December 2008

Corks vs. screw tops, Bali wine, and Santa Claus: Just another Friday night with Frank

December 24, 2008 // 3 Comments

(If you like this blog, please support it with a vote in the China Blog Awards, by clicking the “+” sign here.) By Jim Boyce I’ve spent a great deal of time drinking and thinking about wine this past year and have emerged with mixed opinions, but happily I just got an email from regular commentator 8 Songs that reminded me why I like both wine and the Friday night with Frank tastings in Beijing. There aren’t many places where you can have an impromptu cork versus screw top contest, try an Indonesian wine, and experience excellent comradery all in one night. So, here […]

Aussie rules: A team from Down Under tackles terroir

December 20, 2008 // 1 Comment

– By Jim Boyce Three things impressed me at a recent Landmark Australia event in Beijing: The inspired Australian approach to promoting wine in China (which partly explains why that country, and not Italy or the United States, is the number two exporter to China). The notable Australian ability to seem even-handed – and even humble – when telling someone to bugger off. The superb Australian wines that covered numerous grape varieties and regions. Let me set the scene: Organized by Wine Australia, the event kicked off at 10:30 AM at Green T. House, a trinity of art gallery, restaurant, and […]

Grape Press – Frankenwine: Chinese scientists make shocking discovery

December 19, 2008 // 0 Comments

— By Jim Boyce Call it Frankenwine. According to the The Daily Telegraph, a system is being developed in China that uses electrical equipment to speed the aging process of wine, “turning young wine from an undrinkable bitter grape juice into a quaffable beverage fit for any table.” A team led by Xin An Zeng, a chemist at the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, came up with the idea of pumping the rough wine through a pipe that ran between two titanium electrodes, connected to the mains. For the test wine, the team selected a three-month-old cabernet sauvignon from […]

Foxy grapey: Chinese wines from Yunnan, Ningxia, Hebei

December 12, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce On Monday night, I tried three Chinese wines at Duck de Chine with a group of beverage researchers that included visiting Aussie wine critic Jeremy Oliver and fellow Grape Wall contributors Nicolas Carre, Frankie Zhao, and John Gai. Here is the lineup and the results. – Yunnan Crystal Dry White 2002 (Yunnan / ~RMB30 if memory serves) Made with a grape variety brought to south-central China by missionaries in the nineteenth century, this wine tends to elicit extreme reactions: Oliver grimaced with his first sniff, called it “foxy“, then refined his evaluation to “boiled pineapple lolly with […]

Tasting time Beijing: Taittinger, Gerard Bertrand, I Am Paradox

December 11, 2008 // 0 Comments

The parade of wine events continues in Beijing with the next few days seeing more than a half-dozen tastings and dinners. Tonight sees everything from a free Petit Bordeaux tasting at Amigo to an organic wine and food dinner at the Hilton to a Taittinger Champagne dinner at the newer Hilton in Wangfujing. Add in Aria’s World Series Wines, an Osso Bucco dinner at Sequoia, and a Pio Cesare Italian wine dinner, along with the I Am Paradox follow-up at OT Lounge this Sunday, and it kind of feels like Beijing sips while the world economy burns. Here’s the lineup […]

Jeremy Oliver: China book launch slated for March

December 10, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce Australian wine critic Jeremy Oliver, who spent the past week in Shanghai and Beijing, will soon reach out to the local market. I caught up with him last night in the capital and he said that Trends publishing will release his book on wine in March. Expect a tome of up to 300 pages that will see significant distribution among the trade. – See also: Jeremy Oliver: On the China wine scene

Wine Word: Top Cellar GM Julien Bonnard

December 9, 2008 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce Wine importer and retailer Top Cellar started business about two years ago in Beijing. I talked to GM Julien Bonnard about the company’s strategy, customer mix, and forays into China’s second-tier cities as well as the biggest challenges he faces. – What strategy has Top Cellar followed over the past two years? We wanted to create a portfolio different from supermarkets, mass retailers like Metro, and gourmet shops like Jenny Lou’s. We did it by sourcing from local suppliers and finding wines that are exclusive, such as those sold only in hotels and restaurants. The result is […]

A mystery solved: What does Foreign Girl taste like?

December 8, 2008 // 0 Comments

What does Foreign Girl taste like? Strawberries. So concluded a group that last night tried a bottle of this liquid concocted by Chang Bai Shan Wine, located in Jilin province in northeastern China. I bought it in Beijing at Carrefour. Actually, no strawberries here, but a friend who guessed “strawberries and herbs” gets points as this light (8 percent alcohol) somewhat sweet wine includes a few ingredients commonly found in Chinese medicine, including wolfberry. I realize my photo is terrible (again) so here is the English written below “Foreign Girl” on the label (I reproduce it here with typos): The […]

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