CHAMPAGNE, PERHAPS more than wine from any other region, is bound up with its association of celebration
. As an aperitif, it lifts the spirit; served at a drinks gathering
, it brightens the mood; and for many the popping of a champagne
cork is in itself a signal to start the party.
And yet I find a visit to the Champagne region is often one of the most profound
and sober experiences. I first visited Reims as an undergraduate, where, in between appointments at various champagne
houses, I took time out to visit the Monument aux Morts, a tribute
to those fallen in the battles that have enveloped the city. A short walk away is the spot where General Eisenhower set up his headquarters
and on May 7, 1945, signed the surrender
of Nazi Germany with Alfred Jodl, commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht.
但我发现，香槟产区之旅往往是极度深邃和沉静的一种体验。我第一次去兰斯(Reims)还是上大学的时候。在各个香槟酒庄徜徉之余，我去瞻仰了那里的战争纪念馆，向为保卫这座城市而牺牲生命的人致敬。纪念馆不远处，就是艾森豪威尔将军(General Eisenhower)设立的作战总指挥部，1945年5月7日，纳粹德国国防军(Wehrmacht)总司令阿尔弗莱德•约德尔(Alfred Jodl) 在这里签署了无条件投降书。
But it was a few years later, walking through the vineyard
s just north of Epernay in the Marne Valley, that I became aware of the historicalsignificance
of a landscape
that saw the destruction
of thousands of young men in World War I. Describing the Battle of Champagne in his 1916 book 'Vive la France,' American war correspondent
Edward Alexander Powell wrote: 'Hell holds no horrors for one who has seen that battlefield
. Could Dante have walked beside me across that dreadful
place, which had been transformed by human agency
from a peacefulcountryside
to a garbage
heap, a cesspool, and a charnel-house combined, he would never have written his 'Inferno,' because the hell of his imagination
would have seemed colourless
and tame. The difficulty in writing
about it is that people will not believe me. I shall be accused of imagination
the truth is that no one could imagine, much less exaggerate
, the horrors that I saw upon those rolling, chalky plains.'
又过了几年，我在马恩谷(Marne Valley)埃佩尔奈镇(Epernay)北部的葡萄园散步时，才开始意识到这片见证了一战期间成千上万名年轻士兵为国捐躯的土地所蕴含的历史意义。美国战地记者爱德华•亚历山大•鲍威尔(Edward Alexander Powell)在1916年出版的《法兰西万岁》(Vive la France)一书中这样描绘香槟之战："对经历过那场战役的人来说，地狱一点也不可怕。如果但丁(Dante)与我同行，穿过这个可怕的地方，目睹这片一度安静祥和的乡郊在人类的纷争下成为垃圾场、污水坑和埋骨地的三合一怪胎，那他就不会去写《炼狱》(Inferno)了，因为他想象中的地狱与此相比，会显得如此苍白和平淡无奇。描述这里的情形太过艰难，因为人们不会相信，只会说我胡思乱想，夸大其辞；但事实却是，无人可以想象，更不用说去夸大，我在这片起伏的白垩质平原上所看到的种种恐怖景象。"
Today those chalky plains are planted with vines that produce more than 200 million bottles of sparkling wine a year. The chalky plains also play a key role in giving champagne
wines their distinctive
depth of flavor
. The soil consists of a chalk subsoil, topped by a covering of rubble that is made up of sand, lignite, marl, loam and clay. This provides the vine with plenty of drainage
, which is an important factor
in a wet, northern climate
influenced by the Atlantic Ocean.
One house whose style of wines reflects the terroir is Bollinger, which makes champagne
of a mouth-filling, yeasty, firm character
depth. The house can trace its origins back to 1829, when Jacques Bollinger, the youngest son of a noblewoman from Wurttemberg in Germany, went into business with Paul Renaudin and the Comte de Villermont to form the champagne
house Renaudin, Bollinger & Cie. At the time, Germany was an important market for champagne
, and many Germans, including Johann-Josef Krug, were coming to Reims to set up business. The young Bollinger was very much the driving force behind the business, expanding both the domaine and the area planted under vineyard
. He married the Comte's daughter, Charlotte de Villermont, and they had two sons, Georges and Joseph. In 1884, the house received the Royal Warrant as purveyors of champagne
to Queen Victoria. Control eventually
passed to Georges's son, Jacques Bollinger, and he married Elizabeth Law, who became the now-legendary Lily Bollinger.
首席法兰西香槟(Bollinger)便是一款具有鲜明的此地地域特征的葡萄酒，它热情洋溢，特点鲜明，极具深度，令人唇齿留香。酒庄的历史可以追溯到1829年，雅克•博林格(Jacques Bollinger) 是德国符腾堡州(Wurttemberg)一名贵妇人的小儿子，他跟保罗•勒诺丹(Paul Renaudin)和德威勒蒙伯爵(Comte de Villermont)共同创立了Renaudin, Bollinger & Cie酒庄。当时，德国是一个重要的香槟消费市场，很多德国人，包括著名酿酒师、库克香槟之父约翰•乔瑟夫•克鲁格(Johann-Josef Krug)，都来兰斯开办酒庄。在年轻的博林格的大力推动下，酒庄规模和葡萄种植面积不断扩大。后来，他娶了伯爵的女儿夏洛特•德威勒蒙(Charlotte de Villermont)，生下乔治(Georges)和约瑟夫(Joseph) 两个儿子。1884年，酒庄作为皇家御用香槟供货商，获得维多利亚女王(Queen Victoria)颁发的"皇家御用保证"(Royal Warrant)徽章。后来，酒庄传给乔治的儿子雅各•博林格(Jacques Bollinger)，他娶了伊莉萨白•罗(Elizabeth Law)为妻，后者就是极富传奇色彩的香槟寡妇莉莉•博林格(Lily Bollinger)。
Aunt Lily, as she was affectionally known, took over the day-to-day running
of the vineyard
s when her husband Jacques died in 1941. It was a time of war, and her remarkable
drive led her to oversee the domaine often by foot or on her bicycle
. In addition
to helping out with the harvest
and wine-making process, she also had a keen eye for publicity. In 1961, she gave perhaps the single most famous quote ever to be uttered on champagne
, when she said of drinking Bollinger: 'I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle
with it if I'm not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless I'm thirsty.'
人们亲切地称莉莉•博林格为莉莉婶婶，1941年她在丈夫雅各去世后，承担起了酒庄的日常管理工作。当时正值战争时期，她全身心地投入到酒庄经营当中，经常步行或骑自行车查看酒庄的葡萄园。除了帮助采摘葡萄，参与葡萄酒制作过程，她还善于宣传酒庄的品牌。1961年，她在描述饮用首席香槟的美妙感受时，说出了很可能是所有有关香槟的评价中最知名的一段话："快乐时，它使我神清气爽；悲伤时, 它使我忘记忧伤。孤独时, 它与我相伴；友人相聚时, 它是我款待佳宾的最好饮品。不饿时, 我会小酌一杯；饥饿时, 我会大口畅饮。其他时间，我绝不碰它；除非口渴，这时需要它来滋润。"
One wine worth trying
is the R.D., which stands for recently disgorged, a conceptunique
to the house. The wine itself is Grande Annee, Bollinger's vintage champagne
, which is left to mature
for more than a decade
, giving it a more complex
, nuanced flavor
. The 1996 is one of the house's most exceptional
examples and one of the finest I have had the good fortune to taste.