By Jim Boyce
After waitingÂ six monthsÂ in vain for aÂ distributor to officially represent wines from one of my favorite Chinese wineries –Â Kanaan in NingxiaÂ — I have decided toÂ sell my own stock. I have done over fifteen tastings of Kanaan wines with consumers and trade people, have received good feedback, and will have a dozen bottles each of the dry Riesling, semisweetÂ whiteÂ and dryÂ red blendÂ (photo below) available Saturday at the shopÂ La Cava de LaomaÂ (details below).
Consider this also the official launchÂ of a project known for the moment as as TheÂ Grape Wall & La Cava Chinese Wine Bar & Shop. (Write that name down cuz it’s hard to remember.) More details to come from me and La Cava’s Mariano LarrainÂ soon.
Back to Kanaan: This project is run byÂ Wang Fang, known as “Crazy Fang“, who lived in Germany for over a decade and returned to China determined to make wine (she’s in the top left photo).Â I visited Kanaan last year with winemakers from Bordeaux, Napa, Mendoza and StellenboschÂ and they enjoyed the wines. Kanaan has also received praiseÂ from top critics like Jancis Robinson, Michel Bettane and Thierry Dessauve. Most importantly, fellow consumers like these wines.
Anyway, finding decent ChineseÂ wines made with local fruit and priced below rmb150 is not easy. For those curious about local wines, and who have tastedÂ Grace Vineyard, Silver Heights, Great River Hill and others,Â these are as much-try as it gets. Here is what will beÂ available:
– RieslingÂ 2013. A light fruity dry white wine: people have cited citrus, passion fruit and a touch of greenness when tasting this one. It should go down well chilled on a nice warm Spring day. (12 percent alcohol / rmb100 per bottle)
– Semisweet White 2014. Primarily Riesling and Chardonnay, with a dash ofÂ “mountain grapes“. This wine was in the tankÂ during out visit — see its cloudy goodness in the right-middle photo above — and did very well in theÂ taste tests. (11 percent alcohol / rmb100 per bottle)
– ‘Gutenland” Cuvee 2013. As blend of Cabernet Saugvignon, MerlotÂ andÂ Cabernet Gernischt, this is the entry-level red for Kanaan. Fruity and easy to drink. I suggest swirling your glass lots to let this one “breath”. (12.5 percent alcohol / rmb100 per bottle)
All of the wines are rmb100 per bottle forÂ thisÂ one-time deal, a price I doubt you will see again. (I’m not knocking distributor prices, as they have rent, staff and other expenses.)
You can reserve up to three bottles but need to pick them up Saturday or make other arrangements with me.Â Reserve bottles or check on supplies via my weixin account — ID: beijingboyce — or email meÂ atÂ beijingboyce boyce (at) yahoo.com.
La Cava also has lots of other delicious wines from rmb50 per bottleÂ and, on Fridays and Saturdays, wine by the glass fromÂ rmb15. You can enjoy them in the shop, which hasÂ seating for about two dozen people, and also order in food.
Finally, I’ll probably bring a few other Chinese wines to share.
The details once more:
What: Sale ofÂ Kanaan wine from Ningxia, one of the best wineries from what is widely seen as the China’s best region.
When: From 3 PM, Saturday, April 11
Where: La Cava, Sanlitun SOHO, Building 3, number 133. The shop is in the only orange-ish building in the complex. Go inside and you will find it on the first floor at the south end.
Who: Those interested in Chinese wines. Unless you are a snob, and like to show off your knowledge while making others feel insecure. In that case, go hang out atÂ Jenny Lou’s and bother the wine buyers there!
Why: Because I’m tired of waiting and want to share these wines.
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