DuringÂ the past few years, Chinese wine has gone from pariah to pet in the eyes of many trade people. SomeÂ who used to turn up their collective nose at anything made in this country now line up to recommend what they deem best.
That’s not to say anyone believesÂ all or even most of the wine made in China passes the taste test. Only that it is possible to make good wine here and that a small but growing number of operations are doing so.
Easily finding such winesÂ andÂ at a fairÂ priceÂ are other matters, butÂ one new option fits both bills: DomaineÂ Chandon (Ningxia) Brut. ThisÂ isÂ the first commercially available sparkling wineÂ by Chandon in Ningxia, the offspring of parent Moet & Chandon in France and sibling of bubbly projects inÂ the United States, Brazil, Australia and India.
This wine is notable for two reasons. One, it tastes farÂ better than many people expected, and thusÂ bodes well for bubbly in China. Two, in a market where Chinese wines are often wildly over-priced, this one carries a reasonableÂ tag.
Get it delivered via the Temple Restaurant Beijing online shop atÂ rmb128Â per bottle, about the best price you will find. (At this price, I’m surprised I haven’t seen this anywhere by the glass in Beijing.)
You can also pick up both the brut and brut rosÃ© at Mali Wine Cellar, one of the better shops in this city and especially nicely positioned for those in the Guomao / Huomao areas — see this post for more.
I’ve tried this bubbly at the winery and at Mali Wine Cellar, and especially liked tasting it against sparkling wines from France and South Africa at the latter. Our group agreed the brut outperformed theÂ brut rosÃ© and isÂ cheaper to boot. In any case, this is all aÂ good sign for China, where sparkling wine sales — particularly for Prosecco and CavaÂ — are growing, and we will hopefully see more bubbly operations pop up. The enthusiasm I have for this Chandon project is the exact opposite of what I feel for the role of its parent company and other Champagne houses in this case.
Finally, here is a collage of photos from a visit to Chandon operationÂ in Ningxia last fall.
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