Tag: Sommelier

The Wine Goddess’ guide on becoming a Goddess

It wouldn’t surprise me if I randomly flip open a woman magazine or take a dip into any online girl talk chatterbox, I’d stumble across a handful of “lighthouse” posts. These how-to articles seek to guide the many poor, lost single souls across the rough sea of love, share recipes on how to brew lasting relationships and, alas, in Asia particularly we like to talk about how to become a goddess. Yes, reboot your system and install OS Goddess for the 2014 perfect girl updates. 200 years ago women fit in by fitting themselves into corsets. Nowadays, they fit themselves into the ever-changing social formula of success that painstakingly adds together a virtual corset, unexpired beauty, brains and benevolence et cetera. Humpf.

And then I met the Wine Goddess. She’s no obscure Greek citizen from Homer’s Odyssey, rather she’s the proud guardian of Bin 702, a quaint, Midwestern-looking boutique wine and beer bar located in Container Park, a hip area in Downtown Las Vegas where young people, art and local designers congregate. Recently, Bin 702 joined an army of the restaurant industry’s elites and became one of 2014 Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence recipients. In just one-and-a-half year time, Kathleen Lilly aka Wine Goddess turns this off-Strip chic wine concept into an address for creative food and beverage pairings and guaranteed fun. Over sips of beers and ciders (not wines, surprisingly?), we set sail into Kathleen’s past, retracing her vinous voyage over the past years.


Kathleen Lilly is no Lighthouse post kind of Goddess. Becoming a goddess is not an achievement, instead it is a form of commitment, inspired by another passion of hers: belly dancing. In the belly dancing community, a goddess refers to a woman who lives to empower and enable herself and others. Feminism is at the core of the Goddess’ living philosophy; it motivates one to be fun, carefree, feminine, beautiful and exotic. This by no means is a recipe, the essence of becoming a Goddess is the ability to shape your own form, find your own zen and define your own being. This tribal definition of Goddess is little known outside the circle, and Kathleen has met curious faces, just as much as rolling eyes, when she exchanges business cards with others. Well, how many Wine Goddesses have you ever met?

“Wine saves my life,” Kathleen confessed. She credited wine as one of the things that helped her rediscover the purpose of life. Kathleen dabbled into the food and beverage industry when she joined the management programme at Bellagio Las Vegas. Upon graduation, she met Bellagio’s wine director, Rob Bigelow, who ushered her down the road of studying about wines. By year 2009, Kathleen has done her introductory wine training with Court of Master Sommeliers, and was offered a sommelier job at Bellagio. “During that time I was going through my not-feeling-like-a-goddess period,” Kathleen turned down the offer, thinking that she was not good enough to fulfill the expectations of the role. Same year, she moved on to Aria Las Vegas where she continued to focus on restaurant management.


When Bin 702 opened up in December 2013, Kathleen took the helm and gradually built an award-winning wine list with over 100 selections, featuring a wide array of quality producers and putting lesser-known varieties like Gruner Veltliner, Arneis and others on the tap! Whether you belong to the 60% loyal regulars or 40% curious first-timers that visit the Bin everyday, Kathleen will be there whisking you through an odyssey of 13 to 14 different wines, all conveniently on the tap so to make wine tasting a fun adventure that doesn’t hurt your wallet (too much).

I find myself secretly wanting to become a Wine Goddess myself, so I ask Kathleen what it takes to be a Wine Goddess. “You need patience, and commitment to your work. Even if you are having a crappy day, regardless you have to detach yourself from how you feel and try to give your guest the best dining experience. Oh, and you have to appreciate yourself.” No Greek-inspired chiffon breezy dress? For the record, on the day of the interview Kathleen was wearing a black sleek dress with a funky neckpiece, reminding me of an avant-garde version of the Valkyries from Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.

“Every person is his or her own study case,” Kathleen pointed out. After all, the Wine Goddess denied me a conclusive answer on what makes a Wine Goddess. To Kathleen, Goddess is her optimal modus operandi of being a wine ambassador. Having faith in herself, embracing lifelong learning and respecting all those she comes across is Kathleen’s Holy Trinity. This is how a sassy, outspoken New Jersey girl evolves into a Goddess. We need more Goddesses like that, Amen.

Picture 1:Kathleen Lilly brings the concept of “Goddess” from belly dancing culture to the world of wines
Picture 2:Bin 702, a hip wine and beer bar located in Container Park, Downtown Las Vegas

Kathleen Lilly


試想像為男友買襯衣,他的提議是:「只要好看、易襯,formal得來又不要太formal便好了!」也許他一心希望給你最大的自由度,但其實卻令你完全沒方向感。真討厭,那你該為他買Dior Homme的黑色暗紋Slim Fit還是Paul Smith 的灰藍印花白襯衣呢?我收到女友人查問我如何選酒的時候,情況相若:「只要好喝,易入口,dry得來又不要太dry 便好了!」這些表面看來簡單得很的要求,往往因為它們過於空泛的關係,反而教我頭疼。

今天跟大家分享5條選酒should ask,即使完全不諳葡萄酒術語的女生,也能根據自己喜歡的水果及衣料質感,令店員或侍酒師可以成功為你挑出一款教你喜出望外的葡萄酒!我們到專賣店買酒或餐廳點酒,都該期待負責人員能詳細回答這5條問題,因為他們都曾接受專業訓練。所謂最基本的品酒技巧,就是在聞嚐一杯葡萄酒後,能回答這5條問題 。

1. 這款葡萄酒的味道以甚麼顏色的水果為主?


