October 2007

New cellar dweller at TRIO

October 25, 2007 // 0 Comments

TRIO opened in May of 2006 and included: a reincarnation of Beijing’s oldest non-hotel bar, Frank’s Place, at ground level; a seventy-seat New York grill and piano bar, Park Grill, up top; and the high-end wine-centric The Cellar in, no surprise, the basement. Frank’s Place is doing fine, with improvements to the deck helping, but The Park Grill and The Cellar have struggled. TRIO management reports the latter has been rented to a Korean company that operates eight wine bars in Seoul under the name Le Cave. The Cellar was unique to Beijing, with pint-sized suits of armor and wrought-iron […]

Grape finds: Lufthansa Centre

October 18, 2007 // 0 Comments

I popped into the basement supermarket of the Lufthansa Center in Beijing and found a bonanza of booze. In addition to solid imported wine, vodka, gin, sake and whisky selections, the latter including the rarely found (in Beijing) Woodford Reserve Bourbon (561 kuai), it also offered a decent selection of Chinese wines. Alongside the Great Wall, Dynasty and Fengshou, which included plenty of vintages, at least according to the bottle labels, in the 1990s, there was the fairly hard-to-find Huadong, although no recent vintages. The Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were both 2000, the Riesling was 2002. A range of Grace […]

Grace (again): Face, FT, and feedback on five wines

October 13, 2007 // 1 Comment

I spotted yet another place selling Grace wines in Beijing – upscale Face has the entry-level Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon for 220 per bottle (about four times retail) and the Tasya’s Reserve (I think it was the Cabernet Sauvignon) for 350 kuai. Face also has Catai Chardonnay at 220 per bottle. Praise from England as the most recent Financial Times column by Jancis Robinson lists Grace under “Fine wines from unexpected sources”: Grace, Chairman’s Reserve Merlot/Cabernet 2004. The finest wine so far made in the country that is already the world’s sixth most important grower of grapevines even though eastern China tends to be a bit too […]

Variety is the wine of life

October 10, 2007 // 0 Comments

A heads up for those in Beijing and looking for some wine education. Fongyee Walker and Edward Ragg will hold their second seminar on varietals tonight at the Park Plaza Grand Salon — tasting starts at 7 PM, followed by buffet dinner. These seminars are in conjunction with Oxford & Cambridge Club Beijing. Price: 250RMB. Ticket price includes all wines, detailed English/Chinese tasting sheets and other info as well as dinner in Park Plaza’s Bloo Dining. Those interested in attending should RSVP to fongyee@cantab.net

A bunch of changes at Grapewallofchina

October 9, 2007 // 0 Comments

Just a heads up to readers to expect some changes to this blog in the next month or so. Rather than having one writer (that would be me), grapewallofchina will soon have ten people in the wine industry – whether as makers, distributors, educators, writers or consumers – as contributors. This will give a more comprehensive view of what is going on here in the Middle Kingdom, and, to say the least, a lot is going on. For those living in Beijing, I’m also working on creating some special wine packages. Say, for example, you want to try some Chinese wines […]

Taste test: Bolongbao and Le Champs D’or

October 8, 2007 // 0 Comments

Last Friday’s wine tasting at Sequoia Cafe here in Beijing was a bring-your-own-bottle affair. In addition to assorted bottles from France, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, there were two from China. Here are some notes: Le Champs D’or: Le Vin Desert de Gobi, 2003 No varietal indicated, but it smelled like a typical Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a drinkable wine, though the body is a little bitter. “They tried to extract too much,” said winemaker Alain Leroux. “It was macerated for too long.” It was fairly light with some nice cherry and red plum. “It’s definitely drinkable, there […]