The North by Northwest Challenge: In Search of China’s Best Wines

Destination NNW

North by Northwest: In Search of China’s Best Wines

Hilton Beijing, November 12, 2011

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The North by Northwest Challenge will be held at the Hilton Beijing on November 12 to taste some of the best wines made in China. The event will feature wines made solely with Chinese grapes and, as the title suggests, that hail from the promising regions of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang. North by Northwest will be held four days after the affiliated 2011 Grape Wall of China Challenge at Modo restaurant, which will see Chinese consumers judge wines that retail for under rmb100, and coincide with the 14th Hilton Beijing Food & Wine Experience.

The wines tasted in the North by Northwest Challenge will come from Grace Vineyard in Shanxi (distributor: Torres), Sunshine Valley in Gansu (Globus) and Domaine Helan Mountain (Pernod Ricard), Silver Heights (Torres) and Jia Bei Lan, all in Ningxia, with more wineries to be announced soon. I will post a full list before the event. Most of the wines will be Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon since these are, respectively, the most widely produced and consumed white wines and wines red in China.

The judges for North by Northwest will be divided into three groups. One group will include people employed in the wine industry, including Hilton Beijing sommelier Julia Zhu, Beijing-based wine consultant Nicolas Carre, and, flying in from Singapore for the event, Ch’ng Poh Tiong, editor of The Wine Review. The second group will include people who work in the food and beverage industry, though not solely with wine, while the third group will include members of the local and international media in order to give them a firsthand taste of being a judge.

Many of the wines featured in the North by Northwest Challenge will be available to attendees of the Food & Wine Experience, which means those with tickets can judge for themselves.

The following categories and prizes will be included in the North by Northwest Challenge:

Chardonnay under rmb150
Overall: First, Second and Third
Wine Industry Pick

F&B Industry Pick
Media Pick

Cabernet Sauvignon under rmb150
Overall: First, Second and Third
Wine Industry Pick
F&B Industry Pick
Media Pick

Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blend over rmb150
Overall: First, Second and Third
Wine Industry Pick
F&B Industry Pick
Media Pick

A fourth flight will feature other grape varieties, including a Merlot, a Muscat, and a Pinot Noir, to show the range of wines being produced in the north by northwest of the country.

I will be working with Simon Amos, Emile Otte, Julie Zhu and Sandy Yang at the Hilton Beijing on this project over the next ten days and will post more about the contest, the wines and the judges. I can be contacted at beijingboyce (at) yahoo.com.

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