At least! | 99 bottles of Chinese wine on the wall, 99 bottles…

By Jim Boyce | Decided to deep clean the apartment and, in turn, organize my wine. That means digging through cupboards and closets and, in some cases, coming across bottles long forgotten. I rarely drink wine at home but have quite a bit on hand for emergencies, such as for meeting with consumers or visiting trade members or for birthday and going-away parties—an awful lot of the latter  in Beijing these days.

The following are some of the local wines I have gathered thus far. More than two-thirds are destined for consumer or trade tastings. The rest are kept for special or as curiosities from what seems like a bygone era. There’s also one flight from the 2012-2014 Ningxia Winemakers Challenge: I grabbed these bottles and more after the contest, and while I’ve reunited some of them with their makers, a few still remain.

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Ningxia veterans. The 2007 Silver Heights at far left is the first vintage. The colorful Helan Qing Xue wine is a mix of the wines made by the contestants during the 2012-2014 Ningxia Wine Challenge.
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I put Pretty Pony from Kanaan in the middle because it is among the best Chinese wines of the past few years. That multicolored wine and the ‘horse’ one to its right are the entry-level red wine from Kanaan, different vintages with different packaging.
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Most of these are Chinese New Year bottles from Grace. Some people will think it odd I don’t have more Grace, as I often write about the winery, but the simple reality is I already used it all for tastings.
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Yunnan Hong specializes in hybrid grapes, such as Rose Honey or Crystal, which came to China originally with European missionaries in the nineteenth century. Colorful labels are the norm at Yunnan Hong.
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Ningxia wines from Helan Qing Xue–the blue label one is delicious–and Helan Mountain, which many praise for its reserve chardonnay (second right). The far right bottle is from, I believe, Helan Mountain’s first vintage and I saw it as recently as 18 months ago for rmb45 in Beijing.
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Wines from Tiansai in Xinjiang, which just signed a distribution deal with East Meets West. Winemaker Lilian Carter also made that 2008 Helan Mountain wine in the previous photo.
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Nine Peaks has emerged as a rare producer of consistently decent wine in Shandong. I prefer the entry-level reds to the oakier reserve ones.
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If you live in Beijing, you’ve likely come across 1421 from Xinjiang in a bar, restaurant or hotel, and I find the entry-level Chardonnay to be the best bottle. Chang Rui Shan is from Hebei province.
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Zhongfei is in Xinjiang, close to Champs D’or and Tiansai. Chateau Lanny and Chateau Yuhuang are both part of the ongoing Ningxia Winemakers Challenge.
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A mishmash of wines. Bolongbao, in the middle, is among of the first wineries I visited in China. Catai, on the right, was distributed many years ago by Summergate, which is now handling Kanaan.
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Wines from the 2012-2014 Ningxia Winemakers Challenge. I grabbed these and more after the final tasting in 2014. Some have made their way to their makers, others await a reunion–or perhaps a major tasting at my apartment!

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