For those living in or around Nanning (not many I guess among the readers of these lines…), I am very excited to inform you that we will run a North-Rhone
Master-Class hosted by Ned Goodwin MW
on May 26th! We are going to taste seven great wines, each of them belonging to the bests of their appellation. They are (from North to South):
1. Domaine Jamet 2008, Cote-Rotie (imported by Ruby Red)
2. Francois Villard « Terrasses du Palat » 2011, Condrieu (no importer in China)
3. Chateau Grillet 2009, Chateau Grillet (imported by Ruby Red)
4. Domaine Coursodon « L’Olivaie» 2011, Saint joseph (no importer in China)
5. Paul Jaboulet Aine « La Chapelle » 2004, Hermitage (imported by Links Concept)
6. Domaine Combier « Clos des Grives » 2010, Crozes-Hermitage (no importer in China)
7. Domaine Auguste Clape « Renaissance » 2010, Cornas (imported by Ruby Red)
This is a unique opportunity to learn more about this great region and to taste world-class wines in Nanning! Only 30 seats! To know more about the tasting and register, click here
What a great surprise!! I’ve been keeping this bottle in my wine cabinet for a year or so, as well as a few other Chinese wines, all of them said to be among China’s bests. I originally wanted to organize a China wine tasting with some friends, but I decided I couldn’t wait anymore, I had to open one today. I was a bit skeptical before opening it as everybody has been saying so many good things about these new wineries, but I hadn’t found a really interesting bottle so far. Well, I’ve definitely found one this evening!
Silver Heights is this acclaimed winery run by female winemaker Emma Gao in the Helan district of the Ningxia Province, at 1200 meters altitude. According to the back-label, 3100 bottles of "The Summit" were produced in 2009.
“The Summit” 2009 is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Gernischt (Carmenere?). Once the very good quality natural cork pulled out, a fragrant smell of black fruits started to emanate from the bottle. The wine shows a very deep ruby colour. Besides the slightly creamy black fruits aromas (cassis, blackberry black cherry), one can discern a very well-integrated smoky aroma, due to 12 months ageing in French oak barrels. On the palate, the wine shows a full-bodied, thick texture with a firm tannin grip. The medium acidity manages to balance the ripeness of the fruit flavours. Some noticeable burnt wood flavours add complexity to this wine, finishing on a medium length, clean finish. Impressive! The style is quite international, but more like Bordeaux than New-World. Lisa Perrotti-Brown from the Wine Advocate gave it 86 points, arguing that “the tannin extraction just needs tweaking (a little over-extracted) and it could use just a bit more acid lift” If I understand her point of view concerning the acidity, I think that the tannin structure is just right. Maybe it tasted a bit rougher when Lisa tried it in September 2011. It is very well integrated now! I do think it's worth more than 86 points!
The best Chinese red wine I’ve tasted so far! I’m looking forward to open the other bottles in my cabinet! But more seriously, I REALLY need to visit these wineries before summer!
Last Friday, I hosted a wine training in Nanning focusing on the Bordeaux sweet white wines. It is the first training dedicated to a special topic (“master-class”) I’ve taught since the creation of my training company Zhulian Wines. The twelve wine lovers who came to listen to me for nearly two hours (poor them….) about the characteristics of botrytised wines and Bordeaux eleven “Sweet Bordeaux” AOCs all expressed enthusiasm for this model of training. Indeed, Nanning isn’t Shanghai or Beijing, and most of the wine trainings and tastings we get here are generally more general (Bordeaux, New World vs Old World, etc…)
Here are the wines we tasted:
1- Sweet Bordeaux 2010, Cadillac
2- Chateau Fayau 2008, Cadillac
3- Chateau Barbier 2005, Sauternes
4- Chateau de Malle 2004, Grand Cru Classe, Sauternes
5- Chateau Les Mingets 2002, Sauternes
Special thanks to the Bordeaux Sweet Wines association for providing the wines!
Here are some pictures of the training:
From January 7th to January 14th, I’ve had the privilege to assist Tenuta di Trinoro’s owner and winemaker Andrea Franchetti in organizing a serial of wine tastings in four of China’s most dynamic cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Guangzhou.
