Grand Crunnan II | Xiaoling Is Latest Yunnan Wine Label

By Jim Boyce | The launch of Yunnan label Ao Yun last year created much buzz due to its high-profile producer (Moet Hennessy), high-altitude location (some 2,500 meter in Yunnan province), high praise (many rank is as among the best in China) and high price (roughly USD300). But it wasn’t the first wine from these parts—European missionaries first planted vines there in the mid-nineteenth century—nor will it be the last. The most recent offering is Xiaoling (Cloudy Mountain Peak) and it officially went on sale this week after several tastings in Shanghai over the past few months. And while it is not cheap at a suggested retail price of rmb788, it doesn’t empty a weixin account quite as fast as Ao Yan.

The grapes for Xiaoling are sourced from some ten hectares of small plots planted between 2,000 and 2,400 meters. Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Merlot are the key varieties.

“Our philosophy is to vinify every parcel and varietal separately,” says the winery. The wine is fermented in 240-liter and 400-liter earthenware jars and manually pressed daily. It is aged for one to two years in used French oak barrels. The initial release, for the 2014 vintage, is 3,000 bottles.

Here’s a bit more about the operation: “Our  estate  was  founded  in  2014, in a granary beside the church at Tsekou, the birth place of  the  Catholic  mission  to  the  Upper  Mekong.  This  location  offers  warm summers and cold winters, on poor and stony soils The estate is located amidst the complex and steep geography of  the  Tibetan  Steps  in  Yunnan  province,  near  to  Kawa  Kharpo,  a resplendent mountain chain that climbs to nearly 7,000 metres, a sacred peak for the Tibetan Buddhist faith and one of the natural borders  with  Tibet  Autonomous  Region.  It’s  a  zone  of  incredible  convergence where great rivers tumble from the roof of the World to  meet  lost  valleys,  peoples,  ethnic  groups  and  languages, including Burmese, Chinese and Tibetan.”

More on this wine soon.

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