By Jim Boyce | Where to buy some decent Chinese wine for the holidays? I’ve received a slew of queries over the past few days so here are three picks for Beijing.
EVERWINES. First with Grace Vineyard from Shanxi, then with Silver Heights from Ningxia, distributor Torres played an early and crucial role popularizing Chinese wine in the face of widespread cynicism. Sadly, Grace is now on the verge of leaving, but Torres still stocks Silver Heights, the country’s first successful “garage” winery.
If you seek something beyond technically good and in the territory of intriguing, both Family Reserve at rmb262 and The Summit at rmb393 are worth a try. It’s best to decant and enjoy these slowly because, as the saying goes, they “develop in the glass.”
PUDAO. Paired with importer and distributor Summergate, now owned by Australian booze giant Woolworths, Pudao represents the Ningxia label Kanaan, which has quickly risen to rank among the country’s best. The Riesling, semi-sweet white and red blend are all decent drops at rmb150 each. I suggest spending a bit more and getting the Cabernet-driven Pretty Pony, currently on sale for rmb210, a full, fruity and juicy wine with a touch of spice that will please most anyone, whether novice or aficionado. You can get both Pretty Pony and the entry-level red for rmb333.
Pudao also two Chardonnays from Grace, the premium at rmb95—you could do a comparison tasting with the Kanaan Riesling—and the pricier Tasya’s Reserve, at rmb210, that will appeal to those who like more buttery wines. It also has Silver Heights Family Reserve for rmb275. You can find Pudao here or order online here.
MALI: With a brand new shop in SOHO New Town, Mali continues to stock a good portfolio that includes a handful of Chinese labels such as 1421 and Grace. This place also has two bubblies from Chandon in Ningxia, which are not only delicious but also fairly priced in a market where better Chinese wines are often ridiculously expensive. Grab the brut for rmb180 or rose for rmb223: if you’re undecided, go for the former. Mail Wine Cellar is at #501 of Building 3 in New Town, 88 Jiango Avenue.
And if sparkling wine is your thing, give Grace a try, too: it wowed with its reserve bubbly last year and also made three entry-level options. You can get those through Grace’s Tmall store.