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南非:植根360年的「新世界」酒都 South Africa: 360 Year Old “New World” wine capital

Text:Eddie Chui

 

2019年對於南非是個特別的雙重日子,1993年種族隔離制度被癈除,迎來1994年南非首次普選,二千萬南非人終於能投下屬於自己特一票,同年曾被迫害監禁的曼德拉成為南非首位民主選舉誕生的黑人總統,正式展開了南非的民主改革,今年正是慶祝二十五週年的大日子。同時南非葡萄酒也迎來了360週年。

 

2019 is a special year for South Africa. First after the abolishment of Apartheid, all 20 million citizen of South Africa could enjoy the first democratic election and voted for the first black President Nelson Mandela which meant a new page of Democracy for South Africa. At the same time it is the 360 Anniversary for South African wine.

 

最古老的「新世界」

這個被分類為「新世界」葡萄酒產區的地方其實自三百六十年前1659年便開始釀造第一瓶葡萄酒。但如果要追源確始,我們可以回看七千多年的時代,也就是公元前六千多年時,由被認為是葡萄酒發源地的波斯,一直擴展至整個歐洲、北非、歐亞細亞以至印度、中國,到公元前一百年,葡萄園已遍佈歐洲大陸。隨著十六世紀的航海探索旅程,歐洲人把葡萄酒帶到不同的地方,包括亞洲、南美洲,還有南非。早在1655年,在開普地區已開始種植釀酒葡萄,而1659便見證第一瓶南非葡萄酒的誕生。

 

360年以來,隨著管冶不同,對整個葡萄酒行業也有不同的影響,但影響曼深遠的,是十九世紀末,根瘤蚜(Phylloxera)蟲害催毀了大部分葡萄園,而之後重新種植的高產量葡萄讓南非葡萄酒的品質停滯不前。直到二十世紀初,葡萄酒的品質才慢慢再次有所提升。但世界對南非葡萄酒的認知還是波有進步,默為種族隔離政策,讓世界其他先進國家都不願意進口南非葡萄酒,所以大家對南非葡萄酒也沒有認識。直到種族隔離政策癈除,南非再次成為民主國家後,才讓南非葡萄酒業才得以再次復甦。不斷進步得技術,加上得到國外的「飛行釀酒師」及外國資金湧入,南非葡萄酒的質量得以跟國際接軌。

 

TheOldest “New World”

South Africa has been classified as a New World wine country even the first bottle of wine was made in 1659, 360 years ago. If you want to trace back the history of winemaking, you could referred to the oldest scrolls talking about wine from Persia in 7,000 years ago, B.C. 6,000. It reached over Europe, north Africa, Pan-Asia, India and China in the following centuries, and vineyards covered most of the Europe in B.C. 100. Following the explorer route in the sixteenth century, European bring vines to different places, including  Asia, South America, and South Africa as well. As early as 1655, there were records about vineyards plantation in Cape area, and the first South African wine in 1659.

 

Over the last 360 years, the industry went through waves, marked by the Phylloxera disaster in the late nineteenth century, where most of the vineyards were devastated. After that high yield, low quality grapes are planted and the quality fell a lot. Until the twentieth century, the quality has been steadily raised. But global market had very little knowledge about the wines due to apartheid as most modern countries refused to import commodity from South Africa. Only after South Africa became a democratic country in 1994 after Mandela became president. The wine industry picked up again. With advance in technology, technique, and the input from “Flying winemkaers”, overseas investments, The wine quality has obvious improvement and caught the world attention again.

 

 

南非新紀元

踏入二十一世紀,前人努力建立的基礎得以取得成果。更重要的是,新一代的釀酒師為南非葡萄酒業注入更多生氣。而作為現時南非葡萄酒的代表品種,Pinotage及Chenin Blanc正受更多專業人士,侍酒師、餐飲業界的認同,而且也發展出不同風格及定位的葡萄酒。而南非的釀酒師及葡萄農也在開發不同的產區,為這些產區定位,默此我們現在在南非能找到優秀的沒爾多混釀酒款、隆河谷葡萄酒款,優雅的Pinot Noir、Chardoonay等清涼氣候葡萄酒,還有南非獨有的MCC氣泡酒等等。踏入民主之路第二十五年,這三百六十年的釀酒之旅也同未有停止步伐向前。

 

New Era

Stepping into the 21stcentury, the work from the past is gaining fruitful results. More importantly new generation of winemakers are more dynamic and giving more energy to the industry. As the most representative grape varieitals from South Africa, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc have been crafted to exceptional standards with good reputation worldwide from Sommeliers and F&B professionals. The styles and positions of these wines diversified into greater spectrum. Winemakers and viticulturists are exploring new regions for different style of wines. We could find great Bordeaux blends, Rhône varietal wines, and even elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some cool climate regions. Not to mention the unique sparkling wines of MCC. With the advance of democracy in the past 25 years, the South African wines also take on the right track again after 360 years of history.