Counting Chinese wines: How Berry Bros. & Rudd cured my insomnia

berry bros. and rudd changyu wines blog page capture

By Jim Boyce

Just the other night, as I lay awake yet again at 3 AM with eyes wide, brow sweaty and mind swirling, I grappled with the question that has haunted me for what seems an eternity: “When will Berry Bros.  & Rudd give its stamp of approval to some Chinese wines so I can get some sleep?”

To be honest, I might have gone from pondering that question to screaming it in utter despair into the deep dark somewhat murky Beijing night. My memory is fuzzy.

Why wouldn’t it be? After years and years of trying Chinese wines, and finding quite a few that I was 99.99 percent sure were good, it seemed all I required to be completely convinced was a stamp. A stamp of approval.  And not just any old stamp of approval. One from Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Now, like manna from heaven, or a stamp stamping something stamp-able — like, um, wine — it has fallen.

From Berry’s blog:

We’ve given Chinese wines the stamp of approval, as this week four Chinese wines join our wine list and are now on sale in our St James’s Street shop and on our website.

[48 hours have passed since I typed the above quote. My first decent sleep in years. Now I know what it feels like to be cellared. Thank you Berry Bros. & Rudd.]

The wines hail from China mega-producer Changyu: three are ice wines from Liaoning and one is a Cabernet-Merlot from Ningxia made in partnership with Austrian Lenz Moser.

By the way, about the title of Berry’s post: “Chinese wine comes of age“.

I thought supermarket chain Waitrose had Chinese wine coming of age by stocking one wine last year, preceded by Decanter having it come of age by giving a Ningxia wine an “international trophy” in 2011, preceded by — let’s skip about a hundred steps — a Huadong Chardonnay winning a medal at VinExpo in 1987. Sequoias come of age faster than that.

Disclaimer: This reaction to Berry’s announcement might have been slightly influenced by how many times the company’s fifty-year ‘predictions’ about China’s wine industry have been cited. More on this soon.

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