We invited only about 20 key importers as well as a few renowned wine journalists for each tasting. The pattern was simple but straight to the point: one hour master-class-like tasting of Le Cupole (Trinoro’s second label) 2009 vs 2000 (magnum) and Tenuta di Trinoro 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006, followed by a more casual but high-quality dinner. I’ve nearly always conducted wine tastings this way in China as I think (1) it is pointless to try to match one particular dish (or even one style of dishes) to one wine as it isn’t the way Chinese people eat and drink; (2) it helps everybody to stay focus on the wines during one hour without being distracted by the fancy dishes (they still can try pairing possibilities after); (3) it enables them to enjoy the diner without being interrupted every twenty minutes to listen to the host; (4) they can have the wine(s) they prefer with their diner as we leave the glasses they used on the tables (as well as some spared bottles) and therefore make their own experiments.
The wines were fabulous! Even though they are all different, they all have in common an incredible intensity of ripe black fruits, an extremely well-integrated oak (most of them are aged for less than 8 months in new French barrels, just the good dose), a big still velvety tannin structure, a great acidity (maybe less obvious in 2006) balancing all this, and, of course, a complexity taking your imagination to the most remote corners of wild forests and other fairy-like
My favorite wine of the tastings was the second wine Le Cupole 2000, not that it showed a higher quality than the others, but because it reached the height of “readiness to drink”. Besides, its medium-body, nutmeg-like spices and the dried-fruit aromas and flavors (such as red dates), reminiscent of good mature Bordeaux, really conferred it an unmatched elegance.
I think everybody really enjoyed the events, the guests as well as the host, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see bottles of this great winery appearing on the tables of premium clubs and restaurants around China. The unique importer for the moment is Ruby Red, so if you are a distributor, an on-trade or off-trade retailer, please feel free to contact them (021-62343031). If you are an importer, you can get in touch directly with Trinoro’s sales manager Enrico at email@example.com Chinese / 中文
有人指出了新西兰的一些酒评人，说他们在其博客上注明了要是酒庄希望他们品尝并评价一些葡萄酒，需要向博主支付30多新西兰元/款。起码，他们比较透明，然而由读者自己判断酒评是否公正。但对于去年成立的“新西兰葡萄酒作家”协会（Wine Writers of New-Zealand
），这种行为是不可取的，因此其会员们必须签一份“独立宣言”（Declaration of Independence），保证他们不从酒庄或葡萄酒企业获得任何利益。
加拿大酒评人娜塔莉没有在她的网站说明这些“游戏规则”，加剧了大家对她的质疑。一位酒庄代表在Palate Press的文章下留了评论说“作为酒庄，我们收到过娜塔莉的样品请求。寄了一箱过去后，我收到了一封邮件说我得注册才能获得酒评[...] 法律归法律，道德归道德[...] 我愿意提供一些葡萄酒样品并将其列为营销费用，我也很支持生产商与葡萄酒作家之间的关系，但我绝对不会花钱去听别人对我产品的评价！”他在后面做了一个好玩的比喻：“祝贺你获得金球奖！请交100美金来领取”。
2- 原负责亚洲市场的Lisa Perrotti-Brown成为“葡萄酒倡导家”主编。Lisa是常住新加坡的葡萄酒大师（Master of Wine）。她跟罗伯特·帕克合作了已经很多年。2013年，她应该担任Wine 100评委，不知道这个新工作会不会有影响呢？
4- “葡萄酒倡导家”将推出新的电子版（PDF格式）。“华尔街日报”（Wall Street Journal）报道错说电子版将代替刊物。其实刊物将照样出版。
6- “葡萄酒倡导家”将更重视新兴的葡萄酒产国，尤其是亚洲，更尤其是中国的。Lisa Perrotti-Brown可能将聘请一个人专门负责品评中国、泰国以及其它亚洲国家的葡萄酒。
Chrisitan Canute - Photo: The DrinksBusiness
We often can read articles about the new wave in favor of screwcap closures against cork. I was therefore quite surprised when I read an article last August on Decanter’s website about Christian Canute, owner and winemaker of Australia Barossa based winery Rusden, who decided to move back to cork after a few years of screwcap experience. It seemed to me that this could be a nice topic for an interview! I therefore decided to get in touch with Christian in order to know more about his experience and what made him change his mind. Here is the interview:
Julien: When exactly did you decide to move back to cork? Christian Canute: After a five year trial of screwcap on our cheapest wine.
J: Why have you moved back to cork? C: The level of reductiveness in the wine bottled under screwcap became an unacceptable problem.
