Pictures, pictures, pictures – that’s my friend Kraft-D’s advice for this blog. Last night, I dug up a few dozen from a November 2005 trip to Taillan, a winery just outside Beijing. Sequoia Cafe owner Frank Siegel and the American Community Club co-organized the trip (for full details, see Tying One on at Taillan).
General Manager Alain Leroux (above, right) led our tour of Taillan, a ten-year-old Sino-French venture. He said that the vines are grafted to North American rootstalk to protect them from phylloxera, a kind of plant lice.
He also gave us some insights into producing wine in China. “At the beginning, French people thought it would be an easy market, but no.”
With that cleared up, we headed inside and learned that the vats can store up to 100,000 bottles worth of wine. Taillan has enough equipment to process thousands of bottles per hour, often doing bottling for other companies.
Our little group could never handle even an hour of Taillan’s output, but we were ready to try. After Frank unpacked a picnic lunch of cold cuts, cheese, breads and potato salad, we worked our way through what Alain called “drinkable” wines, including a 2000 Chardonnay, 2003 Rose, 2003 Malbec (my favorite), Merlot, 2001 Pinot Noir and 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon.
(This post originally appeared on February 6, 2007 on www.beijingboyce.com.)
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