字取自藏族古镇香格里拉,原先主要酿造截然不同的藏式大麦酒)改酿葡萄酒,条件是垄断云南境内全部葡萄的酿制权。(只有一个例外:顺着澜沧江河谷、距离酩悦合资酒庄几英里远的地方,当地矿业巨头经营的Sun Spirit酒庄,酿造的甜红与甜白葡萄酒在北京卖出了高价。)中国的葡萄酒酿制业通常由传教士传入,云南的葡萄种植最初则是由法国传教士引进来,如今这儿仍种着一种名为玫瑰蜜(Rose Honey)的非酿酒用葡萄,云南另外一家葡萄酒厂——云南红葡萄酒厂(Yunnan Red)——则把它酿制成了特甜红葡萄酒。

Thanks to the mountainous terrain, the vineyards here are all small and dispersed. After leaving climate sensors in all the villages he thought had potential, and returning to taste grapes during the 2011 and 2012 harvests, Jordan identified four villages he thought stood the greatest chance of growing good-quality grapes. After much negotiation, Moët have taken a 50-year lease on the four villages and the relevant farmers’ input, making a total of 30 hectares of vines – in no fewer than 320 different blocks. Much of Maxence Dulou’s time is spent liaising with the dozens of farmers involved, persuading them to focus on wine quality rather than grape quantity. Dulou, who has worked in South Africa, Chile and Burgundy, told me: “Tibetans are very good farmers and sometimes find solutions to our practical viticultural problems themselves. They make a very good team and are extremely proficient.”

Needless to say, the grapes are virtually all Cabernet, Merlot with a little Chardonnay, as is the unimaginative Chinese norm. But being grown at such high altitudes, between 2,200m and 2,700m, they have skins that have proved usefully thick for the long journey south to the Shangri-La winery where the 2013 grapes were vilified. This year, with luck, they will travel only as far as Adong, the highest village, where the winery and lodge are being built.

Because Adong and the other three villages are so inaccessible, the winery has been designed to be practical: no fancy computers that may need spare parts or engineers shipped in. To reach it from Shanghai you have to fly three hours to Yunnan’s capital Kunming (where the rail station massacre took place earlier this year), then an hour over the mountains to Shangri-La, then four hours along the twisting road, avoiding fallen rocks and jockeying with trucks carrying Tibetan iron ore into China and pilgrims on their way to Lhasa. Each village is a hair-raising climb on tracks so rough I cannot imagine trucks full of grapes making it but locals must be made of stern stuff.

Adong is relatively lively, with people sitting outside the village café under flapping prayer flags, playing cards and waving as we passed in two white Land Cruisers. We also visited Shuori, the village thought to have the greatest potential for quality grapes. Moët has leased every vine they could get their hands on in this extraordinary settlement. There was no one to be seen and no sounds other than fast-flowing water and the hum of insects. Even though the vineyards were surrounded by substantial houses, all we saw were butterflies, walnut trees and promising, well-tended vines awaiting their spring growth. Perhaps the Shuorians were all off gathering mushrooms: Dulou has to vie with the profusion of funghi in these mountains when trying to recruit for the vineyards.
阿东村还算热闹,几个村民正坐在飘舞经幡柱下的村咖啡屋外打牌,看到我们乘坐的两辆丰田白色陆地巡洋舰(Land Cruiser)经过时,还向我们挥手示意。我们还造访了Shuori村,据信这儿最适合种植优质葡萄。在这片不同凡响的净土世界,酩悦集团把能搞到的每一棵葡萄树悉数租下。除了湍急的河水与昆虫的低鸣声外,这儿不见一人,万籁俱寂。虽然葡萄园四周都是结实的房屋,但我们只看到飞舞的蝴蝶、核桃树以及经过悉心打理、长势喜人的葡萄园。Shuori村民或许都已到山上去采摘蘑菇:杜鲁商讨葡萄园租赁事宜时,还得力阻村民采摘漫山遍野的蘑菇。

Although the nights in the mountains are cool, the upper reaches of the Mekong Valley have similar summer temperatures to Bordeaux. They are so protected from the cold and monsoons that affect Yunnan to the east that summer rainfall is only about two-thirds that of Bordeaux. But there is no shortage of potential irrigation water in terrain that is dramatically overlooked by the snow-covered Himalayas. Autumns are also drier, so grapes can be left to ripen on the vines longer. This will probably make up for the fact that, in such narrow valleys, the vines are in sunshine for fewer hours per day. And in the dry mountain air they are plagued by fewer pests and diseases than in Bordeaux.

There are advantages to the somewhat unlikely big company connection. Dulou’s chief viticulturist had just returned from a study trip to Moët’s Argentine operation Terrazas de los Andes. And when it came to making the trial vilifications of the first, 2013 vintage, Dulou was able to use the neutral earthenware jars traditionally employed by the company’s baijiu producer in Chengdu – once he had invented special floating lids for them that would keep harmful oxygen out of the wine to be fermented.
大公司强强联合(从某种程度说不太可能)具有明显优势。杜鲁的首席葡萄栽培师刚从酩悦位于阿根廷的安地斯之阶酒庄(Terrazas de los Andes)考察回来。试酿首批葡萄酒(即2013年份酒)时,杜鲁在发明了隔绝氧气、防止酒发酵的特制浮动盖子后,使用中性陶罐(原先用于公司在成都的白酒酿造厂)来酿制葡萄酒。

I tasted six lots of these experimental 2013 reds and was very impressed by five of them – quite an achievement since only a few days before I had tasted 53 of China’s better wines. They are first and foremost mountain wines, with the dense color and vivid, finely etched flavors that you find in the high-altitude wines of Argentina or even in the best of Spain’s Ribera del Duero wines grown at a mere 300m or 400m. But the most exciting thing for me was that the oak influence on most of the samples was minimal. I tasted wines influenced by the pure vineyard characters, fully ripe but well balanced with real, confident, unique personalities of their own.
我品尝了6种试酿的2013年红葡萄酒,对其中的5种印象深刻——这是相当了不起的成就,因为就在几天前,我刚品了中国的53款上乘葡萄酒。这6款葡萄酒首先是货真价实的山区酒——颜色浓稠,而且具有阿根廷高海拔葡萄酒那种精心酿制的醇厚味,甚至可以与西班牙海拔300-400米杜罗河区(Ribera del Duero)酿制的美酒相媲美。但最动人心魄的莫过于橡木塞对样酒的影响微乎其微。我品鉴的美酒混然天成——不但葡萄自然长熟,而且与率真、自信以及独特个性的酿酒师珠联璧合。

The project has no name yet, nor a definite launch date. No decision has been taken as to whether to launch with the experimental 2013s or to wait for the 2014s in which the Shangri-La winery will be involved as a transactional intermediary only, thanks to that monopoly agreement. But Dulou wants to retain at least some earthenware jar influence, as being a distinctly local ingredient. Not that in a landscape like this, both natural and human, there is any shortage of distinctive local character.

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