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【双语文章】葡萄酒评分,谁说了算?Jancis Robinson on wine experts versus amateurs

姚洋 • 2 年前 • 738 次点击  

Only once in my life did I ever think I knew everything there was to be known about wine. It was in 1978, after finishing two years’ worth of courses run by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. By dint of luck, and a dose of grammar school diligence, I was the top student of my year, and reckoned that with a WSET diploma under my belt, I was now a fully fledged wine expert.

在我过往的人生中,只有一次我觉得自己对葡萄酒无所不知。那是在1978年,我刚刚完成了两年的葡萄酒与烈酒教育基金会(Wine & Spirit Education Trust,WSET)品酒师的课程。凭着运气和在文法学校的那股勤奋劲儿,我成为那届的尖子生,并自认为靠着这张揽入怀中的WSET文凭,自己就已经是一个羽翼丰满的葡萄酒专家了。

The succeeding years have taught me just how much there still is to learn. But, as someone celebrating her 40th year writing about wine, I have to concede I am considered by many as a wine expert. However, I am keenly aware of the sands that have been shifting under the notion of expertise in this era of instant communication and (often anti-) social media.

在接下来的日子里,我才逐渐明白了自己还有多少东西要学习。但是作为一个已经步入葡萄酒写作第四十个年头的人,我必须得承认很多人把我视为一个葡萄酒专家。然而,我也敏锐地意识到在这个即时通讯和社交媒体(有时候甚至是反社交媒体)的年代中,专业知识的概念处于不断的发展变化当中。

In the last decade or two of the 20th century, when it took more than a nanosecond to communicate, the most successful wine writers around the globe were considered near-oracular. This was most obviously the case for America’s Robert M Parker Jr, who from 1977 promulgated a system of scoring wines out of 100 that made “understanding” wine or, at least, working out which he judged the best, delightfully easy, whatever your native language. The points system also made it possible for those selling wine to let a third party — often, but not always, Parker — do much of the work of selling (and selection) for them, and in the Parker era, shops, catalogues and websites featured not prose, nor enthusiastic verbal recommendations, but numbers, almost all of them between 89 and 101. Parker could certainly make or break wines and wineries with the same power as exercised by the most highly regarded theatre or restaurant critics.

在二十世纪最后的十到二十年中,由于网络没有那么发达,那些全球最成功的葡萄酒作家只需要略做宣传,就能被大众奉若神明。其中最典型的例子就是美国的罗伯特·帕克(Robert M Parker Jr),他从1977年起开始推行一套百分制的葡萄酒评分体系来帮助人们更好地理解葡萄酒,或者说至少是不用依靠语言文字也能明白他对于葡萄酒的评判。这种评分制度也使得引入第三方(经常但不总是帕克)来辅助葡萄酒销售(或选择葡萄酒)成为可能。在帕克时代,商店里、酒单上,以及网站内展示的不再是空洞的溢美之词或是热情洋溢的产品推荐,而是,大部分介于89-101之间的数字。毫无疑问,正如许多极具公信力的剧评家或美食家那样,帕克可以成就一款葡萄酒或酒庄,也可以轻而易举地毁掉它们。

Parker was not alone in enjoying the status of someone handing down incontrovertible judgments on tablets of stone. Most wine-consuming countries had their wine authorities, such as James Halliday in Australia, Michel Bettane and Jacques Dupont in France, and annual guides such as Gault Millau in Germany and the Platter Guide in South Africa. They were followed fairly slavishly by both consumers and wine professionals.

帕克不是唯一一个能够在生死簿上一言定乾坤的人。大部分葡萄酒消费国都有自己的葡萄酒权威,例如澳大利亚的詹姆斯·哈利戴(James Halliday)、法国的米歇尔·贝坦(Michel Bettane)和雅克·都彭(Jacques Dupont);还有一些年度葡萄酒指南,例如德国的葛米兰指南(Gault Millau)和南非的餐盘指南(the Platter Guide)。无论是消费者还是专业人士都对他们推崇备至。

Back in those days, wine used to be one of those subjects about which ordinary people in anglophone countries would hesitate to express an opinion. It used to be left to us experts to tell ordinary tasters what to think and how to describe those thoughts. But now wine has definitively lost its elitist veneer.

