December 2007

Holiday cheer! Palette offers 100 wines for 100 kuai

December 28, 2007 // 9 Comments

– By Jim Boyce Good holiday fun last weekend in Beijing as Palette Vino organized a five-hour tasting of more than 100 of its wines… for a mere RMB100 (USD13). Add last month’s Taste of the Nations with 150 wines from Torres China (RMB188 / USD25) and the recent Hilton Food & Wine Experience with over 1,000 wines (RMB230 / USD31), and it’s fair to say the wine scene is especially consumer friendly of late. I’d call these events early Christmas gifts from Santa but there’s no way even a dozen red-nosed reindeer could find us in this city’s mucky pollution. I managed […]

Beijing wine notes: coal, exhaust… and is that a hint of asbestos?

December 27, 2007 // 0 Comments

– By Jim Boyce  Like a mysterious fog slowly drifting in from the Grand Banks… like a heavy morning haze that like an unwanted guest forgets to leave for three days… like baby mice playing in cotton balls… I’m trying to find a way to describe Beijing’s record-breaking air pollution for this year, which hit 421 parts per million today. Perhaps a fellow patron describes the scene best: “It’s like watching a [figurative] skull and crossbones cross the sky.” Those engaged in wine tasting tonight might want to skip taking notes, unless they prefer ones that read, “hints of coal, notes […]

All I want for Christmas is… a sommelier

December 25, 2007 // 0 Comments

– By Jim Boyce  According to the The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan has created the first “robot sommelier.” This might make for a stocking stuffer… if you like wine… and you’re rich… and your feet are big. “The 40-centimeter-tall robot can determine the type of wine, and varieties of ingredient grapes, by holding a sensor built into its hand over the bottle,” says the article. While the robot can’t yet pull a cork, pour wine or throw out unruly patrons, it’s a start. This one has no legs.

Chinese wine, vintage 393 BC

December 20, 2007 // 0 Comments

– By Jim Boyce The China Daily reports that 2400-year-old wine has been discovered in Shaanxi province. “Local archaeologists said they unearthed a sealed bronze pot containing 2 kg of red liquid during an excavation of an ancient tomb built in the Warring States Period (475 BC – 221 BC),” states the paper. “Wafts of the ancient vintage greeted the archaeologists after they opened the pot.” How did they know it was 2,400 years old? The year was on the bottle! (Kidding) The newspaper did not provide any tasting notes but did report that the wine has been sent to Beijing for verification. […]

Holiday warm-up: 100 wines for 100 kuai, and more

December 19, 2007 // 0 Comments

Here are a few wine tastings over the next few days to get you warmed up for Christmas: December 22 Let the holiday spirit pour forth as Palette Wines holds a tasting of more than 100 wines for 100 kuai. The Christmas Wine Bazaar is Saturday, 2 PM to 7 PM, on the second floor of the Central Park banquet hall (apparently, the hall is in the center of Central Park). There is a 15 percent discount on purchases made at this event. Some constructive criticism – Palette, for the love of Santa Claus, please give us more warning when […]

Pruning in Beijing: The battle against cold

December 18, 2007 // 0 Comments

– By Alain Leroux  One of the big challenges of making wine in Beijing is pruning the vines. Due to the warmer weather this year, we began pruning at Taillan one month later than usual, starting on November 7 and finishing on November 29. We plant our vines in depressions. This allows for irrigation and it makes burial of the vines easier. In order to bury the vines, we prune them to two branches. This allows us to bend the branches against the ground and cover them with 40 centimeters of soil. (Before, our local workers would prune the vines […]

Launched: Greater China Sherry Association

December 16, 2007 // 1 Comment

– By Jim Boyce and Campbell Thompson The Greater China Sherry Wine Association held its inaugural Beijing event one month ago. A dozen Beijing-based wine writers, distributors and academics attended a wine dinner at Aria hosted by Cesar Saldana, president of Jerez-Xeres-Sherry DO, and John Isacs of Enjoy Gourmet, who is a certified Sherry educator and a writer for this blog. Sherry, which like Champagne is tied to a geographical area, is little known in China. Saldana aims to change this. Projects under consideration include training Chinese wine professionals in Spain, tastings for local media, and pairing the promotion of Sherry and traditional […]

Small haul in Beijing: Hot, moist weather affects production

December 13, 2007 // 0 Comments

– By Alain Leroux We didn’t have a lot of grapes this year at Taillan. The main problem is that I left for a three-week holiday in 2005, the staff didn’t properly care for the vines, and some of them became diseased, lost too many leaves, and died during the winter. We had to replant some of the vineyard and it will take three years minimum to return to full capacity. We also changed some grape varieties we are growing. Production is currently limited to less than 10 hectares, less than half of our capacity. A major challenge with growing grapes in Beijing is […]

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