Is it possible to produce the top world-class wines in China? - FT中文网

Is it possible to produce the top world-class wines in China?

中国能否出品世界顶级佳酿?——FT Asia & Jade Vineyard CEO Dinner was successfully held

On October 26th, the FT Asia & Jade Vineyard CEO Dinner was successfully held at the Landmark Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. We were honored to have Asia-pacific senior directors in financial sector and several international wine professionals to be present at the wonderful night. The environment was flowing with splendorous glows. At the wonderful night and within the delightful atmosphere, delicate cuisine was elaborated to satisfy guests' sense, meanwhile nine fine wines were brought up successively, reflecting the expectation on every one's face and all the all presented the glory of humanity.

Jade Vineyard, as its name implies, is a fine jade located at the east foothill of Mount Helan beside Yinchuan city. It is an up-rising vineyard in China that is benchmarking the international standards with an international vision to make Chinese good wine. We learn from the new world and old world wine regions, and meanwhile respect nature and pursue Chinese characteristics for our wine.

As the “Demo tasting” of Jade Vineyard, we choose to hold the event in Hong Kong, where has a popular drinking history for over 100 years, and the guests to be present were wine drinkers with good wine education and rich experience.

On the cocktail reception, we began with Jade Vineyard Hyacinth Rose 2015, which was full of fruity, sweetness and joy. The dinner began with Dom Perignon 2006 and ended with Chateau d’Yquem 1986. In the main course, 6 types of wine were served for blind tasting, containing wines from Jade Vineyard, and also ones from new world and old world wine. The guests and experts would comment on each wine after tasting, and then voted for the top three wines.

We invited Olivier Poles as our special guest, who is now the deputy editor of (in short for RVF). Mr. Poles gave his comments for the first and the second red wines in blind tasting. “I knew China and Chinese wines 7 years ago. In each year, RVF China organizes a big Chinese wine competition in Beijing, and it's my honor to witness the development of Chinese wine industry in the past 7 years. Jade Vineyard as the up-raising vineyard has opened a new chapter in the Chinese wine industry. Today, we are very lucky to have the opportunity to explore and taste Jade Vineyard wines, and step out to follow its growth. I believe that in the near future, we'll be proud to say that we have witnessed the birth of the brand."

(Full version of the three wine experts' comments are in the end of article for your reference.)

Eric Degoutte, as the general manager of Kerry Wines Group and the Greater China Region, has been working as sommelier and then wine merchant for a long time. His taste buds have long been nourished by top wines in the world including Chateau Lafite, Chateau Latour, and even Romani-Conti. He is a French wine lover, always polite with a little bit of Male chauvinism and seldom present in the media. Jade Vineyard would like to invite this "tricky" wine expert and welcome his honest comments on our wines.

Angela, the CEO of FT Asia, made a wonderful statement during the event: "... we just watched the video of Jade Vineyard. It's romantic and beautiful. The terroir and the vineyard are never seen in any other parts of the world. You can not help to ask what's its history and stories, and imagine its future."

Mr. Chu Yibing, the famous cellist, was invited by the owner of Jade Vineyard. He could speak fluently Chinese, English, French and German, and became one of the most popular guests in the event. Within the atmosphere, he no longer cared about the carpet sound-absorbing and sound environment and played Bach cello solo and “Swan” of French composer Saint-Saens, offered us a glamorous spiritual drink.

After the blind tasting, we invited Jeannie Cho Lee MW, the Master of Wine in 2008, the world’s first Asian MW and also the wine goddess, to share her comments. She is Korean, and immigrated to the United States at a young age. Ms. Lee graduated from Harvard University with a master's degree. She had tasted Jade Vineyard Aria 2014 at a dinner party and highly evaluated the wine. This time in Hong Kong was her first time meeting with Jade Vineyard face to face.

Jeannie said: “All the six wines have their unique characteristics. The last two have finer tannins and a much more harmonious structure. And the No.5 has, I think, maybe a little bit more sweetness, and a little bit more generosity. While, wine No.6 tastes more restrained. If I were to characterize and describe the wines, No.6 was a little bit more elegant, and more Audrey Hepburn likely.”

Results of the blind tasting:

Jade Vineyard Messenger Dry red 2015——19 votes.

Opus one 2013, Napa valley, RP 100——16 votes.

Sassicaia 2013, Italy, RP 97——15 votes.

