By Jim Boyce | Silver Heights ranks among my favorite wineries but one knock against it has been price, with the Family Reserve typically about 300 yuan and the top-level The Summit between 450 yuan and 500 yuan. True, the portfolio has included wines priced about 100 yuan, but these were almost exclusively for the winery’s home region of Ningxia. So it’s good news that Silver Heights’ national distributor Torres is releasing a pair of wines much easier on the budget.
The white blend and red blend go by the name The Last Warrior, with the front label featuring a terrocotta warrior and the back one including patriotic language. They will retail for 158 yuan each, with a special introductory price of 128 yuan.
I got two samples from Everwines, retail arm of Torres, last week and showed the labels to lots of people with mixed reactions—everything from cool to crass. You can check out the labels below and decide for yourself!
Anyway, we had the two wines with Christmas dinner at Pop-Up Beijing on Sunday.
The white wine is a blend of near equal parts Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The label says it has “an array of tropical fruit aromas with a crisp, dry and refreshing acidity”. People cited smells like lychee, pear and pineapple, but for me those first whiffs reveal that Sauvignon Blanc through a vegetal aroma.
Like most Silver Heights offerings, this wine is fairly restrained, with a nice balance of fruit and acidity, and a soft minerality and slight spiciness at the finish. Take your time: we drank our bottle over 90 minutes and found the aromas constantly changing.
The red is a 60-40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that, says the label, “flaunts fresh, ripe aromas of dark fruits with a lingering and smooth finish.” I can buy that. Far more pungent than the white, it did, indeed, have lots of darkish fruit smells plus a slight smokiness. This one has lots of ripe fresh fruit, with dark berry flavors, a touch of earth and soft tannins from the oak. It was delicious with the turkey and cranberry.
I’d happily drink both of these wines again. If you’re interested in giving them a try, they should soon be available at Everwines.