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After ten years of trials, tribulations and tinkering, the first commercial Chinese wine by iconic Bordeaux brand Lafite is now on the market and it ain’t cheap. Bottled under the name Long Dai, the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Marselan has a suggested retail price of RMB2500 or USD350, according to the marketing team. (I’m just waiting for details as to whether or not winery visitors can buy bottles there and, if so, how many.)
Lady Penguin lists Long Dai at RMB2388 for members (RMB9888 for non-members!), putting it between Lafite Rothschild (RMB3902) and a Carruades de Lafite / Duhart-Milon combo (RMB1999).
In terms of other foreign-owned China wine brands, Long Dai is priced on par with LVMH’s Ao Yun from Yunnan. Or a case of bubbly (6 bottles brut, 6 bottles rose) from Chandon in Ningxia, with enough money left for pizza.
(You could also buy 300 Egg McMuffin and coffee sets. Sorry, that was my breakfast on the run today.)
Long Dai is in the Penglai area of Shandong, about 20 km from the coast and close to Treaty Port Vineyard. It took the Lafite team a decade until it was satisfied with the wine quality there.
The grapes came from 360 plots spread over some 30 hectares; the wine was aged for 18 months in French barrels made specially by Lafite; production was 15,000 bottles. Long Dai will be exclusively distributed by global drinks giant Pernod Ricard, known for brands such as Jameson whiskey, Beefeater gin, Havana Club rum and Jacob’s Creek wine.
Lafite announced the winery’s name as Long Dai in July, with the wines officially on the market as of September 19. Delivery of the first wines is slated for the end of November.
(Also see my first post, in 2009, about the Lafite project; this post about Gerard Colin, the first director; this one about the winery’s name; and this story in Wine Searcher about what Long Dai means for China and some of the issues with making wine in that region.)