Miguel Torres: Selling wine in China, the new Torres-Grace wine, and more

June 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

By Jim Boyce I recently tagged along to Chengdu with a group of writers as Torres president Miguel A Torres donated RMB500,000 to build a school to replace one severely damaged during last year’s earthquake in Sichuan. We also tried a new Muscat wine called Symphony made via cooperation between Torres and Shanxi-based winery Grace as well as two wines from Ningxia-based winery Silver Heights that are distributed by Torres China (tasting notes to come). Before the event, I sat down with Miguel Torres to ask a few question about wine and China. How did the wine project between Torres […]

Wrap-up: The Hilton Food & Wine Experience

November 11, 2007 // 3 Comments

Rather than write a lengthy report about Saturday’s Food & Wine Experience at The Hilton, I thought it would be more fun to interview myself. Here we go: Was that you on The Hilton’s marble steps standing in front of a broken bottle of wine? It was. As I left, the paper bag provided by the organizers came unglued and a nearly full bottle of Heartland Dolcetto Lagrein fell out. The bottle exploded on the steps and attracted gawkers from far and wide. Fortunately, a half bottle of Heartland Shiraz stayed in the bag. You mean you could buy wine there? No. If you stay until […]

Wine world: Taste of Nations event

November 6, 2007 // 11 Comments

I would have given two thumbs up to Torres for last weekend’s Taste of the Nations, an event in Trader’s Hotel that featured some 150 of the distributor’s wines, but my hands were attached to a glass that brought unlimited refills. Instead, I’ll provide written praise. I would guess well over 200 people attended and, at 188 kuai per person, received good value for their money. I sampled many of the Italian and Australian brands but, being more of a swallower than a spitter, decided not to try the full range. The crowd included some Torres competitors and regulars from […]

Grace (again): Face, FT, and feedback on five wines

October 13, 2007 // 1 Comment

I spotted yet another place selling Grace wines in Beijing – upscale Face has the entry-level Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon for 220 per bottle (about four times retail) and the Tasya’s Reserve (I think it was the Cabernet Sauvignon) for 350 kuai. Face also has Catai Chardonnay at 220 per bottle. Praise from England as the most recent Financial Times column by Jancis Robinson lists Grace under “Fine wines from unexpected sources”: Grace, Chairman’s Reserve Merlot/Cabernet 2004. The finest wine so far made in the country that is already the world’s sixth most important grower of grapevines even though eastern China tends to be a bit too […]

Taste test: Bolongbao and Le Champs D’or

October 8, 2007 // 0 Comments

Last Friday’s wine tasting at Sequoia Cafe here in Beijing was a bring-your-own-bottle affair. In addition to assorted bottles from France, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, there were two from China. Here are some notes: Le Champs D’or: Le Vin Desert de Gobi, 2003 No varietal indicated, but it smelled like a typical Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a drinkable wine, though the body is a little bitter. “They tried to extract too much,” said winemaker Alain Leroux. “It was macerated for too long.” It was fairly light with some nice cherry and red plum. “It’s definitely drinkable, there […]

Wine Weekend II: Cabs, quizzes and sauerkraut

September 25, 2007 // 2 Comments

I owed myself a weekend of fun for ages and cashed in last Friday, Saturday and Sunday by attending five wine events. Here’s number two: The Beijing Wine Club organized a full evening of fun – including a blind tasting, food and quiz – last Saturday night at Sequoia Cafe. Here’s what attendees received for the 220-kuai entry fee: A blind tasting of two whites A blind tasting of two reds Barbecued sausages, salad, beans, sauerkraut, brownies and more, accompanied by a nice Shiraz-Grenache Two quizzes with an excellent mix of questions ranging from easy to challenging: name three of […]

Interview: “The Frank”

July 18, 2007 // 1 Comment

Some know him for opening one of Beijing’s first non-hotel bars – the creatively named Frank’s Place (1990). Some know him for his later establishment – John Bull Pub. And yet others know him as the Tuesday night quizmaster. What fewer know is that during the past year, Frank Siegel has built a Beijing wine community via Friday night tastings at the Sanlitun branch of Sequoia Cafe. BB sat down with “The Frank” recently for his take on the tastings, the funnest events he’s been to over the past 20 years, what it takes to make it in the business, […]

Big draw at Big 9

July 16, 2007 // 0 Comments

The first two times I went to Big 9, it was emptier than a bottle of Veuve Cliquot at my friend E-Salt’s house after New Year’s. Imagine my surprise as the place bubbled over with 40-plus people one recent Friday night. Yes, the wine was free, but it was nice to see such a good mix of foreigners and locals trying more than a dozen wines. Before I go on, please read the following out loud: “Wei? Wei? Wei? [Pause] Wei? Wei? [Longer pause] Wei? Wei? Wei!? Weiiiii!? [Pause] Weiiiii!? [Etc].” That’s how the night started, with a woman at the bar […]

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