Is Chinese Wine Any Good? | Episode #22


What is up guys? Julien Miquel here of Social Vignerons. Welcome back to another wine video. Today, I’m pleased to announce that
I’m tasting some wines from China. A very first first China wine tasting for me.
This is Episode #22 of the Tasting with Julien series. China of course is the big superpower
that we know. What is less known though, is that it’s also the sixth biggest wine-producing country in the whole world, after obviously France, Italy, Spain, the
United States, and Argentina. China comes 6th. In 2017 they produced 1 billion
liters of wine. So, a pretty big wine-producing nation. Their vineyard area is absolutely immense
and it’s the second biggest vineyard of a single country in
the whole world, just after Spain. But in China they do make a lot of table grapes rather than making wine out of it. Still, the Chinese love more and more
drinking wine and they love red wine. They famously prefer red wine to white or Rosé wine. China is also a massive, gigantic, market for the whole world. In 2017,
$2.7 billion U.S. dollars of wines were imported into China. The Chinese love
their wine, they produced quite a lot of it, but not enough. What is less known,
less talked about though, is how good chinese wines are today. That’s what
I wanted to find out. So I got some wines sent from China. I got some wines
from Chateau Changyu Moser. This is actually a collaboration between the
Chinese in the Ningxia province. This is right up in the north of China, pretty
much in the desert nearing Mongolia, this is actually a pretty big and pretty
famous up-and-coming Chinese wine region. This is a collaboration between the
Moser family a traditional old family of winemakers from the Niederösterreich
in Austria, Europe and the Chinese. Many believe Chinese wines aren’t that good. Why would they be importing so much wine
if they were making some good stuff. Well, I’m definitely curious to find out!
So I have 4 different wines. This is a white, slightly pinkish rosé.
It’s a white wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon, a Blanc de Noir white wine made from red grapes. And 3 different types of Cabernet Sauvignon-based Chinese wines. Chateau Changyu Moser 2015
Cabernet Sauvignon. This is about $10-$12 dollar wine. Those one may not be
available broadly globally obviously, The Chinese drink most of the wine they produce.
Then comes the ‘Moser Family’ Chateau Changyu Moser but ‘Mother Family’ cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the second wine, the second label
by this estate. And the top Premier Grand Vin from Changyu Moser.
It’s called Changyu Moser XV (15). Let’s find out and dig into those wines. *music* So first off is this curious rosé they
made from Cabernet Sauvignon. A white slightly pinkish. Let’s find out about
its color. As you can see it’s more of a white wine but it’s slightly blushy, so
maybe it’s made a little bit on the model of White Zinfandel although I
suspect this is going to be a dry wine. The wine smells very fruity, very zesty.
It’s very tropical as well, it smells almost like it’s going to be a sweet
wine after all. Let’s find out. So no, this is a dry wine. it’s extremely
extremely fruity, it’s is quite juicy as well. It’s got a little delicate phenolics
that makes you salivate. This is actually a very very clean, very pure,
very well-made wine. it’s very estery, a lot of pear,
a lot of pepper as well from the Cabernet. We know that Cabernet Sauvignon can
be quite peppery. It’s very fruity, tropical, explosive, but dry. This is a
food-friendly wine, very surprisingly actually. Very very good, very interesting wine.
I would pair this wine definitely on Chinese food but it could go on many
Western European dishes as well. Very food-friendly, an excellent well-rounded,
well-made wine. So explosive in flavors!
Yeah, with something a little bit different. Fruitier and more explosive than most wines that you taste, and for this it’s actually very very interesting.
I love Blancs de Noirs when it comes to Champagnes that are made for Pinot Noir.
But from Cabernet Sauvignon I don’t think I’ve ever had a white wine made
from Cabernet Sauvignon. And that’s a great example.
It’s a good start! But let’s move on to the entry-level
Cabernet Sauvignon by Changyu Moser. This is vintage 2016, so it’s a 2 years-old wine
at the time of the tasting. These Cabernet Sauvignons are made in
a very dry area north of China. As I was saying loads and loads of sunshine
so they have to irrigate a lot. It’s made in a wide valley, a large and long valley, up North in China. I’m curious to taste the expression
of Cabernet Sauvignon over there! Certainly, a fruity and peppery, warming,
warm generous nose. There’s a lot of blackberry jam and prune, and quince,
quince paste if you’re familiar with this. It’s very generous, it’s almost cooked,
very fruity as well. You can sense just smelling at it,
that those grapes have received a lot of sunshine. Wow! The wine on the palate is also very
generous. Big bursts of explosion of pepperiness, black pepper, clove and nutmeg.
An explosion of flavors. Prune, blackberry as I was saying,
juicy cherry as well. So there’s quite a lot going on. There’s a lot of oak as well.
Vanilla and smoky but it’s all pretty well integrated.
Wow! This is a big bang of flavors. It’s balanced, it’s mild. Tannins are granular,
a little edgy but they’re fine actually. An excellent, refined, quite complex a
Cabernet Sauvignon wine. I mean they say $10-$12. If that’s the actual retail
price you can buy it at, well! That seems to be a pretty good buy! You know the
Chinese might be starting to compete with the Spanish and maybe the Aussies
because this is generous and this is very very interesting a wine for $12! Let’s move on to the ‘Moser Family’.
That’s the name of the wine. It’s also Cabernet Sauvignon-based with
primarily Cabernet Sauvignon. This is vintage 2015 so it’s one year older.