J: What do you mean by "wines sweating under screwcap"? What is it due to? C: Basically, our wines, which are hand made without fining or filtration, tend to ‘sweat’ (produce reductive aromas like hydrogen sulphide) when stored in a vessel that does not allow the wine to breathe. Either a stainless steel tank for an extended period, or under a screwcap in bottle. Our wines have never been reductive when bottled under cork. It is possible to eliminate the problem by fining/filtering or adding copper to the wine before bottling, however I believe that would undo all the effort we go to making the wines traditionally and gently to preserve all the flavours. Fining/filtering or copper additions at the last minute would strip a lot of the unique flavours from the wine which gives it its stamp of where it comes from…… it’s sense of terroir. I refuse to change my winemaking philosophy to suit a closure, especially when my customers are educated and understand that at Rusden we use the best quality cork available and that it is the most suitable closure for our wines.
J: Do you know other wineries who decided to move back to cork? C: I think there will be premium producers heading back to cork in Australia over the next 12 months. In South Africa, the iconic Klein Constantia returned its premier white wine, Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc back to natural cork to avoid reductive characters experienced under screwcap. The Napa’s Rutherford Wine Company have also moved back naming environmental and technical benefits. In the UK, large retailers are switching back to wines bottled under cork citing environmental reasons.
J: Are the customers asking for cork instead of corkscrew in Australia or other countries? C: My information tells me that 70-80% of the Chinese, American and British markets still prefer cork over stelvin, especially in premium categories.
To know more about Rusden wines, you visit their website here
朱利安：据你所知，还有哪些酒庄决定回归软木塞呢？Christian Canute：我认为在接下来的一年内一些澳洲高端的葡萄酒生产商将会回归软木塞。为了防止还原反应的产生，南非极具代表性的Klein Constantia酒庄旗下的精品级Perdeblokke长相思白葡萄酒已经回归使用天然的软木塞。纳帕的Rutherford葡萄酒公司也以环保和技术效益之名再次使用软木塞。在英国，大型零售商也出于对环境的考虑而改用软木塞。
Here is an article I forgot to post about a tasting I organised a week ago. 这是我忘记传上来的关于一场品酒会的文章
What an interesting tasting we had yesterday night! I organized this tasting for an importer friend, Boutique Wines
, with which I participated in the importation of wines from arguably the best wine producer of Alsace (my home region), Domaine Zind-Humbrecht.
Olivier Humbrecht MW, owner and winemaker of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, the first French Master of Wine, President of biodynamics controlling body “Byodivin” and actual President of the Alsace Grands Crus, wasn’t able to come to China to attend this event, but he still managed to conduct the tasting through Skype video. It is the first time I’ve organized a video-conference-tasting, and here are some tips and conclusions you might find useful:
1. First of all, it is important to make a test before the event. You don’t want to discover that you can’t hear your guest or can’t see him when all your invitees are there.
2. Always prepare a plan B, just in case of network problems. We didn’t encounter any technical difficulties this time, but I could have conducted the tasting myself if a problem would have happened.
3. Even though this could be called an “interactive” tasting, this kind of tasting actually lacks inter-activity. Your guest may sometimes not hear you perfectly and vice-versa, so it can become annoying. I would therefore recommend to use it for small groups (I would say a dozen) made-up of professionals or very knowledgeable amateurs. Consumers may find it a bit boring.
4. If your audience is made up mainly of consumers, I think that you should try to divide the tasting into two parts: conduct the first part yourself (introduce the winery, the wines, etc), and once your guests are excited by the wines, then give them the surprise of inviting the winemaker or owner to speak with you for a moment (less than 30 minutes should be fine), maybe just to answer some questions.
Hope this can be useful!
Oh yes, here are the wines we tried from Domaine Zind-Humbrecht:
1. Goldert Grand Cru, Muscat, 2009
2. Clos Hauserer, Riesling, 2009
3. Brand Grand Cru, Riesling, 2009 (we were supposed to have the 2000 too, but the logistics made a mistake!)
4. Rangen de Thann Grand Cru, Clos Saint-Urbain, Gewurztraminer, 2009
5. Rangen de Thann Grand Cru, Clos Saint-Urbain, Gewurztraminer, 1992
6. Clos Jebsal, Vendanges Tardives, Pinot Gris, 2009
7. Clos Jebsal, Vendanges Tardives, Pinot Gris, 1989
，在北京举办一场很有趣的品酒会。我们品尝的葡萄酒都产自我老家阿尔萨斯的幸·鸿贝庄园（Domaine Zind-Humbrecht）。庄主兼首席酿酒师奥利维·鸿贝（Olivier Humbrecht）是第一个考上葡萄酒大师（Master of Wine）的法国人，他也是生物动力法协会（Byodivin）会长以及阿尔萨斯特级酒园协会主席。虽然他没有能够亲自出席这场品酒会，但是他通过网络视频向所有来宾介绍了每一款酒。这是我第一次组织可视频品酒会，也许是中国第一次有这样的品酒会，所以我想应该跟大家一起分享一下经验，这样可以给想组织这种活动的朋友一些提示：
As consultant for the 2012 Wine100 wine challenge which occurred in may this year, I was invited yesterday to help the Wine100 team in translating and hosting a wine tasting conducted by Andrew Caillard MW. About 40 wine professionals from Nanning took part in this event which consisted roughly in introducing how to judge wine.