在过去那些日子里,英语国家的普通大众在表达自己对于葡萄酒的见解时,往往犹豫不决。于是,指导普通品尝者该如何考评葡萄酒并描述自己的感受便成为了专家们的责任。但如今,葡萄酒已不再是旧时王谢堂前燕了。

In the 21st century, the internet and now, particularly, the smartphone have changed everything. Wine drinkers can compare multiple evaluations concurrently — not just at home but in the wine shop and restaurant. Label-scanning apps such as Vivino and Delectable are designed to present as much information as possible on individual wines, often including ratings, as soon as you point your mobile phone at them. Winesearcher.com has been providing invaluable price comparisons and stockist information for individual wines and retailers around the world since 1999 and it has now added average quality ratings and diversified with its own label-scanning app. Another app, with the slightly painfully punning name Raisinable, compares the value offered by specific wines on the lists of restaurants in London and New York.

在二十一世纪,互联网,特别是现在的智能手机带来了颠覆性的变革。葡萄酒饮用者可以同时比较许多不同的评价——无论是在家中,还是在葡萄酒专卖店或餐厅里。为了尽可能多地呈现各款葡萄酒的信息,Vivino和Delectable等酒标扫描类手机软件应运而生,只需用手机在酒瓶前轻轻一扫,便可知晓评分等信息。从1999年起,Winesearcher.com网站便开始向大众提供价格比较及零售商查询服务,内容涵盖了全球范围内的葡萄酒和零售店;现在网站上又新加入了葡萄酒的质量评分,并全新推出了自己的酒标扫描软件。另外一个手机应用程序Raisinable拥有一个别具深意的双关语名字,它以伦敦和纽约不同餐厅酒单上特定葡萄酒的价格为着眼点来对它们的价值进行对比。

CellarTracker.com, set up in 2003 by an ex-Microsoft wine geek, has played a big part in transferring power from experts to the wine-drinking populace: it now hosts, and presents for free, almost 5m tasting notes with scores from more than 100,000 wine amateurs. (Since last year it, too, has had its own label-scanning app in conjunction with Vivino.) Cellartracker has, admittedly, also factored in the wine reviews and scores of various specialist wine writers’ websites, including my own, but it is arguably the sheer weight of consumer as opposed to expert opinion that makes CellarTracker so popular.

由一位曾供职于微软公司的葡萄酒迷创立于2003年的CellarTracker.com网站,对于将葡萄酒评论权从专家那里转移到普罗大众手中起到了重要作用:该网站现在收录了近5百万份由10万名葡萄酒爱好者评分并撰写的品鉴记录,这些资料可供人们免费查阅。(从去年开始,它与Vivino合作开发了自己的酒标扫描软件。)众所周知,CellarTracker同样包含了很多来自于各个葡萄酒专业作家网站中的葡萄酒评论和得分,其中也包括我自己的。可能正是这种消费者与专家意见相比照的形式让这个网站名声鹊起。

One retailer, Naked Wines, differentiated itself early on in its short history by encouraging customers to review wines and communicate directly online with the winemakers supplying the website. Its business, built on crowdfunding, has been so successful that the company was judged Online Business of the Year in 2011 when it was just three years old, and the model has since been rolled out throughout the US and Australia. Professional wine commentators are redundant in Naked Wine’s marketplace.

为了标新立异,葡萄酒零售商裸妆佳酿(Naked Wines)在成立之初就鼓励消费者与葡萄酒供应商直接在线交流,说出他们自己对于葡萄酒的感受。这家靠众筹起家的公司生意曾经火爆一时,在它成立仅仅三年时,就曾获得2011年度线上交易奖。它的商业模式被复制到美国各地和澳大利亚。在裸妆佳酿这样的交易平台上,专业的葡萄酒评论人失去了存在的意义。

My point is that I have gone from being a unique provider of information to having to fight for attention. Since word of mouth is the most powerful sales tool in the world, its power amplified exponentially by social media, what is the role of those of us who make our living giving out expert advice in this new, democratic, much more populated landscape of opinion?

我想说的是,曾经我是一个独一无二的信息源,现在却必须努力才能获取公众的关注。在这个世界上,口碑是最有力的营销工具,这种威力被社交媒体成倍地加强放大,那我们这些依靠提供专业建议维生的人在这样一个全新的、民主的、有更多人进驻的舆论平台上,又扮演着什么样的角色呢?

I am feeling particularly sensitive because the fourth edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine is about to be published. Together with assistant editor Julia Harding, I have spent two intensive years, helped by almost 200 contributors around the globe, updating the old entries and adding 300 new ones so that the whole thing now totals about a million carefully chosen words arranged in 4,000 alphabetically-listed entries. When the first and second editions came out in 1994 and 1999, much of the information in the Companion was unique. But nowadays, anyone with internet access can look up the book’s subject headings on Wikipedia — and, admittedly, often find the Companion entries cited at the bottom of the page.

