这篇 500 字左右的指定标题短文赢得 French Wine Society 专为葡萄酒大师在读生提供的香槟奖学金。全球名额仅 3 位。在经过一年的学习和考试之后，奖学金持有者将获得 FWS“Champagne Scholar”头衔
by Mei Hong (Master of Wine Student)
February 2015, Dijon
Champagne, incomparable, inimitable. A rare combination of mineral intensity, aromatic richness and ethereal delicacy, its style is one of a kind in the world.
If crystalline elegance and vibrant minerality are the hallmarks of Champagne, its essence, its soul,is only revealed through the unique characters of its climate, soil and topography - its terroir, and through the spirit and the heart of the people who have created this magic.
Situated in the northernmost limit of vines' cold tolerance, Champagne is one of the wine regions with the lowest annual sunshine hours, and its average temperature during the growing season is only at 14.7C°. From those often gloomy, bleak rolling hills, under precarious weather conditions, vines have to struggle in order to gain a chance of survival. Yet, it is from this extreme climatic austerity and hardship, the unique style of Champagne is stemmed. The long, slow maturation process encourages the accumulation of complex chemical compounds and the preservation of crucial acidity in grapes, translated into crisp, ultra fine, nuanced expressions in wines, matched nowhere else. In fact, in areas only marginally sunnier and warmer, the essence of the Champagne style could be quickly lost: wines are often fruitier but clumsier. It is the suffering of Champagne that gives birth to its extraordinary complexity and finesse.
In such a veering climate, variations in vineyard slope and aspect are of crucial importance. The best plots in Champagne are all located on hillsides which offer excellent drainage and the best exposure to the precious sunlight.
Yet the biggest secret of Champagne perhaps lies in its geology. The “falaise de Champagne”, those rocky outcrops of chalk, constitute naturally fissured, well-drained sub-soils, which not only have superb heat retention capability but also act as a reservoir to store excessive water for dryer periods.These heat regulating and humidifying features promote the healthy vegetative cycle of the vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir et Pinot Meunier. No other place in the world has such a high concentration of Belemnite, the finest, purest type of chalk, as Champagne. Layered beneath those famed slopes of grand crus in Montagne de Reims and in Cote des Blancs, Belemnit chalk is the driving force behind world's most elegant, mineral-rich Champagnes and a key factor in distinguishing Champagne from other sparkling wines.
Infinitely variable combinations of soil, slope and aspect of millions of plots come together, creating a mosaic of micro-terroirs in Champagne, giving endless subtle nuances to its wines. A mono cru or a multi-year, multi-vineyard blend, the best Champagnes always bear the stamp of its origin.
However, without the ingenuity and passion of man, even the best raw material would not have been converted into Champagne as we know it today. Several centuries of rich wine-making heritage known as Méthode Champanoise, now constantly fine-tuned and reinforced by strict laws and legislations, ensures the highest quality standard in Champagne through detailed regulations in vineyard delimitation, viticulture, vinification, blending, aging and bottling process. The human factor is an indispensable ingredient in the creation of the Champagne legend.
A great Champagne gives us pleasure and lifts our spirit. It is both sensual and intellectual. The moment we take a sip of of this fine mesmerizing bubbly, we catch a glimpse of the true visage of a unique place on earth – its air, its land, its people. We capture the essence of Champagne.
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