State blend | Joint China-Israel wine launches today

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A souvenir wine named ‘Double Seventy‘ officially launches today to mark the 70th anniversaries of the People’s Republic of China (1949) and State of Israel (1948).

The grapes, picked in 2016, hail from just outside Beijing at Amethyst Manor. Winemakers Wang Zhu from Amethyst and Arkadi Papikian from Israel worked together on a final blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) and Marselan (25%).

“These grapes represent both the ‘new’ and ‘old’ worlds. Cabernet and Merlot are typical for Bordeaux, while Marselan is a quite new and promising grape, including in China. Marselan is also grown in Israel,” said Ma Huiqin, a China Agricultural University professor who helped connect the parties involved.

“It’s quite full-bodied, it’s a big wine,” she said. “The wine is still quite tight and needs time to relax, so decanting it is a good idea.”

‘Double Seventy’ was aged 24 months in new Hungarian and French oak, and bottled in two batches, one with a black label and one with a white label, with info about the wines, in Chinese and English, on the back.

Ma studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem twenty years ago and regularly visits Israel. She co-chaired, with Tal Gal-Cohen, an Israeli wine master class in Beijing in 2017. (Note: I helped to organize that event.)

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