Second label, second wine of the Changyu Moser estate. Definitely a little bit denser a color here, straightaway. But it’s not massive, it’s not like your big
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. or Australian Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s much milder in
appearance, more like a Bordeaux-looking wine. On the nose, it’s also very interesting.
Still a lot of oak. This smells like an evolved wine that may have spent
quite a long time in barrel, that may have evolved and integrated quite a lot of oak. Somewhat like Rioja in style, Gran Reserva, or Rioja Reserva style, where you
can sense that this generous fruit that spent a long time in oak.
But a very fruity again, very spicy nose. Blackberry, lots of pungent flavors,
lots of pepper. This is about a $30 wine. I mean the
price is going to vary depending where you buy this, whether it’s in Hong Kong
on mainland China, in the US or in Europe. and if you can find it obviously.
But I think it’s around $30. The tannins are denser and smoother, it’s actually very well-balanced, it’s round, it’s soft, it’s creamy, its dry. This is definitely on the
Bordeaux-style savoriness not not entirely just on the full-bodied
rich expression. There is some generosity from the big amount of
sunshine these grapes received. But it’s on the savory European,
old-school style, Claret-style for the UK audience. So soft, well-rounded wine.
Lots of complexity, pepperiness, spices and clove, nutmeg,
black pepper, an explosion of sweet spices. There’s actually quite a lot going on here! Certainly they’ve achieved an excellent
balanced wine. Big Ups to the winemakers who made this because it’s a very
European expression, it’s very controlled, its balanced and soft on your palate.
This to me scores a 90/100 points wine. This is getting really really serious.
This is really getting into the low-end, but world-class wines and I
guess that’s what you expect if you spend $30 on a wine. But compared to many French wines, and definitely compared to a lot of US wines you are getting a
refined well-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon for the bucks here. I am actually very
surprised how European this feels. Put this in a blind tasting. If you can
find this and you have friends that you want to surprise them, at a blind tasting,
put thin in a blind tasting and let me know what they think.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they were going definitely European, Southern European,
Bordeaux in a very warm vintage, 2009-vintage sort of wine, perhaps 2015.
But yeah, very well-rounded wine, excellent value at $30. Wow.
Getting worried that the Chinese might play on the international wine scene very very soon! Actually I’m not worried at all.
I think the Chinese and everyone else should come and play
in the international wine-scene. The more players, the more enjoyment, the more
choice we can get. So I am not actually worried at all.
I was just joking right here. Let’s move on to the Premier Grand Vin
by Chateau Moses Changyu: Chateau Changyu Moser number 15, Top cuvée by the estate.
So supposedly, what this estate can do best in terms of cabernet sauvignon-based
but we could call this a Meritage or a Bordeaux blend. Pretty dense color.
This is 2015 as well. It does look reder, more vibrant in its red colour.
I suspect it’s evolved a little bit less probably withstood the ageing in barrel
little bit better, a little bit fresher fruit on the nose. It’s deep and intriguing,
complex. there’s a lot of clove a lot of liquorice. It’s very much like smelling liquorice. It’s dark, dark oak. It’s a little bit shy. I suspect you
would want to decant this half an hour or an hour before serving, to let the wine
breathe up and open up a bit more, which I haven’t done. So yeah! A small step up here in terms of
quality. It does have a little bit more structure, it’s still very smooth and
soft on the palate. Still very dry. A big explosion of spices as well
perhaps the fruity expression is bigger and denser and richer here than on the
Moser Family. Certainly, more of an age-worthy wine because of the
structure. This to me is a 91/100 points wine. It’s well-crafted, it’s well-made. This is around the $50-mark in retail.This is getting interesting. 91 out of a 100 points,
it’s getting quite quite interesting. I may be a little bit less convinced overall,
given the price tag. So, they can make great great wines, great-value wines,
but the top top wine is not a massive superstar of a wine, at least
I don’t think it is. It’s ery well-made, very elegant, and it’s a very promising wine
for the Chinese wine industry and for the Ningxia wine region as well,
but this is not a 95/100 or anything mind blowing like this quite yet! So, overall, I’m very impressed with these wines.
They’re very clean. I was perhaps, you know, on the back of my mind, expecting
something a little bit strange out of Chinese wines. Maybe it is because they
have a European wine making family helping them, consulting here that the wines are so European in style and so well-crafted.
I mean, I don’t want to sound like… I don’t want to sound that I think only
Europeans can make great wine, I think anyone can make great wine,
but I was very surprised by the taste and the kind of European, maybe a bit French influence in these wines. Very well crafted, complex, and
excellent value for the bucks. Also, they seem to be extremely food-friendly wines
so definitely connoisseur wines right here, which I wasn’t necessarily
expecting out of those wines. So, very surprised!
China is crafting delicious wines. I can’t wait to taste more of those,
and I can’t wait to see perhaps more coming onto the different markets. I mean there’s room for everyone, for everyone that loves wine, that loves
making wine and who makes great wine. to go into the Western markets.
Thank you to Changyu Moser for sending those wines over to me. Super interesting!
I hope you enjoyed this video. I’ve got some English sparkling wines coming up next. I’ve never tried British sparkling wines before, another curiosity you could call it,
in the world of wine, not mainstream wines. Super excited to taste those…
I will see you soon in the wine world… Cheers…

5 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *