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Mrz 20

Chinese wine comes of age

Tag: Länder,Weingütersigi.hiss @ 16:56

Berry Bros. & Rudd becomes first major UK retailer to give Chinese wines a permanent place on its shelves. 

Chinese wines have been given stamp of approval, as Berry Bros. & Rudd, the 314 year-old wine merchant and vintners to the Queen, has become the first major UK retailer to give the wines from the world’s most populous superpower a permanent place on its shelves.
From this week, four Chinese wines will be for sale alongside the finest wines from around the world including Ch. Petrus from Bordeaux and Domaine Romanée-Conti from Burgundy from the retailer’s St James’s Street store and on its award-winning website www.bbr.com.

So confident of the wines are the firm that the Chinese vintages will be showcased at one of the retailer’s exclusive tastings – the first time this has happened – at which Masters of Wine and senior wine writers gather to sample the new arrivals.

This exclusive group of connoisseurs will taste four wines produced by the leading producer Chateau Changyu, and includes a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend (which has been aged in imported French oak barrels) and three Ice Wines – made from frozen grapes, which give the wines a fresh and pure flavour, and an intense sweetness.
Now the eighth largest producer of wine in the world and predicted to be the sixth largest by 2016, Chinese consumers already drink over 1.6 billion bottles of wine annually, which is forecast to grow by a further 1 billion by 2015. What’s more, the Chinese have also acquired a taste for fine wine: they are now the second biggest buyers of top Claret by volume behind Germany.
Mark Pardoe, MW, Berry Bros. & Rudd Wine Buying Director: “It seems that the predictions we made in our ‘Future of Wine Report’ in 2008 are already beginning to come true – and this is a first step towards serious international recognition. 
“China is already the eighth largest producer of wine in the world so it was only a matter of time before it entered the international market and its huge geographical size and range of climates mean that there must be regions capable of producing good wine.
“Until now the country’s focus has been on its volume-driven domestic market, and other export efforts have been based on external investment.  Changyu’s strategy represents a change, with home-grown investment in partnership with international expertise, with a real will to get things done, so the time felt right to take an early temperature of the water.”
Trialled for a limited period by Waitrose in the middle of last year, this is the first time a retailer has made a significant step in establishing the less familiar wine-producing countries in the UK.

 

1.       2008 Chateau Changyu Moser XV, Ningxia, £39.00

A combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape varieties. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 12 months to create a robust and full-bodied lasting flavour. The grapes are grown in the Central Western Ningxia region of China, where long hours of sunlight allow the berries to fully ripen. It is however in a field of one at the moment and gives a fascinating glimpse of a possible future of Chinese reds.

2.     Chateau Changyu Gold Label Ice Wine, Liaoning, £19.00

The lightest of the three Chinese ice wines stocked by Berry Bros. & Rudd, the wine is made from the juice of the third crush of the Vidal grape and accounts for 75% of the estate’s total ice wine production.  Because the fruit for ice wine is frozen, but healthy and not botrytised, the attack is always very fresh and pure, with a very positive level of acidity. Here the profile is more of citrus and tropical fruits, blossom and honey.

3.     Chateau Changyu Blue Label Ice Wine, Liaoning, £35.00

A more intense wine than the Gold label, this rich golden coloured wine has a spicy honey note and a richer viscosity, with aromas of lychee and pear. On the palate, this wine creates an intense expression with the richness of the residual sugar coating the palate, both of which are combined with a long lasting finish that balances the overall flavour. Able to be stored for many years, this wine will develop more complexity and sherry flavours, softening the overall sweetness of the wine.

4.     Chateau Changyu Black Label Ice Wine, Liaoning, £65.00

A unique selection made from the first press creates an unctuous, thick, deeply sweet and richly flavoured wine, with a spectrum of apricot, pineapple and vanilla – suggesting the influence of new oak which it has, in fact, not received.  Almost too rich for cuisine, this is to be sipped, slowly and meditatively.

Mark Pardoe, MW concludes: “While this may be a small selection of wines, they are a sign of things to come. Chateau Changyu has led the way in bringing in expertise from the Old and New World wine makers and is creating some top-class wines. However, there will be other winemakers hot on their heels and we expect to taste wines of great quality from more Chinese producers. Amongst the so-called ‘new New World’ wine regions, China is definitely in the ascendant.”

*Ref: China Wines Information Website – http://en.wines-info.com

 

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