China winery visit: Bordeaux-style Chateau Bolongbao

By Jim Boyce

I joined Marc Curtis of China Wine Tours on March 24 for a visit to Chateau Bolongbao, just outside of Beijing. Curtis will bring his first tour group from the United States to China in October, with the planned itinerary including Beijing, Xian, Shanxi, Xinjiang, and Shanghai. Here are some photos from the visit, led by the winery’s Tang Jie.

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A view of Chateau Bolongbao from the gate.

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Given that Beijing winters can be quite cold, these vines are buried beneath 35-40 centimeters of soil in the fall and then uncovered in the spring.

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A hilltop view of Bolongbao, which we were told produced its first Bordeaux-style wine in 2003.

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This facility is being built next door to Bolongbao by a farmers collective and, from what I gathered, will make non-grape fruit wines.

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Professor of Agriculture Zou Fulin (second left), with (from left) China Wine Tour’s Judy Zhao and Marc Curtis, and the winery’s Tang Jie. Zou says he knows Italian, French, Australian and American wine styles, and prefers Bordeaux.

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Production for 2005, 2006, and 2007 was 110,000, 88,000, and 110,000 bottles respectively, says Zou.

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Bolongbao uses oak barrels from France and the United States.

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This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), Merlot (20%), and Cabernet Franc (5%). We tried it decanted for 40 minutes. The body was clean, with some cherry and clove aromas, though I found it a bit oak-y.

“There is nothing in the flavor that turns me off,” said Curtis. “I’d be happy to serve it to people.”

The 2005 vintage is available for RMB198. Bolongbao wines are not available via retail shops, but can be ordered via the winery.

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