Chinese wine Chateau Changyu Moser XV
Here comes another story where the traditional Bordeaux sphere is under some kind of attack. After the succession of Latour (non-) events this month, the hit comes from much farther: China.
It’s no big news that China has been developing dramatically its wine sector over the last decade. In terms of consumption, it has been on the rise over the past ten years (doubling in the last five) and still does. This was considered good news for wine-exporting countries, not even mentioning their peculiar purchasing power of fine wines. In terms of volume, Chinese production is now ranked among the first ten, rivaling with New World production levels (USA, Australia, Chile, Argentina…) but with much higher growth rates. This was not much of a concern, as the quality was still considered rather poor. But with time, massive investments and worldwide support, Chinese wine has also tremendously gained in quality. And this could start raising some eyebrows.
Most recently, the notorious London-based wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, has decided to include Chinese references in its sought-after list. Not any Chinese wine, but the oldest and largest producer of the country – Changyu Pioneer Wine Company – who is also famous for its Bordeaux-style châteaux exhibited on the bottle tags. Four references to start with: Chateau Changyu Moser XV (Cabernet-Sauvignon / Merlot blend – 27 £ per bottle EP), and three ice wines Chateau Changyu Ice Wine Gold, Blue and Black labels (respectively 13 £, 25 £ and 48 £ per half-bottle EP).
Let us sum up. A ‘château’ name, with a ‘château’ tag, a Bordeaux-style blend, being sold ‘en primeur’ by one of the most famous London wine merchant. Still nothing to be concerned about? And quoting Mark Pardoe, Berry Bros & Rudd’s wine buying director: “The 2008 vintage we have bought, you really can’t tell it is Chinese”. Food for thought… Let’s talk again in five years!
#YR – Yann Rousseau
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