Chateau Hansen in China: Bruno Paumard pursues wine in ‘Grand Cru style’

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By Jim Boyce

Inner Mongolia operation Chateau Hansen will soon launch a new ‘Red Camel’ wine that wine maker Bruno Paumard says is made in “Grand Cru style“. I tried five Hansen wines yesterday and will write about those and the winery soon, but for now a quick post about this new bottle. Paumard says the wine is 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and production will be limited to a few thousand bottles. We tried a sample, with final bottling to be done in the next month or two. In Paumard’s words:

“Here’s the way we do it. First, the grapes came from one parcel, only planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, from [the neighboring region of] Ningxia. These vines are up to 12 years old. We have two harvests. The first is when the grapes are around 12 degrees and about one-third of the grapes are not harvested. The second is a very late harvest, when the leaves are gone and only the grapes are left and they are very dry. We made four barrels of wine with this second harvest and are keeping it new French oak for 26 months. It is very minimalist. We wait until the wine gives signs it wants to get out of the barrel. The blend is 30 percent from this second harvest and 70 percent from the first harvest.

Paumard says an exclusive contract with the vineyard provides control over the grapes and allows him to keep the site organic. “The farmers are very happy because there is no problem with disease,” he says.

The wine we tried is deep purple. The initial smell is mild faint dark fruit that steadily gains strength and intensity and includes aromas of sweet oak, vanilla and cassis. The wine is juicy and round and after a half hour became a little “chewy”. It had spiciness from mid-palate, nice tannins and a touch menthol at the finish. The wine didn’t fully open during the tasting and it would be interesting to see how it develops over a few hours or when decanted.

Paumard says he will take a half-dozen bottles to the London International Wine Fair later this month.

More of Hansen and Paumard soon.

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