For those of us social media nuts with an interest in wine, September 1 was “Carbernet Day” throughout the world. If you are a Tweeter or Facebooker, you may have heard the clammer about this event.
The idea behind Cabernet Day is for thousands of wine fans, all around the world, to drink and comment, via social media, on Cabernets. It was also an opportunity to learn about this wonderful varietal, with writers posting articles and blogs throughout the day.
For me, it provided the opportunity to take my first shot at Chinese wine. Chinese Cabernet Sauvignon is prevalent here in the Middle Kingdom and I was determined to jump right into it. Just for the heck of it, I procured a second Cab just in case I had the time and inclination to do some more Cabernet “research”.
DYNASTY CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Dynasty is a Sino-French Joint Venture out of Tianjin. Their second largest shareholder is Remy Cointreau, who provides the basis for the production process within the winery. Established in 1980, Dynasty holds a very strong presence in the Chinese wine market and is very profitable, with 100 different wine and wine related products. http://www.dynasty-wines.com/en/ab_profile.htm
The Dynasty Cabernet Sauvignon, unfortunately, was not one of the best Cabs I have ever tasted. It was lacking on both the nose and the palate. The nose was very closed showing only a slight hint of red fruit. The palate was also limited displaying a small amount of red fruit with very little body. I had to search for tannins and acidity which gave the Cab a “flat” characteristic. This was not what I was hoping for in terms of my entry into the Chinese wine world.
Chinese wine production has been growing dramatically in the past couple of years. The Chinese have the taste and market for fine wine— currently inflating the futures market for Bordeaux wines in particular. Unfortunately, the general consumer here has to, for the near future, live with wine producers/farmers, who are used to producing grapes for quantity and not quality. Until they reverse that trend, winemakers here will continue to produce wine that is going to be difficult to export successfully.
On the bright side of my Chinese wine exploration, there is wine here that has some upside. In researching the industry I have discovered that two producers are starting to make some good wine. Grace Vineyards and Silver Heights, with winemaker Emma Gao, are starting to produce respectable vino. I am on the lookout for these producers and will let you know what I find.
Peter Lehmann Cabernet
For my second Cab of the day (because I had all day to taste Cabernet), I chose a Peter Lehmann Cabernet. Peter Lehmann is a Barossa Valley producer of some award winning, reasonably priced wines. They are easily accessible— especially here in China! I have had the Lehmann Shiraz, which I enjoyed a great deal, so I thought I would give their Cab a shot.
This Aussie Cab is ruby red in the glass. Cedar, leather and cherry aromas fill your nose. On the palate, I got hints of black and red fruits, coffee and a bit of green pepper on the back end. The tannins are firm and the acid is good. Peter Lehmann wines have a great QPR and are worth trying if you have not done so already.
I enjoyed my Cabernet Day from China. It is my intent to explore the world of wine in China and their Cabernet is a great place to start. I look forward to the journey and hope that you will follow along into this “new world” of wine.