Which revealed that Jade Vineyard Messenger 2015 became the top 1 wine, and Opus one 2013 RP 100 and Sassicaia 2013 RP 97 respectively won top 2 and top 3. It was not surprising that Messenger 2015 won the top, even Eric Degouttes was excited by it and said :”This one is very good!”

Finally, Jade Vineyard Demo Tasting ended up in the harmonious and delightful atmosphere, with enduring wine fragrance and glamorous melody, we said good bye to the wonderful night and beloved friends. China as the new wine production region in the world, if it is possible to produce the top finest wine in the world? Look forward to seeing it.


Olivier Poels’s comments on the No.1 and No.2:

I know China and Chinese wines since 7 years. Because, maybe you know, we have a <> edition now in China and in Chinese. Each year, we organize a big Chinese wine tasting in Beijing. And it’s amazing to see all the Chinese wine industry has changed in 7 years. I must say that, during my first visit, I was a little bit disappointed drinking all those Chinese wines. It was the beginning of the story. And last year, during the tasting, I was really surprised by the quality of some of the wines. ….So Jade Vineyard is a young vineyard, it’s a young story in the wine industry. And as you know, making a wine takes time. So we have the chance to discover the young babies you produced, it’s always interesting to follow a story like that. And I’s sure in the future, in a few years, we will be proud to say, we were there at the beginning. And that’s very interesting.

So let talk now about this tasting and these wines, blind tasting is always a game, special game. We like it, of course. But it’s not really easy for us of course. We are in danger. I’m taking about wine tasting, one of the most famous French oenologist, used to say, in wine tasting, quick look at the label better than 20 years of experience. But I didn’t have the chance to have the quick look on the label. So a few of words about these 2 wines, quite different. As you can see, the first wine seems very young of course, in an elegant style. I like the freshness of the wine, the balance between good fruit and good acidity. It’s like what we can call classic wine. Not really powerful, more elegant than powerful. The second wine is really different. More structured, more modern style as you call. You feel the maturity of the grapes, you feel the oak, too….

Eric’s comments on the No.3 and No.4:

I’m not used to commenting when standing up. The fruity and acidity are well balanced, and not over matured. I’m not fond of over matured wines. They’re young and we can see their potentials. Let’s be patient and wait for their time.

Jeannie Cho LEE MW:

All six wines have their strengths. So if I may, I always like to see the glass have full rather than have empty. So I’m happy to talk about the strengths of each of the wines. But last two I found,to be the most harmonious, and to have the most wonderful texture of tannins. When I’m tasting red wines blind, what I really look for, it’s the quality and the texture of tannins. It’s like evaluating textiles: materiel you are feeling, the quality of the silk, of the cotton. Whatever materiel you are looking at, for me for red wines, the polyphenols, the tannin component is really at the core of assessing the quality. And the last two had finer tannins, had a much more harmonious structure. And No.5 had, I think, maybe a little bit more sweetness, and it had a little bit more generosity. While, wine No. 6 was more restrained, if I were to characterize and describe the wines, 6 was a little bit more elegant, more Audrey Hepburn like, and No.5, was, you know a bit more bigger in substance, and in sizes, and riper in taste as well. So they’re both different both balanced, but in their own unique way.

So, if I were to go back to the first 4 wines. The first wine, I found its strength was its amazing approachability, you open it you drink it, and you just say this is good. You know, you don’t have to think seriously about it, it’s one of the wines that you can drink easily and talk to people, have a great conversation. So that is its strength.

Wine No.2 had a wonderful restraint, and I like wines when it doesn’t tell you everything all right it’s keeping a little bit back and saying “get to know me a little better”. And I think you like me. So that was wine No.2

No.3, had a bit more forceful personality, it says you must like me. I’m great. Don’t I seem great? Don’t I have the ripeness? Don’t I have the fruit? You know, it was out there for you. You may not have liked it, because you think it’s a little bit forward, I don’t like forward people who approach me, and I don’t even know who they are, so it depends on your relationship with the wine. But it had that kind of personality.

Wine No.4 was also fruity and exuberant, outgoing, but in the finish, I think if you go back before, you see that, there is a little bit dryness, there is a little bit in the finish that tells you, you know what, I’m not ready for you. I’ not ready to talk to you today. So come back maybe, you know, in a couple of years, and we will, you know maybe we will have a good conversation then.

So that was kind of the character of the 6 wines I saw.