6類葡萄酒中易找到的果香,以白酒來說是酸果(青蘋果、西柚、檸檬、橙、桔等)、石果(蜜桃、桃駁李、杏桃)和熱帶水果(香蕉、芒果、木瓜、菠蘿等)。紅酒來說,主要找到的果香分別為:紅果(車厘子、紅莓、士多啤梨等)、藍果(藍莓、波森莓 [Boysenberry]、越橘莓等)和黑果(布冧、黑加侖子、黑莓等)。舉例說,如果你喜歡石果的話,我會向你推介來自較溫暖氣候的葡萄酒,Chardonnay的話可以選擇來自法國Macon酒區或美國Napa酒區等,喜歡酸果的我會選來自冷一點的地方,如法國Chablis酒區的出品。

2. 這款紅葡萄酒的丹寧像甚麼衣料?

愛美的女生,可能不明白丹寧是甚麼,但大概熟知不同衣料為肌膚帶來的感覺。釀得優秀的葡萄酒,丹寧一般分為絲滑(silky)、密織(tightly knitted)、絨厚(velvety)。有時候,丹寧會帶來不太舒適的感覺,如抓住牙肉(grippy),今天暫且不談這環。你對丹寧的接受度,與你喜歡喝甚麼茶大有關係。喜歡茉利綠茶或花茶的女生多喜歡絲滑丹寧,相反,喜歡Earl Grey或普洱黑茶的會喜歡絨厚丹寧的。酒跟茶一樣,同樣含有丹寧。至於丹寧會為牙肉及口腔帶來甚麼感覺,這方面大家可以以不同衣料給你肌膚的感覺去定斷。

今周在此結筆,希望各位女生下次去買酒的時候,不要只向侍酒師或店員查問哪款酒質優,不妨加一點個人喜好及意見,比如說:「我喜歡新鮮紅果如車厘子、紅莓、士多啤梨等;和絲滑丹寧的!」識趣的店員會把你帶到Pinot Noir的世界,不管是法國Burgundy、新西蘭Central Otago、美國Oregon也好,都該是你喜歡的款式,只欠看看哪款會給你驚喜!3. 這款葡萄酒有多酸或有多甜?

酸是青檸還是甜橙的酸?甜是焦糖蘋果還是楓葉糖漿的甜?除了告訴侍酒師或店員你喜歡哪一類水果以外(6大類型的果香可參考選酒五條should ask(上)),再好一點的是由你詳述那類水果的酸甜度。以Dry白酒為例,酸度像青蘋果還是紅蘋果,已可影響所推介的酒款。如果你喜歡的是甜酒的話,詳述你喜歡怎麼樣的甜,例如:楓葉糖漿?還是冧酒提子乾?蜜餞果仁?還是冬採花蜜?這4類不同的甜度已分別指向4款不同的酒款:加拿大冰酒、葡萄牙Ruby風格砵酒、葡萄牙Tawny風格20年以上砵酒,和德國Beerenauslese風格晚收貴腐甜酒。

4. 這款葡萄酒屬果香濃郁、容易入口還是帶礦物香、較為複雜的風格?

這個問題,對於熟悉香水的女生沒半點難度!前者尤像Marc Jacobs Daisy、Flower by Kenzo 的香水,甜調為主,用上甜花果如紫羅蘭、玫瑰、橙花、蘋果等;後者尤像Hugo Boss Natural Spray的古龍水,香味偏向中性及帶青蘋果等酸果,與像石頭、礦物泉的味道。香水裏有時候會用上檀香木、雲呢嗱等味道,這些跟葡萄酒中能找到、來自橡木桶陳釀的香味異曲同「味」!也就是說,愛香水的女生,你們早具備一定的品酒能力!你們可能會問,那如果買酒前沒機會去品,又如何分辨哪款屬前者,哪款屬後者?一般而言,果香濃郁、容易入口的大多來自新世界酒區如美國、澳洲、智利、新西蘭等;帶礦物香、較為複雜的來自舊世界酒區如法國、意大利、西班牙、德國等。然而,酒區就像香水品牌,每一個品牌旗下有不同的配方,適合不同風格的女生,每個品牌都有主流風格,但總有例外!怎麼辦?可以的話,買前先試!

5. 這款葡萄酒的酒精度多高?有沒有半瓶裝?開了以後可存放多久?

