Over 100 wines including LVMH’s Ao Yun and Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite)’s Long Dai are reviewed in RPWA’s first comprehensive report on Chinese wines
SINGAPORE – 17 December 2020 – In 20 years’ time, is it possible that the Grand Crus on your table will comprise Ao Yun, Long Dai, Grace, Puchang and Silver Heights wineries? China’s young wine industry is one to watch in the coming years as it continues to push boundaries, attract talent from all over the world and adapt to challenges in its path. Meanwhile, China remains an important wine market even as its wines are entering the international market. For those looking to understand Chinese wines in the coming decades, there is now a comprehensive resource to refer to.
True to its core mission of publishing regionally focused reports since it was founded in 1978, Robert Parker Wine Advocate has released its long-awaited comprehensive China Wine Report 2020, which joins the growing international coverage of wine regions reported by the review team.
The Robert Parker Wine Advocate report format includes an in-depth introduction and vintage reports that are the reviewer’s expert opinions on the vintage, based predominately on their tastings and taking into consideration their regional visits and interviews with winemakers / viticulturalists. The China Report 2020 is helmed by China reviewer Edward Ragg, Master of Wine (MW), who has been actively tasting Chinese wines since moving to Beijing in 2007 with his wife Fongyee Walker MW.
China wine trends to look out for
- More diversity in grape varieties, such as Marselan, Aglianico, Saperavi, Alibernet
- The most promising stars of the past few vintages
- Adventurous and new wine styles, such as organic, biodynamic and natural wines
Edward Ragg’s introduction takes the opportunity to highlight the increasing variety of wine grapes introduced to China, even as Cabernet Sauvignon remains the top planted grape for wine production. He explains, “Grace Vineyard (Shanxi) was among the first to go beyond the Bordelais approach, in recent years producing compelling traditional method sparkling as well as wines from alternative varieties including Aglianico and Marselan. Marselan is undoubtedly playing an increased role across China as the fungally-resistant crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache that adds generous colour to Chinese reds and some much-needed fruitiness. Chateau Nine Peaks in Shandong’s Qingdao is, similarly, experimenting more with Petit Verdot and Alibernet: a crossing of Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon which, similar to Marselan, adds fruit and colour to blends.”
For those who want to know which quality names to collect, Ragg names a few: “From Ao Yun and Long Dai to long-term veterans of the smaller family operations such as Grace, Silver Heights and Puchang, Chinese fine wine will hopefully continue to be defined by the drive for quality in the vineyard and cellar these producers demonstrate.” Ragg has included vintage tasting notes for the debut 2017 and 2018 releases of Long Dai, and its second wine Hu Yue.
He is also excited that the thirst for invention has extended to natural wines produced by tiny producer Ian Dai in Ningxia; and sparkling and orange wines at Silver Heights, which under winemaker Emma Gao is working on biodynamic wine methods.
Ragg concludes, “Whilst there are some inevitable exclusions to this first report, I’ve tried to cover the country’s very best wines and those most likely to whet the appetites of Robert Parker Wine Advocate subscribers. That said, I look forward to covering an even wider range of Chinese fine wines in future. Chinese wine is, indeed, just coming of age.”
The top 10 scoring wines from Robert Parker Wine Advocate’s China Wine Report 2020 are:
2014 Canaan Winery Reserve Merlot, Huailai, Hebei (RP 94 points)
2014 Domaine Franco Chinois Petit Manseng, Huailai, Hebei (RP 93 points)
2015 Ao Yun, Di Qing, Yunnan (RP 94 points)
2018 Domaine de Long Dai, Penglai, Shandong (RP 93 points)
2018 Chateau Nine Peaks Qi Chardonnay, Qingdao, Shandong (RP 94 points)
2015 Jade Vineyard Messenger Reserve, Helan Shan, Ningxia (RP 94 points)
2017 Silver Heights Emma’s Reserve, Helan Shan, Ningxia (RP 94 points)
2017 Xige Estate First Label, Ningxia (RP 94 points)
2018 Grace Vineyard Interval (Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon), Ningxia (RP 93 points)
2014 Puchang Vineyard Reserve Saperavi, Turpan (RP 94 points)
About Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Robert Parker Wine Advocate is the world’s premier independent wine buyer’s guide and website with more than 450,000 tasting notes, scores and reviews from professional critics around-the-world. For over 40 years, Robert Parker Wine Advocate (a part of the MICHELIN Group of companies) has been the global leader and independent consumer’s guide to fine wine with its 100-point rating system and in-depth coverage of major wine regions.