Before and after the event, I had the chance to speak with Andrew about a few things, mainly about the crazy-driving MW examination and the eagerly awaited super-production wine documentary "Red Obsession".
It's been about two years since I first heard about this documentary. I remember getting in touch with its producer Warwick Ross from Lion Rock Films the same day I read about it. I was very concerned by how they would approach the subject of the special relationship between Bordeaux wine and the Chinese market, especially that we're used to hear so much negative things than positive ones, and that many people speak loudly about a market they really don't know, therefore propagating wrong informations. China is a VERY big country (17 times as big as France!), and focusing on the 3 big cities (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou) would give the spectator a rather narrow picture of this gigantic market. I was a bit relieved after I met Warwick at a coffee terrasse in Bordeaux, and I actually got persuaded that it is going to be a great documentary when I met the whole Australian crew in Shanghai last May.
Here is the video of the interview I made with Andrew. The first part is about his experience of the Master of Wine examination, and the second part is about the documentary.
And by the way, Andrew disclosed an info yesterday: the off-voice will be done by a famous Hollywood actor. But he didn't tell us who... Enjoy!
初闻此片大约是在两年前，我了解到这个消息的当天便与狮岩影业公司（Lion Rock Film）的制作人Warwick Ross取得联系，因为我对于他们将如何表现波尔多葡萄酒与中国市场的特殊关系非常感兴趣。尤其是在漫天负面新闻的情况下，许多人却言之凿凿的谈论着他们并不了解的中国市场，所以错误的信息才会得到传播。中国幅员辽阔（是法国的17倍），对于如此庞大的市场来说，假如目光只聚焦于三大城市（北京、上海、广州），只能算是管窥一豹。后来我在波尔多的一间露天咖啡厅与Warwick面谈之后才稍微松了一口气，随后在见过整个澳大利亚方剧组之后，我更是我坚信这部纪录片将会是一部优秀的纪录片。
What a nice party we had yesterday! I invited a few Chinese friends and colleagues to open a few bottles to celebrate my WSET Diploma completion. Dom Perignon 2000 was a bit disappointing but still a good wine to start with. Domaine de Montille Volnay 1er Cru "Les Taillepieds" 2007 showed better elegance and complexity than it used to one year ago. It seems that this wine is really opening up now, with intense red berries aromas and some smoky oak. Chateau Leoville-Poyferre 2005 was perfect, with complex roasted, animal and spices aromas behind the black fruits frame. Chateau Fleur-Cardinale 2006 was good but should have been drunk before LP. Casanova di Neri "Tenuta Nuova" 2004 was splendid! Rocche Costamagna Barolo Rocche Dell'Annunziata 2006 showed also much better than it used to be one or two years ago. Maverick Trial Hill Eden Valley Shiraz 2006 was elegant, medium body, very fragrant (floral), typical from this cool part of South-Australia.
昨天的聚会真不错！我邀请了一班中国朋友以及同事共同庆祝本人顺利通过WSET文凭考试。尽管唐培里侬2000年份的香槟让人有点小失望，仍不失为一个美好的开始。德蒙蒂酒庄-沃尔奈一级酒园“塔耶皮艾”2007年份与一年前相比显示出了更好的优雅与复杂度。如今这款酒已经处于盛放的状态，散发着浓郁的红色浆果香和些许烟熏的橡木味。龙柏菲酒庄2005年份则表现完美，黑色水果香伴随着复杂的烟熏、动物以及香料味。花妃城堡2006年份也表现良好，只是应放在龙柏菲酒庄之前饮用。Casanova di Neri "Tenuta Nuova" 2004年份的表现深得我心！科斯玛娜酒庄巴罗洛“天使报喜庄园”2006年份的表现也比一两年前优秀了许多。马华克-伊甸谷西拉干红2006年份优雅芬芳（花香），酒体适中，对于一款南澳凉爽气候地区的葡萄酒来说非常典型。