我之所以特别敏感,是因为第四版《葡萄酒百科全书》(The Oxford Companion to Wine)很快就要出版了。当这部书的第一版和第二版分别在1994年和1999年问世时,其中的很多内容是独家的。但现如今,任何一个能够上网的人都可以在维基百科(Wikipedia)上查找书中的相关主题,而维基百科的相关页面底部常附有《葡萄酒百科全书》的一些条目。

I have read arts critics fulminating against the proliferation of “amateur” reviews and arguing that these cannot possibly carry the weight of those freighted by decades of experience and deeply relevant education. But it’s not an argument I can use when I have spent my entire working life trying to arm consumers with as much information as possible so that they can make up their own minds about individual wines.

我曾经阅读过艺术评论家抨击“爱好者”扩大化的观点,他们说这些爱好者们与拥有几十年专业经验并具备深厚的学术背景的专业人士无法相提并论。但是,鉴于我已将整个职业生涯用于武装普通消费者,使他们能够拥有足够的知识来选择自己喜欢的葡萄酒,这种观点对我来说毫无意义。

Unlike Robert Parker, I have never believed that there is only one “correct” objective judgment to be made about each wine. Quite apart from the huge variation that there can be between bottles of the same wine, some of it due to storage conditions, I have always argued that wine tasting is so dependent on individual sensory equipment, not to mention partialities and sensitivities, that it is bound to be subjective — no matter how reliably we professionals may be able to judge its dimensions such as sweetness, acidity, tannin and alcohol level and be able to discern technical faults.

不同于罗伯特·帕克,我从不相信对于每款葡萄酒只有唯一一种“正确”的客观判断。且不提同一款葡萄酒各个单瓶间所存在的巨大差异,因为这种差异有时是由存储条件所造成的。我常说葡萄酒的品鉴完全依赖于每个人的感觉器官,更不用说还存在个人偏好或敏感程度的差异,因此结论必定是主观的——无论我们这些专业人士在评判葡萄酒各项指标(例如甜度、酸度、单宁和酒精度)以及辨别其技术缺陷方面的能力有多强。

Even here, individuals vary enormously in their sensitivity to the different compounds responsible for them. Some wine professionals, for example, are unable to pick out which wines are corked, or spoilt by cork taint, because they are insensitive to trichloroanisole, or TCA, the compound responsible. Similarly, we all vary in the number of taste buds we are able to deploy in the tasting process. As long ago as 1994, the experimental psychologist Linda Bartoshuk coined the inflammatory term “supertaster” for those who have more taste buds than most and tend to be particularly sensitive to bitterness.

即使是这些人,他们针对不同化合物的敏感度也大相径庭。例如,有些葡萄酒专业人士无法分辨出被木塞污染葡萄酒,这是因为他们本身对于三氯苯甲醚(TCA)就不敏感。同理,在品酒过程中,我们每个人所拥有的能发挥作用的味蕾数量也不一样。早在1994年,心理学家琳达·巴尔托舒克(Linda Bartoshuk)就曾发明过一个颇为炫酷的词“超级品尝家”,专指那些味蕾数量超出常人且对苦味特别敏感的人。

The wine market today is more crowded than ever. As wine production has transformed itself from peasant activity to plutocrat’s bucolic folly, and as drinking wine has become a social signifier on every continent (most recently — and most spectacularly — Asia), consumers are presented with a baffling array of choices. And, as producers strive to make better and better wine every year just to stay in the game, so they have to shout louder and louder to get attention.

如今葡萄酒市场竞争的激烈程度甚于以往任何时候。葡萄酒生产已经由一项普通的农事活动转变成为了富豪们充满了田园牧歌气息的盲目之举,且在全球各大洲(最新兴也是最引人注目的就是亚洲),喝葡萄酒也逐渐演化成为了一种社会标签,因此,消费者要面对的是琳琅满目又让人迷惑的选择。与此同时,为了不被淘汰出局,生产商们每年竭尽全力来酿造更好的葡萄酒,于是,他们不得不大肆宣传来获取更多的关注。

This may partly explain why some days no fewer than six or seven boxes of unsolicited samples arrive on my doorstep — more than ever before — in the hope that I will publish a tasting note on them. But could it also have something to do with the fact that, even in this era of the citizen critic, my 40 years of visiting vineyards, listening to winemakers, watching trends emerge, making comparisons and seeing wines evolve from barrel to decades in bottle might just be regarded as worth something?

这也部分地解释了为什么每天在我门前都会出现六七箱不期而至的样品酒,生产者希望我能发表一些对于他们葡萄酒的评价。我在这四十年间走访葡萄园,与酿酒师交谈,观察行业动态,对葡萄酒进行从橡木桶到瓶中陈酿几十年的发展情况的追踪。但是即便是在这样一个人人都可以发表评论的时代,我这么多年的丰富经历是不是真的可以给自己增加筹码呢?

