By Jim Boyce | Made by Moët Hennessy high in the mountains of Yunnan, Ao Yun is the first Chinese label to trade on the Liv-ex fine wine exchange. A six-bottle case of the 2013 Cabernet-dominated blend, made with grapes sourced at heights of 2500 meters to 2700 meters, traded from £1,410 (rmb12,200) to £1,600 (rmb13,800) this week, according to a Liv-Ex press release.
This news will no doubt be embraced by quality wine producers in China, who often face criticism about their pricing and will hope this case is a sign of things to come. Ao Yun was officially launched at VinExpo in Hong Kong this year, after already earning kudos from critics such as Jancis Robinson, Jane Anson, Jasper Morris and Elin McCoy.
Yunnan, which borders Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam is an intriguing region not only because its wines have shown promise for years but also due to the extreme locations of its vineyards and wineries, to a history that includes 19th-century European missionaries who came bearing vines, and to the use of hybrid varieties that disappeared long ago in Europe. Unlike the bigger and better-known wine regions to the north, there is no need in Yunnan for the costly tasks of burying vines each fall to protect them against dry and cold winters.
For more on the Yunnan wine scene, check out this 2500-word regional analysis I wrote for Meininger’s Wine Business International–click here for the pdf–with comments from experts like Ma Huiqin, Yang Huafeng, Shan Shumin, Jean-Guillaume Prats, David Tyney and Kelly Pearson.
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