Rare China wine dinners: 1968 Beerenauslese and 2010 Erguotou

Beerenauslese and Erguotou, cap and cork...

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Call me cocky but I’m claiming a recent wine dinner I attended was the first to include a 1968 Austrian Beerenauslese, an organic Israeli Petit Syrah and, according to the date stamp on its screw cap, a 2010 Chinese Erguotou. I tried this trio of beverages with three fellow Grape Wallers: the feast was organized by Ma Huiqin, for a visitor from Chile, with Li Demei and Frankie Zhao also in attendance. Here is the beverage breakdown.

Austrian Stift Klosterneuberg Beerenauslese 1968: I bought this during a Wine Austria tasting because I couldn’t resist the price, rmb600, which is slightly less than a bottle of non-vintage Moet Chandon in a Beijing club. It turned out to be a bargain. The smells included honey, ripe apricot and a touch of spice, while the body was slightly and included honey and a light, bordering on tart, baked apple taste. Zhao called the fruit “pronounced” and said he sensed some minerality.

Israeli Petit Syrah: I didn’t get the name of this wine but it was young, with plenty of fruit, and had an intense raisin smell. It was also oxidized. (For those wondering how we ended up with this bottle: Ma has a lot of links with the wine industry in Israel).

Chinese Hong Xing (Red Star) Erguotao 2010: This is a twice-distilled grain spirit and packs a kung fu kick at 56 percent alcohol. No baked apple smells but, as Li noted, it did have some yeasty aromas. Both Li and Zhao said they enjoyed it and I can say it is much better to sip than to pound via the ganbei method. A 100 ml bottle retails shy of rmb4 – that translates to less a U.S. dollar or Euro.

I’m guessing I won’t see that lineup at a dinner again…

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