這3個小問題,組合解答一個大難題:今天喝酒,還是不喝?大前提是實際性。酒精度,是許多女生糾結該不該點全瓶750ml葡萄酒的原因。葡萄酒的酒精度大概是啤酒的3倍,教不少酒量淺的女生卻步。自問酒量淺的女生,可向店員要求推介一些酒精度較低的葡萄酒,Dry style的有澳洲Hunter Valley的Semillon、來自法國勃艮地或新西蘭的Pinot Noir等。甜酒的選擇較多,意大利的Moscato d’Asti通常只有5%酒精度,德國的甜酒大多只有10%以下酒精度。那如果你喜歡的類型酒精度達13、14度又怎辦?不妨問問375ml半瓶裝是否有售。最後,喜歡在家喝酒的可添購人手抽真空的氣泵及酒塞,可以延長開瓶後的葡萄酒的壽命,紅酒置於涼處的話,一般來說可存放7-10 天,白酒置於雪櫃的話,一般來說可存放5-7天。


Photo credit: http://winefolly.com

醒酒 ABC

繼如何品酒以後,如何醒酒是另一個葡萄酒初學者最常問及,與侍用葡萄酒有關的問題。近日有幸結識了於 Sarment 葡萄酒商現任葡萄酒總監,前任置地文華東方酒店首席侍酒師及曾於多家國際知名高級餐廳工作的 Sébastian Chevalier ,這位非常可親的法國先生無私分享多年工作經驗,解答了我對醒酒的諸多疑問。今天脫掉風趣幽默,不沾風花雪月,總結我倆言談中得出有關醒酒需注意的幾個重點,與同好此道者分享。



醒酒的第二個目的適用於成熟的紅葡萄酒及一些沒有進行隔渣的葡萄酒,如:年份砵酒 (Vintage Port) 。經長年陳放的葡萄酒,色素及丹寧會慢慢沉澱,正好解釋了為什麼成熟紅葡萄酒色澤轉淺及丹寧較絲滑圓潤的同時,亦闡述了側放的葡萄酒瓶身或企立的葡萄酒瓶底為何積聚了一堆綻紅色的沉澱物。這個情況下,醒酒這個工序並不是為了幫助葡萄酒『呼吸』,而是為了去除葡萄酒自然形成的沉澱物。

承上,適合陳年的年青葡萄酒大概都適合以醒酒來喚醒他們的潛能。換言之,白葡萄酒其實也適合進行醒酒。這個做法較紅葡萄酒罕見,早前跟於意大利托斯卡尼釀酒的酒庄 Querciabella 的團隊談過,他們的庄主非常贊同別人把他的名作 Chardonnay 白酒 Batar 進行醒酒。醒酒如同把葡萄酒放到時光機中,時間在這兒不會逆轉,只會迅速向前流轉。未來提早到臨,有潛力的年青葡萄酒乍洩成熟的韻味,紅白酒俱宜。



寬底醒酒器:Spiegelau Authentis Decanter
神之水滴式,活像「拉茶」般的醒酒?這個還是留給漫畫人物吧。處理年青葡萄酒,醒酒以擴闊酒釀與氧氣的接觸面,來帶出該酒完整的聞香及味道特質。這個步驟最適合使用寬底醒酒器。假如你覺得手上的那瓶酒呈現極度封閉的狀態,可選擇垂直90度把酒倒進醒酒器中。酒液直接撞擊醒酒器底部,濺起串串泡沫,這近乎把氧氣打進葡萄酒。但假如葡萄酒本身結構偏向緻密,這做法有可能弄垮酒的結構,從而影響口感。試想想,一款年青的 Grand Cru Burgundy ,以這個方法醒酒,結構十多其九堪虞。建議把寬底醒酒器傾斜45度,手握醒酒器瓶頸,另一手把酒瓶以與桌子成平衡線的角度緩緩把酒沿著醒酒器瓶頸倒進器皿中。


天鵝型醒酒器:Riedel Amadeo Lyra Decanter


鴨形醒酒器:Eisch Non Drip Duck Decanter


醒酒的時間長度現在還沒有一套通用的科學根據去決定,大部分時間基於醒酒的人的個人經驗。當然也可以參考酒標背後的建議,然而這建議的可靠性大概該隨年月打折扣。一瓶2004年的澳洲 Barossa Valley 老藤 Shiraz ,建議飲用前2小時醒酒,這個建議於2006年和2011年照辨管用嗎?一般來說,建議低估醒酒所需時間。高估所需時間有可能導致葡萄酒過度氧化而「死亡」,起死回生這事是沒可能的。相反,假如葡萄酒經醒酒後仍呈斂態,喝者大概可以於酒杯中倚靠晃杯來進行二度醒酒。

舉例說明,上月跟 Sarment 合辦一場 Burgundy Grand Cru 葡萄酒晚宴,心裏還清楚記得 Sébastian 的建議:1999年的 Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 白酒於侍用前15分鐘醒酒;2008年的 Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 和 Latricieres Chambertin Grand Cru 紅酒於侍用前30分鐘醒酒。可見醒酒還是以保守為上策。


醒酒,就是這麼簡單的一回事! Cheers! Sante! Cin Cin!

特別鳴謝: Sarment 葡萄酒總監 Sébastien Chevalier

Photo credit: www.montesquieuwinelovers.com

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