It may be difficult to believe but tasting wine is hard work: it is completely different from the relaxation and joy that I associate with drinking wine. Tasting requires complete concentration and a mind that is every bit as open as the mouth, and all-important nose, to new flavours, styles and developments. Prejudice engendered by certain producers, grapes or appellations can be a terrible thing, which is why I prefer to taste blind (ignorant of the exact identity of each wine) as often as possible.

也许有人觉得难以置信,但其实品鉴葡萄酒是一项艰苦的工作:它与一提到饮酒便会联想到的那种轻松愉悦的气氛毫无关系。品鉴需要全神贯注,需要你的头脑像你的口腔和至关重要的鼻子一样,能够随时捕捉任何全新的味道、风格和发展变化。对某些酒庄、葡萄品种或产区抱有成见是件非常可怕的事情,因此我更倾向于尽可能采用盲品这种形式(忽略每款葡萄酒的真实身份)。

Tasting is physically tiring, particularly if, like me, you wish to provide drinkers with information on as many wines and tasting notes as possible. Thus I often find myself tasting up to 100 wines a day. While this puts me straight into the sights of those who have been warning recently in the UK about the perils of toping in middle age, I should stress that when we are tasting wine, we professionals see alcohol as the enemy. Rather than seeking any hint of inebriation, we want our senses to remain as sharp as possible and so try to spit out every drop of wine tasted. (Contrary to popular opinion, there is no tasting equipment in the throat; and several of the world’s most respected wine tasters, such as Katsuyuki Tanaka, are teetotal.)

品鉴十分耗费体力,特别是当你像我一样不遗余力地想为饮用者提供更多的葡萄酒相关信息和品鉴记录时。我发现自己经常会在一天内品鉴超过百款葡萄酒。如此一来,英国那些近期一直在警告大家中年时期过量饮酒有危害的人们便会注意到我,但我必须强调,当我们专业人士品鉴葡萄酒时,往往视酒精为敌人。不同于饮酒买醉,我们必须尽可能地保持感觉的敏锐性,因此会将品过的酒全部吐掉。与大家普遍认为的不同,在喉咙里并没有品酒的器官;田中胜行(Katsuyuki Tanaka)等许多世界知名的葡萄酒品鉴师全都滴酒不沾。

Occasionally, when I mention my decades of experience, friends remark somewhat accusatorily, “Isn’t your sense of taste meant to decline with age?” Though I have no way of directly comparing the performance of my olfactory bulb today with 40 years ago, I do know that my ability to concentrate is infinitely greater than it was when I was young. I used to be genial and chatty at wine tastings. Today, blinkered and working feverishly, I look only at my glass, laptop and spittoon. (The fun bit of wine happens in the evening.)

当我偶尔提及自己几十年的专业经验时,身边的朋友多少会有些质疑地问道:“难道你的感官不会随着年龄而退化吗?”虽然我没办法直接对比自己的嗅球结构在四十年前和今天的表现,但是我可以确认的是自己集中注意力的能力要比年轻时更强。以前,我在品鉴时总喜欢和人聊聊天八卦一下。但现如今,我会屏气凝神,进入一种工作的兴奋状态中,只关注自己眼前的酒杯、笔记本电脑和吐酒桶(喝酒怡情的时间仅限于晚上)。

But tasting fairly, acutely and accurately is only half of what is required. Just as difficult, possibly more so, is finding the right words to describe the wine. I like to major on the dimensions of the wine: how tough/tart/powerful/sweet/ready is it? And I describe only the most obvious flavours in it because I’m always writing with the consumer in mind and I know how variable everyone’s tasting equipment is. But, just as wine critics have been accused of score inflation (it used to be that 85 was regarded as a good score; nowadays a wine has to be above 90 to sell easily), there seems to have been inflation in the number of flavours cited in tasting notes. This is particularly true of wine reviews generated in the US, where 10 different flavours, some of them questionable to say the least (grilled watermelon, anyone?), identified in a single liquid is commonplace nowadays.

