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.
- Wine with Altitude: Yunnan about to Drop the Mic from 3000 Meters
- Vive le Yunnan? Shangri-La Jones and the Lost Vines of France
[Good content takes resources. If you find Grape Wall useful, please help cover its costs with a contribution via PayPal or WeChat. You can also find Grape Wall on Facebook. Twitter and Instagram. Sign up for the China wine newsletter below. And check out sibling sites World Marselan Day, World Baijiu Day and Beijing Boyce.]