然而,清晰、敏锐且准确地品鉴葡萄酒只是一个开始。难度相仿或更甚的是该如何用正确的词语描述一款葡萄酒。我喜欢从葡萄酒的维度入手:它是否艰涩/辛辣/有力/甜美/已进入适饮期?而且我只描述那些葡萄酒中最显而易见的味道,这是因为我写作的时候习惯从读者的角度考虑,并且深知他们的感官有多么大的差异。然而,正如葡萄酒评论家因为分数贬值(过去,85分就是不错的成绩了,但如今90分以上的葡萄酒才比较容易销售)而备受指责一样,葡萄酒中的香气数量也同样贬值了。现在,这种现象在美国的一些葡萄酒评论中尤为突出,一款葡萄酒中包含十种不同的香气简直稀松平常,其中的一些描述实在让人摸不着头脑(比如烤西瓜,您敢更奇怪一点么)。

Back in 1989, the Australian taste scientist David Laing, from the University of New South Wales, conducted an experiment in which he demonstrated that humans have great difficulty in identifying more than four different flavours in a single liquid. And when in 1996 he tried a similar experiment on experts who smell and taste for a living, they were better than amateur tasters at identifying mixtures of two and three components but did no better when it came to four.

回溯至1989年,澳大利亚新南威尔士大学(the University of New South Wales)的味觉科学家大卫·莱恩(David Laing)曾经做过一个实验,验证了人类很难从一种液体中辨别出四种以上的不同味道。后来在1996年,他又在那些以闻香品味为职业的专家中间做了类似的实验,在辨别两到三种混合在一起的不同成分时,专家显然比爱好者更为擅长。但当成分数量增加到四种时,他们却并不具备什么优势。

If some of my colleagues really can identify grilled watermelon, star anise, black raspberry, fennel seed, oolong tea, gardenia, sandalwood, mandarin orange, rose petal and fresh thyme in a single wine, as one resourceful recent reviewer managed, I take my hat off to them. But I get the impression that, in this crowded arena of opinion, where we are all trying to make ourselves heard (or at least read), an increasing number of wine reviews are written for producers and retailers to quote rather than with the prime purpose of helping the consumer make decisions about what to buy. Quite apart from the variation in our individual perceptions, who really gets up in the morning and tells themselves that they simply must find a wine that tastes of fennel seed, grilled watermelon and gardenia?

如果我的一些同行真能够从一款葡萄酒中分辨出烤西瓜、大料、黑覆盆子、小茴香籽、乌龙茶、桅子花、檀木、橘子、玫瑰花瓣和鲜百里香的味道(就像最近一位评论家所做的那样),那我要向他们脱帽致敬。然而,我的印象是在现在这个大家都渴望获得话语权(或至少写的东西有人看)的纷纷扰扰的舆论平台上,越来越多的酒评是服务于生产商和销售商的,而并非是为了帮助消费者选择购买什么样的葡萄酒,更何况我们每个人在感知上会有很大的差异。而且有谁真的会在一大清早起床时告诉自己我必须要找到一款充满了小茴香籽、烤西瓜和栀子花口味的葡萄酒呢?

I would honestly be delighted if every wine drinker felt confident enough to make their own choices dependent on their own individual responses to wines previously tasted. But I do recognise that, for many people, it will always be simpler to be told what to like. As long as I am valued by wine consumers and producers, I will embrace the new landscape, knowing that nowadays it is all too easy for readers and tasters to criticise the critics in online comments that will be read by as many people as the original judgment.

如果每个饮用葡萄酒的人都能够根据自己以往的饮用经验来自信地选择葡萄酒的话,我会深感安慰。但我也承认,对于很多人来说,直接告诉他们应该喜欢什么会更为简单。我深知现在读者和品酒师可以不费吹灰之力地在线上评论中批评酒评家们,这些评语如同判决书一样被置于众目睽睽之下。所以既然葡萄酒消费者和生产者们认可我的价值,那么我会去顺应这种新的形势。

With a growing army of opinionated young wine drinkers — whether consumers or professionals pouring their latest finds by the glass in a bar in Shoreditch or showing fellow enthusiasts round an urban winery in Brooklyn — I know that, like any other wine expert, I can stay in the game only by working hard and accurately enough to earn my readers’ trust.

年轻一代富有主见的葡萄酒饮家队伍正在不断壮大,他们时而在迪奇区(Shoreditch)的酒吧里品尝着自己的新发现,时而在布鲁克林(Brooklyn)向志同道合的朋友们展示某间都市酒庄。同其他葡萄酒专家一样,我深知想要保证自己不出局就必须更努力地工作,凭借足够的权威性来赢得读者们的信任。

The fourth edition of ‘The Oxford Companion to Wine’ (£40, OUP) edited by Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding is published on September 17

由简希丝·罗宾逊和茱莉亚·哈尔丁(Julia Harding)编辑的《葡萄酒百科全书》第四版于九月十七日出版。

Last edited at (2015-10-23 21:31)

 
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51找翻译
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51找翻译    2 年前

哈哈,是吗?


姚洋
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姚洋    2 年前
实验贴、感觉这个社区功能有点像LinkedIn